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Here's my (long) report.
I woke up a couple of hours before the alarm on Sunday morning. Went back to sleep and slept through
the alarm. Got up late but managed to get to the start in Millerton around 7:45. I checked in and grabbed the cue sheet & took off.
I had noticed the tires on my touring bike were almost worn down to the threads the previous week, so I had new rubber on that bike. On the flipside, it's a near 30 pd oversized touring frame. Not exactly a climber. More on that later.
The predicted thunderstorms held off all day. It was humid and hot, but there were no downpours.
The first section of the ride was actually on a Rail Trail. Very pretty. Lots of farms, fresh water ponds & woods. Really nice riding.
I hooked up with a couple of riders for an informal paceline, but it fell apart pretty quickly. One guy only wanted to lead. The other guy didn't want to lead for more than a minute. I tried to get some kind of consensus, but it blew up after the first 20 miles or so. We got off to a too fast start for me. 19-20mph average. I'd pay for that later.
Lots of rolling hills and some short climbs in the first half of the ride. Really beautiful scenery. The route was the best marked century I've even seen. I checked the cue sheet at rest stops for reference, but thats about it. Route markers were placed well before, in the middle and after turns. Extended straights had arrows every so often in case you thought you had missed a turn. Well done.
The temps rose to the mid-80's pretty quickly. It was sticky and hot for most of the morning and afternoon. I drank like a fiend all day. I kept the speed down to a reasonable 17-18mph, since it seemed like perfect weather to bonk.
Towards the end of the first half, there was a seemingly endless climb. There were false peaks every 500 yards or so, so just when you thought you were over it, you'd see another section of hill. I mashed it up the climb, but it was tough. There was a nice descent afterwards though. It almost made up for the other side. At a rest stop afterwards everyone was complaining about the hill. "I almost walked!" every other person said.
The second half of the ride featured more rolling hills, farmlands, beautiful scenery and quiet country roads. There were some busy sections with car traffic, but the route usually diverted to secondary roads as soon as possible. The temperature climbed up to 90 around noon, but it wasn't oppressive.
There was another extended climb in the second half and almost everyone was
walking it. I mashed it up slowly. I always think even riding slowly up a climb is better that walking in cleats, up a hill, pushing your bike. Maybe the weather, the distance & the climbing was getting to people.
After the climb there was an evil descent. Broken pavement, gravel wash, and sharp turns. After one section the Bike New York people were stopping riders asking them to take it slow. They said there had been an accident and they wanted everyone to ride carefully. After I cleared the turns I did manage to start moving. Maxed out at 43mph on that section.
This was the first ride where I really noticed the difference in pavement. It sounds silly to say, but nice smoothly paved roads really make a difference in mph. The old rough pavement on some of the secondary roads seemed to slow me down considerably.
The route was in the eastern NY border, so it cut into Connecticut and Massachusetts in different sections. Very quiet pretty towns and rolling farmlands throughout.
I had entertained the idea of doing an sub 6 hour century, but all the climbing nixed that idea. There was a planned Time Trial towards the end of the ride. I figured it would be a flat section of road, in a low traffic area. Nope. It was straight up a mile plus hill.
Bike New York volunteers were literally begging people to sign up for it, so I did. I made it up, but not exactly in a hurry. I'm certain I didn't post any kind of winning time. Everyone that signed up for the trial it got a big old medal though.
Finished up around 3pm. My wife & kids turned up, so that was fun. They had decent food at the finish & valet bike parking by the local Boy Scout troop, so you could park your bike and roam around. If you can't trust a Boy Scout with your bike, who can you trust?
All in all, a great job by Bike New York. It was definitely the prettiest century I've ever done. Some tough climbs. A very well organized & marked ride. I'll definitely do the ride next year. But I'll bring the road bike. The touring bike wasn't made for all those hills and fast turns.
Check out that ride the next time it comes around.