We passed through the charming looking town of Skaneateles at the top of its eponymous lake. It looked like a lovely place to spent a night, or at least have a coffee, but the storm brewing behind us kept us on the move. The rain caught us in earnest as we began the first real climb of the day, and the thunder and lightning were almost of top of us when we reached the summit, where Chuck and Crista were waiting in their van offering bananas and encouragement. I quickly put on my jacket, while John took a banana and we apologized for not hanging out due to the lightning! We just wanted to get off the mountaintop. We got down as quickly as we could, while still showing some caution for the wet and steep roads, and those ever-present stops signs!
We were barely able to see and were quite thankful to have the GPS for navigation as we made our way down through a series of turns to the control near the interstate. The climb up Song Mountain did not make us sing, but prayers, or at least OMG's might have been uttered on Church Hill. With our giant 36 tooth cog on the cassette, it was rare for us to use the granny in front, but this climb deserved it!
Somewhere around the top of Church Hill climb, the clouds started to break up a bit, but we didn't trust them not to reform, and we just kept pressing on. We were wasting no time and actually met Marcia on her way to the secret control point (that we'd already passed), so she stopped and set up for us partway up the Long Hill climb. Hunger makes good sauce and those turkey sandwiches went down a treat!
The next descent was a glorious one and took us down to yet another lake. Yes, at this stage, we had seen every lake out there, and had ridden on numerous different Lake Streets, Lakeside Roads, and Lake Hill Avenues and every variation of that. So ho, hum, another effin' lake! Actually it was pretty cool to keep seeing so many lakes, but we knew it'd just be a screaming descent and then another climb where we'd have to winch ourselves back up to a view high above said lake! We had a couple of info controls along this section, as Mark had us weaving up and down in between lakes to get more climbing and distance.
We dared not acknowledge it for fear of scaring it off, but the sun was trying hard to overcome the clouds. This was also warming things up a bit, and by the time we reached Moravia, we were ready for a cold drink and some additional calories.
After a short stop, we headed out for the final leg, and spied Mark waving at us from a cafe. He had taken a more direct route after growing weary of the storm cloud that seemed to follow him around, likely because he still hasn't learned not to use that four letter word while on a ride, and was waiting to meet up with the other riders still doing the full course. There weren't many left though. Quite a few folks had either taken direct routes or lifts during the storm. The sad part was that the weather actually improved when folks dropped out and continued to get better as the day wore on!
We had a couple more big climbs after Moravia, and then found ourselves in the midst of a giant series of yard sales along a pretty main road, with cars darting in and out for parking, and completely destroying all our momentum for yet another big climb! What followed was a long series of downhills with just a few leg burning climbs tossed in before we hit the only curvy twisty road on the route taking us past the gorge that runs through Cornell. We stopped for a couple of photos and then enjoyed the final descent back to the motel.
4X200km days with 36,000 feet of climbing. Now it's time to rest.
Thanks to Mark Frank for his devilish route and Marcia Swan, the absolute angel of support.
This was a good hard challenging ride. I'm quite happy with the staged format, as it was really nice to see everything in daylight. Mark could do a better job arranging the weather, but then it might be too easy! As I've probably said too many times already, the climbs were somewhat demoralizing because they were dead straight, and you could see exactly what awaits. If you like a good climbing challenge, you'll find it here. And if you want to beat the daylights out of your quads, quadzilla will do it!
|Hmm, looks like R....|
|Wet roads - missing fenders!|
|Bits of blue sky?|
|Puddles are getting smaller|
|Stoker is still there!|
Quadzilla - Staged - 4 legged beast ... Done and Dusted!