Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Endicott, NY
Bikes: cannondale 3.0, schwinn traveler, peugeot (1960), cannondale 4000si, cannondale mountain (1990)
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Hey, I did the schuykill ride too, but the 62 miler.
I agree the weather was great and the 900 or so entrants meant there was usually someone to ride with. Figured I'd do the 62 miler and started at a good clip ... probably 18mph or so and rode this way till the first food stop at about the ten mile point ... I was thinking wow a food stop at only 10 miles. I had forgotten my water bottle and used a wrapper from a candy bar to drink with. Then right in front of me this girl throws away a lemonade bottle. You know what I did, yup, I picked it up and washed it as well as I could with the water available and filled it up and used it for my water bottle. Left and two miles later there was another break place which I passed ... come to find out that there was another ride at the same time (a livestrong Lance Armstrong ride) and one of those food stops was theirs and one ours ... still don't know if I went to the right one. Around this time I hooked up with a group of fast guys, I don't know why I do this, but when somebody goes by me a little faster I want to tuck in behind and ride with them. This group of about ten guys was averaging probably better than 20mph. Constantly there were different guys blasting as hard as they could at the bottom of hills and then trying to hold as much speed as they could on the way up ... often they would attain the top and hold a lead for a short period of time and then fade and be absorbed by the rest of the group, usually falling further and further back till they were at the end. I stayed with these guys till the next stop which was at 32 miles. This was the best stocked stop on the course (except for the finish). They had these great home-made baked goods. I drank a bit of water and had a beagle. There was a can of this stuff made out of ponca beans (humis) to spread on the beagle but no spreading knife ... we asked for a knife and the lady said use the peanut butter knife ... well my beagle was split and I just tore a half in half for a half moon and we used that ... worked pretty good. Leaving here I hooked up with a pretty quiet guy who knew the course and it was an easy ride for about 3 miles when two couples went by and got about 100 yards ahead when I decided to catch up and ride with them. Took some doing to catch them because I think they saw me coming and decided to stay ahead if they could. Finally caught them right before a steep down hill and the leader went flying down this ... I pealed off the back and went after him ... a fast exciting decent followed with a sever right turn across a bridge at the bottom. This guy and I started up the hill on the other side when I asked him if that road we just passed was the route for the 62 mile route ... he said it was, so I turned around and passed the other three on their way up the hill and noticed that the red haired girl this guy was with wasn’t a girl at all but probably his younger brother ... really nice long curly red hair though. I was alone now and went casually to allow somebody to catch me because the directions had about a hundred lines of turns on them and I had lost my sheet anyway. Didn't take long though when two guys my age caught me and I rode with them to the next food stop. Turned out these guys rode this route a lot and probably didn't take me on the official route ... but they got me to the next food stop.
This stop was at Benz Woods. Turns out there was a film studio here in 1912 (before talkies) and the buildings are still there ... this was not a small operation, with several large buildings that have been renovated. Started off from here and went the wrong way ... probably an extra two miles till I realized that I was not seeing any riders with numbers on them indicating they are on this tour. The exit from here is on a thin (maybe four feet wide) wood planked crossing of the Schuylkill River with what I think is route 422 on the left and the river on the right. This was so thin passing would be impossible here, but riding was a rush. I'm talking about being fifty feet above the river and all that separates me is a chain link fence that is probably eight feet high, but you sure can see through it and the abyiss seems to be right there. Now on the left is another chain link fence and the 70 mph road is right there although we are about four feet above the highway. Exciting. We now went through Valley Forge. I hooked up with a group of about six other people ...it was lead by Frank and Lisa. Frank is about a 50 something guy and Lisa looks to be about 35 ... both good riders. Several times some of us would race up the next hill and I could usually beat anybody else in the group, but I'd be spent at the top and then everybody would pass me and I'd hook up with the back and regain my strength. These guys knew their way, which went through a bit of busy communities. The last five miles Frank said lets create a draft line and power to the finish ... I was forth behind a guy from South America who told me the name of his country three times and I still can't remember it. I thought I knew all the countries in that continent, but this is a small country is between Argentina and Brazil (only three million people). He also had a thick accent; anyway he didn't keep a steady draft and got a little behind and then caught up and we were flying (23 - 24 mph). This was 65 plus miles into the tour and I was tired too. Anyway, this guy decides to drop off and I watch Frank and Lisa ride off into the sunset and I've got no predelection to catch up ... actually for a few moments I did, but I can't imagine having the strength to pull it off. So this South American guy and I ride to the finish together.
Pizza and soda awaited ... real Pizza Hut stuff too. The Pizza with peppers was the best ... I had four pieces and three sodas. Met a guy named Art who was going to be 80 in November who rode the 62 miler ... oh, by the way, I rode 71.5 miles in total in 5 hours. Art is still working four days a week and lives 16 miles from his job ... and rides his bike to work every day he can. He looked in great shape. They were giving free massages and I signed up for one and tired to talk Art into putting his name on the list, but he said his wife would be know if he did when he got home. I said would you walk in and your wife would know that another woman had her hands on your body ... he said YUP. I asked what would happen then "Well we'd have to get a divorce" he said. Neat guy.