Sunday, July 31, 2005

Overall Numbers

Because of other miscellaneous around-town mileage
added on, my odometer actually registered 349.74
miles total.

Day Route Riding Time Miles Avg Max

1 Cortland
to Trumansburg 03:40:26 51.44 14.00 33.5

2 Trumansburg to
Watkins Glen 04:01:05 59.36 14.77 36.0

3 Watkins Glen
to Hammondsport 03:34:34 50.65 14.16 39.6

4 Hammondsport to
Geneva 03:08:40 42.31 13.46 31.0

5 Geneva (Rest
Day) -------- 20.50 ----- 33.5

6 Geneva to
Auburn 04:56:18 68.26 13.82 44.0

7 Auburn to
Cortland 03:00:40 41.70 13.85 31.0

TOTAL 22:22:43 334.22 14.03 44.0


I really didn't take many. This tour was very much centered around the wineries, and many of the route idiosyncrasies were presumably a direct result of bringing them our business. The scenery was otherwise very panoramic and vast, but there just weren't that many spots of individual scenic interest. I didn't stop all that often to try to capture any of it. I kept waiting for the road in the picture at the top of this page, but I don't believe we ever went there. See Day 1 and Day 2 for the only shots I took. (You'll have to just scroll down this page - I haven't yet found a way to include more than 10 previous posts in the list at right, and earlier posts are now dropping off the list.)

Saturday, July 30, 2005


I know I'll have random thoughts about this whole thing over the next few weeks, and will just keep adding them here. It was a very nice, physically challenging, and satisfying trip, and I'll leave it at that for now.
The good:
1. No flats
2. 10 miles of rain riding out of 350
3. Didn't have to walk any hills
4. This bike is a huge improvement over what I had been riding.
5. The amazing shower truck
6. Most of the people were really great

The bad:
1. The seat on this bike is horrible and needs to be replaced.
2. 10 miles of rain riding
3. The dinner cruise.
4. Meals and rest stops in the wrong direction.
5. Porta-potties for 400+
6. Whiners who complained about every little thing (like I'm doing now!)

Day 7 - Auburn to Cortland

Only had one beer last night, but it was still enough to wake me up early, around 4:30am. Activity around me had started by then, so I postponed until 5:30 and got up. Decided to skip breakfast, which was 1/2 mile in the wrong direction, and got started around 6:10am. Stopped at Hilltop Diner in Skaneateles, along with a couple of dozen others. It was an interesting mix of bikes and pickups, lycra and overalls. Had more blueberry pancakes than I could finish. Toured town for old-times sake - haven't been there in years - then down West Lake Road, or "Mansion Row". Some truly amazing estates down there. After that, the next 15-20 miles seemed like almost all uphill to the morning rest stop at 24 miles. After that, it was mostly downhill, with several annoying exceptions, to Cortland, where I arrived around 10am. I'm now at home, and starting to unpack and dry stuff out.

The numbers:
41.7 miles
Rolling time: 3:00:40
Elapsed time: ~4 hours
Average: 13.8 mph
Max: 31 mph

Total trip distance: 349.74 miles

Friday, July 29, 2005

Update to Day 6 (Auburn)

Rockefeller Road, up the east side of Owasco Lake, is a VERY nice alternative to the state routes. It's so named because John D. Rockefeller's boyhood home is on it. Left Moravia around 10:50, arrived at campsite in Emerson Park around 12:15. It really didn't seem like that hard a ride, despite the hills, and I feel pretty good. I'm sure the rest day didn't hurt. All set up, and snacks today were not all that great, so John and I biked into downtown and had very good burgers at Daut's Tavern on Genesee Street. About another 5-6 miles R/T. Chicken BBQ again tonight, then a wild party with free beer.
(LATER) Got sucked into a silly "Bon Ton Idol" contest, as an unwilling member of the "Bon Ton 2005 Glee Club". We were out of our league talent-wise, and it felt pretty stupid to be up there, but it was all in good fun. One beer, in bed by 9:00.

The numbers:
68.26 miles, plus lunch
Rolling time: 4:56:18
Elapsed time: ~6 hours
Average: 13.8 mph
Max: 44 mph (!)

Day 6 - Geneva to Auburn

MORAVIA, NY - So what, you say? It's only 25 miles between those two points. Except that we're going via Aurora and Moravia, then up Owasco Lake, for 67 miles. Up at 5am, packed, and sat down to breakfast at 5:45 - french toast, eggs, bacon, juice. On the road by 6:15, with taillight flashing. Beautiful day for a ride! Nice back road parallel to 5/20 to Seneca Falls, then through Montezuma NWR, and south on 90. Stopped for my daily chocolate eclair in there somewhere, about 20 miles out. Down 90 to Aurora, very pretty ride along Cayuga Lake. Then, big, slow, long, gradual climb up to top of ridge, and screaming 40mph+ descent into Moravia, where I now sit. About 17 hilly miles to go. Will try to update this later, but if not, probably not until Saturday when I get home.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Day 5 - Rest Day (Geneva)

And that's what I'm doing. Slept until 7am for a change, had a big breakfast, did some minor bike maintenance, dried stuff out, and got on the bike and headed into town. Not sure yet how I'll be spending the rest of the day, but I don't see a big ride happening. Nice park and beach on Seneca Lake, lunch, ice cream, maybe a nap somewhere. Big day tomorrow, so I'll just take it easy today.
Wandered around town, biked and sat in park by lake. Had lunch at Wyatt's, a big Philly cheese steak smothered in onions and peppers. Amazing how much I can eat on this trip! Went to ATM, then back to park for awhile. Bike tipped over at lunch stop and scratched paint - need to touch up later. Beach is kinda weedy and smelly, but does appear to be open. Went east on 5/20 to Hess/Byrne Dairy for ice cream, then back to park. Called Holly, then back through town to campsite. Sodas, shower, dinner plans. Entire SWC contingent to Italian place for dinner @5pm. Sat in shade, read for awhile, organized for morning. Took free shuttle to Italian restaurant. It got a 5.5/8 approval rating, with strong dissent loudly voiced. Enough said about that. Back to tent, organized some more. Hoping for an early start to a long day.

The numbers (this is silly today...)
20.5 miles total
Rolling time: 2:02:44
Elapsed time: about 5 hours
Avg: 10 mph
Max: 33.5 mph

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Day 4 - Hammondsport to Geneva

Slept OK last night, despite the bright light. Awoke to the unmistakeable sound of raindrops on the tent. A light rain was falling, and it looked pretty dreary, and was still very humid. Forecast was for 70% chance of showers/thunderstorms, pretty much all day. Packed up everything wet in trash bags, stuffed all of it in the duffle, and threw it on the truck. Biked next door to firehouse for breakfast - pancakes, bacon, juice (white grape, not orange- - this is the Finger Lakes, after all.) Got on the road around 7am, in light drizzle, but not enough for raingear. BIG, BIG hill out of Hammondsport, lowest gear for 1-2 miles, then rolling terrain along the top of the ridge with views of the lake. Skipped peninsula in Keuka Lake because of recent asphalt/loose stone coating, so that would mean 44 miles instead of 63. (It would turn out to be a good decision) Hit afternoon rest stop in Penn Yan before it was open, but bought soda and chatted with other early arrivals. Went to library, only had 15 minutes on computer, so cleared email but no time to update this. Continued up LONG hill (locals said "turn left at the light and go up a little hill"), and then the rains came, lightly at first, but enough for raingear. Last 10 miles were pretty wet. Helped unload the truck in the rain, since it was the only way I could get my bag early (from the very front of the truck) and get set up and out of the rain. Got tent up and inside mostly dry. Had lunch - American Legion is our campsite, and they had hamburgers/hot dogs in their outdoor pavilion. Raining again now, but clearing tonight and better weather the rest of the week. Tomorrow may just be a good day to stay put, dry out, and rest in Geneva.

The numbers:
42.31 miles
Rolling time: 3:08:40
Elapsed time (guess): 4 - 4:30 (?)
Average: 13.4 mph
Max: 31 mph

(LATER) Showered, still raining, so hid out in tent and listened to music. Pig roast for dinner was very good, with beans, corn, brownies, lemonade, fruit. Rain stopped after that, so we went next door to Belhurst Castle Winery and tasted 5 dry red wines for $2.50. SWC group then planned to walk 1.5 miles into town for ice cream, but I'd had enough for one day and passed. Charged cell phone, called Holly, back to tent, and to sleep as noise dies down. Not sure yet about tomorrow. Definite are library, some drying out, oiling chain, retaping handlebar, and some repacking. May relax and just explore Geneva before 66 miles on Friday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Update to Day 3 (Hammondsport)

After going to library, went back and sat in air-conditioned school hallway, downed some sodas, and read for awhile until dinner. As we 8 SWCers were meeting near the information trailer to walk to the boat, a pretty fierce downpour hit us for 5-10 minutes, and then stopped. Took umbrella to boat, fearing more of the same later. Food was so-so (buffet style for 400+), and air conditioning was way inadequate for the population of the boat. Ate quickly and went outside to somewhat cooler breeze. Big storm hit while we were out - big wind, waves, lightning and thunder - pretty neat to watch from the middle of it. Cruise seemed too long, and I was glad when it ended. Raining lightly as I walked back to the tent. Saw several others that had been flattened and tossed around by the storm. Mine was fine, but next time I'll try to avoid setting up under a floodlight. It's like daytime in here. In bed by 9pm, and will hope for the best.

Day 3 - Watkins Glen to Hammondsport

Slept pretty well again, but woke up to the sounds of truck traffic in the plant next door around 5am. Up and packed. Everybody else had the same idea about an early start to beat the heat, so the breakfast line at 5:45 was about a half-hour wait. I opted to skip it and grab something on the road instead. Left at 6:10, hit the top of the big climb out of town around 6:30. Grabbed an eclair and OJ at a convenience store before turning west up into the hills toward Keuka Lake. Stopped at a park in Penn Yan around 9am to adjust brakes that were inexplicably rubbing. The ride south on NY54 along Keuka Lake had a pretty strong headwind, but otherwise was very nice and gently rolling. Reached Hammondsport around 10:20 am, and the temperature was already 85 degrees. Staked out a spot with potential for late-day shade, and just hung out for awhile, since the luggage trucks weren't unloaded yet. Eventually, I helped them unload and got my bag and set everything up. Tonight's site is much more convenient to everything than last night's, a good thing if big storms threaten later. Had burgers in high-school cafeteria for lunch, and showered, just because it felt good. (I'll need another one about every 10 minutes.) Temperature was up to 94 as I walked into town to type this, and thunderstorms are likely from late afternoon on. Tonight, we're going on a dinner cruise on Keuka Lake (400+ people?) in air-conditioned comfort. Tomorrow is 63+ miles to Geneva, followed by a rest day or shorter local rides. Earlier thoughts about a 70-80 mile day around Canandaigua Lake on Thursday have all but evaporated at this point.

Will post more next time I find a library.

The numbers:
50.65 miles
Rolling time: 3:34:34
Elapsed time: 4:10
Average: 14.2 mph
Max: 39.6 mph

Monday, July 25, 2005

Day 2 - Trumansburg to Watkins Glen

Minimal rain overnight, so all stuff is dry. In bed by 9, but Grass Roots Music Festival, VERY nearby, continued 'til past 10, followed by some noise-only fireworks. Slept pretty well, better than night before. Up and packed and had breakfast. School was HOT, and no pastries, so I didn't eat a whole lot, just some bacon and eggs and OJ (no coffee today!?!!?) On the road under cloudy and windy skies at 6:30 am. Stopped for apple turnover after 15 miles or so, to make up for lack of breakfast. Good roads, good ride, except for this bike seat - new one for next year, if not sooner. Reached both rest stops before they were even set up, so passed on by. Stopped for soda and a rest after LOOOONG uphill on 96A - good to get off the bike after 49 miles. Nice views over vineyards to Seneca Lake.

Then, mostly downhill into Watkins Glen, arriving around 11:00am. Luggage trucks were here, but not unloaded so I couldn't set up, so I caught up on this while I was waiting. Trucks unloaded while I was in the library, so I got all set up and just sat for awhile. I needed to satisfy my normal overexertion greasy cheeseburger craving, so I stopped at Savard's Family Restaurant (thanks, John!), then went to Seneca Lake Park and just sat in a cool shady windy place by the lake for a while. Temperature must be close to 90 and the sun is brutal, and the campsite has no shade whatsoever. The annex for my tent provides some shade, but it's still a pretty hot place to sit. Showered and went in the HS pool, which was a real treat.

Updated: Hung around until 4:30 dinner - air-conditioned cafeteria felt good. Temps hit 97 today, with 97-99 expected tomorrow, and ridiculous humidity to boot. Will be hitting the road EARLY tomorrow to try to beat the worst of it. Out for ice cream, called Holly, in bed by 9pm.

The numbers:
59.36 miles
Rolling time: 4:01:05
Elapsed time: 4:30
Average 14.8 mph
Max 36 mph

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Day 1 - Cortland to Trumansburg

Slept fitfully, up by 5:30. Heavy dew, tent soaked. Packed wet, had breakfast, and ready to leave by 7am. Left early to avoid the 8am "mass start" traffic jam of 437 riders. Reached Ithaca around 9am. Had skipped the morning rest stop, since it had only been 90 minutes of riding, and involved a 3-mile detour. Stopped at Ithaca Bakery for chocolate eclair instead :-) Reached Taughannock Falls State Park, the afternoon rest stop (due to open at 11) at 9:45 am. So, I walked the 1.5 miles RT to the 215-foot falls.

When I got back, the rest stop was open with lots of good food, including homemade cookies. Left there around 11am for the long climb to Trumansburg. Stopped for ice cream (soft strawberry!) on the way into town, and arrived at the high school campsite at 12:30.

All set up and ready to kill the afternoon by 1:30. Had a couple of hot dogs the booster club was selling for lunch, and several sodas over the course of the day. Showered and killed some more time until dinner. BBQ chicken was excellent and filling. Charged camera battery and cell phone, and spent a long time chatting with SWC group. Called Holly, got radar report about dark clouds rolling in, and went to bed around 9pm

The numbers:
51.44 miles
3:40:26 rolling time
5:30 elapsed time
14 mph average
33.5 mph max

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Day 0 - Drive to Cortland

Arrived around 3pm, and set up/got organized. Wine/cheese reception at 5pm was totally inadequate as dinner. Hooked up with Terry, Judy, Tony, Dick, and John from Schenectady Wintersports Club, and went to dinner at Community Restaurant in downtown Cortland. Nice place - so-so pot roast. Bought discounted tour jersey from previous year. In bed by 9:15.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


A minor break in the weather! Still hot, but much more comfortable humidity. Did a hilly, windy 19 miles tonight, which served to show me how much I'd lost in the past week of doing nothing. Club ride (fast 15-20 miles) tomorrow night, some final preparations on Friday, then off to Cortland on Saturday. 51 miles and 2800+ feet of climbing on Sunday. Yikes!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

1 week to go

This weather sucks. Tropical heat during the day, and monsoonal downpours in the afternoons and evenings. I really hope this breaks before next week. I did a fairly flat 44 miles last Sunday, but there have been no opportunities for anything else since then. Need to start physically gathering stuff up and packing this week, and hopefully will also be adding a few more hilly miles.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

3 weeks to go

I've been consolidating various diverse packing lists, and am really getting out and hammering the local hills. I've done almost 600 miles this year to date, and am feeling strong and ready.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I'm just starting to look forward to what needs to be done to make this tour successful, based on my experience of 2 years ago on the Cycling the Erie Canal 2003 tour. I'm pulling together packing lists, and making note of library locations for possible enroute updates to this blog as time allows. I'm looking at this tour as a dry run and prototype for a longer unsupported solo camping tour in 2006, and thinking of the logistics in those terms. What do I need to pack, where/how do I need to carry it, how would an unsupported tour be different, how do I keep in touch, etc.

The Erie Canal Tour in 2003 was very flat overall, and followed the towpath for much of the way. The route for this tour will be much more hilly, and will pass through many more small towns, since no off-road towpath is involved. The daily mileage will strongly encourage an easy pace, or otherwise show up early in camp and just laze around the next town. Wineries, swimming, and ice cream will all be on my daily to-do list.