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Second Annual 50+ Forum Ride Weekend (Official Thread)

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Second Annual 50+ Forum Ride Weekend (Official Thread)

Old 03-13-10, 10:36 AM
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Second Annual 50+ Forum Ride Weekend (Official Thread)

In the absence of other proposals this year, it looks like my suggestion for the Second Annual 50+ Forum Ride Weekend is it.


Just the facts, ma'am
  • Friday June 11—Sunday June 13, 2010
  • Watkins Glen, NY
  • Joining the Southern Tier Bicycling Club for the 30th Anniversary of The Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour
  • $75 per person for the event, includes breakfast and dinner each day, maps, SAG, entertainment, and tent camping
  • $3 per household membership in the STBC required for liability insurance coverage
  • $5/night each optional for a bunk in a bunkhouse
  • On-site camping is free, motels and B&Bs in nearby Watkins Glen
  • Details and registration form are available at: https://www.southerntierbicycleclub.o...lakestour.html


Summary

While perhaps not as epic as the Rocky Mountains, the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York offers excellent cycling for riders of all calibers. The region is home to the toughest century in the East, September's Highlander Tour, and yet offers miles and miles of flat, railtrail riding just a short distance away.

The STBC takes advantage of it all by offering three days of riding that will suit any rider. This year, there's one 18-mile ride on Friday night, a choice of 11 rides on Saturday (ranging from 15 to 101 miles) and three on Sunday (ranging from 22 to 58 miles). There's also a hiking option.

In the past three GFLBTs I've attended, the 50+ crowd is the predominant demographic, but the event is family-friendly. Last year an 8-year-old stoker and an 11-year-old solo rider each completed their first centuries.

The event is limited by the dining hall seating of 260. Camping on-site is free, or for an extra $5/night you can get a bunkhouse bunk. Motels and B&Bs are available in nearby Watkins Glen. Many people prefer this option.

Shopping, wine tours, hiking and sightseeing along the lakes are popular with non-cycling spouses.

The nearest international airport is here in Rochester (ROC), a two-hour drive away. There are closer regional airports as well.

Oh, and it's cheap too. $78, or $88 with a bunkhouse bunk. That includes all, and boy can they tie on the feedbag in the dining hall! It's the only cycling event where you'll gain weight on a ride weekend.

This will be the 30th anniversary of the ride, and over the decades the club has ironed-out all the wrinkles. There are certainly fancier events, but none run quite so smoothly.


The Rides

NOTE: With the exception of cell-phone SAG, all rides are self-supported. Unlike charity rides, there are no rest stops manned by enthusiastic volunteers with mountains of cookies. You'll need to carry your own water, and stop at stores or restaurants for food and drink along the way.
  • There is one ride Friday night, choice of 11 rides on Saturday, and three on Sunday.
  • The Saturday rides range from a 15-mile bike path ride to 101 miles circumnavigating Seneca Lake. There's a hiking option too. I'm likely to do the 78-miler, the shortest of the Seneca Lake circumnavigations.
  • Some rides are "Remote Start" meaning you'll drive to the starting point. Four shorter rides start in Ovid, between Seneca and Cayuga lakes, about halfway up their length. The rest of the rides have a choice of camp start or remote start. It's a heluva climb back from the village of Watkins Glen up to camp after whole a day's riding. That's the reason for the choice.
  • Sunday includes a choice of a 22-mile out-and-back on the Catherine Valley railtrail, or two routes circumnavigating Keuka Lake. All are remote start.
  • Keuka Lake is roughly Y-shaped. The 44-mile ride skips across the top, the 58-mile ride goes down between the arms of the Y. This is a very flat ride. For the most part it's little baby rollers no more than 5-10 feet in altitude. (Bring an oxygen mask. ) There's one required climb from Branchport of about 4% for less than a mile. The 58-miler has an additional climb across the ridge down between the arms--steep but short. This is my favorite ride in all of Upstate. While not especially challenging, the curvy two-lane is just so nice that I always find myself thinking, "This is why I'm a road cyclist."

Myself, I like the challenge of the 18-mile Friday night ride. The first half is nearly all climbing, then the second half is nearly all descent. Three years ago on that ride is when I learned the joys of each half. And it's before dinner, so you can really work up an appetite. (Did I mention how the catering service knows how to tie on the feedbag?)

I typically do the half-century or the metric on Saturday, returning to camp in mid-afternoon for a nice hot shower and a nap. The Saturday rides change a little every year. On last year's half I recorded 3,653 feet of climbing. Most of that was along rolling hills, but there were a couple of long grinders. Up between the lakes, though, it's nearly all flat, and that's where the shorter road rides and railtrail rides are.

And as I said before, the 45-mile Sunday ride around Keuka Lake is my favorite ride in all of Upstate. It's scenic, along good road, traffic is light and most of it is protected from the wind. It's also right along the shore so it's flat except for one mile-long 4% to 5% grade. (I recorded only 1,608 of climbing in 45 miles last year.) There are also plenty of places to stop along the way. It goes through three villages for food and bathroom breaks, and most of the marinas we pass have porta-potties.



The Facilities

There are showerhouses in the two sections of camp, with additional restrooms in the dining hall. The showerhouse I typically use seems never to run out of hot water either--at least not that I've heard of. It's also fully wheelchair accessible.

The club rents the whole of the Hidden Valley Group Camp, part of, but separate from the rest of Watkins Glen State Park. I'm no judge of real estate so I'm likely well off the mark, but I'd say it's around ten acres. A little stream runs through and there's a swimming hole. There are two sections of bunkhouses totaling maybe two dozen, and two sections for camping--one in the center of things, and the other off and away. There are no camping "spots", so to speak. Just plop your tent wherever you please.

The dining hall sits in the center of the whole place and seats 250 or 260. They manage to serve everyone in about an hour--or about one rider every fifteen seconds. It's simply amazing


The Weather

Nights are generally in the 50s. Days can be anybody's guess. From my ride logs of the past three years:

2009
  • Friday: Sunny, 70s, light wind.
  • Saturday: Clouding over, about 60 to the lower 70s, light winds. Near perfect, except for the light shower in the last five miles or so.
  • Sunday: Perfect. Sunny, big puffy clouds, warming to the lower 70s, light breeze.
2008
  • Friday: Didn't ride, left my shoes home and had to go get them.
  • Saturday: Sunny, lower to mid 90s, winds favorable
  • Sunday: Mostly cloudy, mid-upper 80s, winds SW @ 15 (est), 15 minutes of rain on the southbound side.
2007
  • Friday: Sunny, muggy, 90, headwinds out, calm return.
  • Saturday: Clear, sunny, a few puffy clouds, Cool to start warmed to nice, room temperature, winds NW 10 (Headwind out, yea!)
  • Sunday: Didn't ride because my ride to the ride hadn't told me his wife said he could stay only the two days.


Extras?

For those who can come early or stay late, I can direct you to other rides and sightseeing too. (Although I'm not very good with wineries, being in AA and all, they're sort of off my radar and I'd like to keep it that way.) My club has day rides almost every day in-season. As you might expect, most day riders are retired, so the terrain and pace are appropriate to our group.

You might be able to be talk me into leading a sightseeing ride or two here in Rochester. There's the lake, three waterfalls in the Genesee River gorge right through the city (all on a bike path!), and enough museums to choke a horse. And of course, the legendary Dinosaur BBQ, which is right on a bike path, and is bike friendly.

Cranky Old Dude can't make the ride weekend, but maybe we can run into him on a ride in R-Town before or after.


More?

Coverage in my blog is incomplete. But here's what I've written about my previous GFLBT weekends:
  • 2007 Remember here that I'd never done any climbing before. And that I'd just quit smoking six months before. Oh, and I'd crashed hard the Monday before. My pics from 2007
  • 2008 Huh. No report.
  • 2009 Part 1 Part 2 Part 2 has some words about the catering.

Blazing Pedals attended in 2007. Here are his pics: https://s38.photobucket.com/albums/e1...s/RU07%20pics/


Additional stuff

Registration and notification

Registration form is available at: https://www.southerntierbicycleclub.o...lakestour.html

You won't receive any notification of registration. I don't know why the club doesn't do this, especially in the day and age of email. Life will go along, weeks will pass, then suddenly your check will be deposited. That's about the only acknowledgment you'll get. I wish it was different, but I got over it, and so can you.

Last edited by tsl; 03-16-10 at 08:15 AM. Reason: Added additional stuff
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Old 03-14-10, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl

Cranky Old Dude can't make the ride weekend, but maybe we can run into him on a ride in R-Town before or after.

That would be great! What about it, Cranky? Are we going to get the chance to meet you?
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Old 03-14-10, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Beverly
That would be great! What about it, Cranky? Are we going to get the chance to meet you?
That would really top off what promises to be a great weekend. I vote yes!
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Old 03-15-10, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl
..................
Cranky Old Dude can't make the ride weekend, but maybe we can run into him on a ride in R-Town before or after.
Originally Posted by Beverly
That would be great! What about it, Cranky? Are we going to get the chance to meet you?
Originally Posted by Louis
That would really top off what promises to be a great weekend. I vote yes!
Wow! You all know how to make a guy feel good.

The sad fact is that I've got to work that weekend and I've used up all of my Vacation time on important family events through-out the year. Sigh.

I will keep in touch with tsl though and we'll see what develops.
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Old 03-16-10, 07:43 AM
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Glad to hear that Beverly is going to be there. Look forward to meeting you.

Has anyone yet received an acknowledgment of their registration? I haven't.
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Old 03-16-10, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Ken Brown
Has anyone yet received an acknowledgment of their registration? I haven't.
I'll add this to the first post.

You won't receive any notification of registration. I don't know why the club doesn't do this , especially in the day and age of email. Life will go along, weeks will pass, then suddenly your check will be deposited. That's about the only acknowledgment you'll get.
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Old 03-16-10, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Ken Brown
Glad to hear that Beverly is going to be there. Look forward to meeting you.

Has anyone yet received an acknowledgment of their registration? I haven't.
I haven't seen my check clear the bank yet.

I'm looking forward to meeting everyone, too.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Ken Brown
Glad to hear that Beverly is going to be there. Look forward to meeting you.

Has anyone yet received an acknowledgment of their registration? I haven't.
TSL said we wouldn't receive acknowledgment other than our check being cashed.
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Old 04-04-10, 05:36 AM
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Gflbt

I've just sent in my registration! Looking forward to it, I'll probably ride to WG from Ithaca on Friday, and I'm thinking of doing the century. The only dilemma: 'bent or upright...
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Old 04-13-10, 08:46 PM
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My check has cleared the bank. I'm officially registered
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Old 04-13-10, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Beverly
My check has cleared the bank. I'm officially registered
I checked mine yesterday. It has! Woohoo!
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Old 04-19-10, 07:38 PM
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It sounds like a great weekend; unfortunately it's the same weekend as Recumbent Rally in State College, PA....
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Old 04-19-10, 08:55 PM
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I hope y'all have a great time. It sounds like fun, but it is just too far for me to travel for a ride at this time in my life. I just turned in my registration for Bicycle Ride Across Georgia the week of June 5-12.
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Old 04-20-10, 09:37 AM
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I've recruited two friends to join me on this ride

Louis - I'm bringing John with me.
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Old 04-20-10, 11:56 AM
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[QUOTE=Beverly;10697121]I've recruited two friends to join me on this ride[QUOTE]

Excellent!

Of course now I have to break the news that there are no prizes for recruitment...
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Old 04-20-10, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Beverly
I've recruited two friends to join me on this ride

Louis - I'm bringing John with me.
Fantastic! Let the good times roll!
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Old 04-23-10, 09:42 AM
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I'm stressing a bit on which bike to bring, and the gearing. I just ordered a new freewheel for my old comfy steel Miyata , 14 - 28(came with 13 - 24). The cranks are 53/39. My aluminum Raleigh has an 11- 26 with 53 /39 I believe. It's lighter and faster but nowhere near as comfortable. I'm bringing the MTB for the Friday ride.
It's REALLY flat around here folks, and I don't want to travel 900 miles to bike 40(30 miles is the most I've ridden at once, but it didn't kill me), or be a big hinderance on others! Any input on my gearing, fitness or warm fuzzy feelings in general would be appreciated! TSL - can you give me a few more details on that 78 mile ride? It doesn't look too bad on the topo map....but then the map is flat! ha!

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Old 04-23-10, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by seenoweevil
Any input on my gearing, fitness or warm fuzzy feelings in general would be appreciated! TSL - can you give me a few more details on that 78 mile ride? It doesn't look too bad on the topo map....but then the map is flat! ha!
As of right now, I'm planning on riding Blue Steel, which is also a 53/39 front with a 12-27 rear for Saturday, and bringing my 12-23 cassette for Sunday.

The Sunday ride around Keuka Lake is flat enough you could ride a 53/11 single-speed. Well, there is that half-mile 4% climb out of Branchport. But otherwise, it's little baby rollers, the height of a child or a small pony. Hardly more than speed bumps.

I'm assuming you're asking about the Saturday ride around Seneca Lake. I only know the west side of the lake. The return trip on the east side will be all new territory for me. Well, I rode in a Greyhound from Ithaca to Rochester through Geneva, but that was before I was a cyclist, and grades are pretty meaningless from the seat of the Muttbus.

I'll be doing the "remote start" from town, rather than starting directly in camp. The reason is the killer climb from town to camp at the end of a long ride. Yeah, with a triple I could probably do it, but I'm riding for fun, not to kill myself or to prove anything to anyone. I'll drive from town to camp, thankyouverymuch.

Leaving town heading north on NY14, there's a climb of the same altitude, but longer grade. I don't recall the exact length, but I'm thinking about a mile of 4%. I'll be having my Wheaties for breakfast and I expect it'll be long grinder.

After that, it's long, baby rollers--nearly flat--halfway up the lake to Dresden. From Dresden to Geneva the rollers are bigger, but I've seen pics of rollers in Georgia that look more challenging. Through the City of Geneva, it's flat along the lakeshore.

<Speculation begins>

From there back to Watkins Glen on the east side of the lake, I can only speculate. You're right, it doesn't look to bad on a topo map. Since there are no bail-out points after turning back south in Geneva, I expect the club has chosen less challenging routing.

I expect the bulk of the route will be NY96A to Ovid, then NY414 to Watkins Glen. State highways in this part of the state are generally engineered grades of no more than 4%. Expect a climb out of Geneva to Rose Hill, flat to rolling to Sampson State Park, a descent to the park and climb back out.

If they choose East Lake Road instead of 96A, it's likely to be gentle rollers like I'm used to around Keuka Lake, with a climb up the plateau near Sampson State Park rather than out of Geneva.

From Ovid, I figure flat to rolling to Watkins Glen, with a gradual descent from Lodi to Valois.

The above is all based on the shorter 78/85 mile route.

The 93/100/101 mile route heads east from Geneva to the northern end of Cayuga Lake. It'll likely be pretty flat for that leg. The villages of Waterloo and Seneca Falls are very nice, BTW, and may be worth the extra 15 miles, if you like small towns settled in the late 1700 and early 1800s.

My guess is that once it hits Cayuga Lake State Park, it'll take NY89 south to Poplar Beach or so before climbing the plateau to Ovid and joining the shorter route there.

<End speculation. Your routing, mileage and climbing may vary.>

My primary training hill is a bit less than a half-mile at 4% to 6%. The first time out on Blue Steel I did five repeats into a headwind on it, seated. I haven't gotten out to the hills southeast of the city yet this year, but in other years, I only grannied down on the triples because of my usual 23-tooth rear cog. Depending on how I feel after work tomorrow I may get out there on Blue with its 12-27 to see what I can do without a granny.

Oh, and prevailing winds are from the west. This is a predominately north/south route, so crosswinds are more likely than headwinds.

Hope this helps!

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Old 04-26-10, 07:19 PM
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Yessir, I was planning on trying the 78 miler on Saturday as well. I'm still leary of lasting for the entire century, and my own speculation on the 78 miler looked promising( I was also considering your advice on the remote start vs long climb at the end of the day!). I feel much better now and I'm pretty confident I'm making the right choice and the new cassette will help as well. Thanks so much for the detailed assistance! See you all soon!
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Old 04-26-10, 08:48 PM
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Just for the sake of completeness, besides Blue Steel, I'll be bringing along the Portland just in case it rains. I was happy for the lights, disc brakes and fenders when the skies opened last year. The Portland has a triple, BTW.
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Old 05-16-10, 06:08 PM
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Won't be long now, less than a month to go!
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Old 05-17-10, 03:09 PM
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To ride in it, one has to join the Southern Tier Club?... Even if you're from northern Vermont? I was seriously considering it... until this.
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Old 05-17-10, 03:11 PM
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Whoops... only 3 bucks!!!
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Old 05-17-10, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by revmrf
Whoops... only 3 bucks!!!
I was wondering what the objection was. Initially, I thought it was the Groucho argument, "I'd never join a club that would have me as a member!"

Hope to see you!
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Old 05-20-10, 01:50 PM
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Ugh. Bad 2 weeks. First gout, then intestinal virus the last 5 days. Looks like I'll be stepping down the route I take, but I'm still coming, and still looking forward to it! See you folks soon!
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