The title has a couple of meanings here. One has to do with the unpredictability of my riding. Some days are ups, some are downs and after all these years I haven’t seen a pattern. The latest example is that 2 days ago I ended on a real up. My riding had been good and I felt strong, even at the end of the ride. I was definitely looking forward to the next day’s ride. And then …
July 13 (Windsor Locks, CT to Millerton, NY, sort of):
Friday the 13th was my “and then” day. Nothing horrible, I just struggled whereas the day before had been easy. I can’t attribute it to the weather or roads because both were pretty comparable, which is to say they were good. My body just seems to fluctuate.
The ride was 62 miles and 4,200 feet of climbing. The 4,200 feet is the second part of the “Ups And Downs”. I don’t know the altitude of the highest mountain I climbed but I don’t think it was much. It’s just that you climb the same hills numerous times, up and down and up and down and up and down And then do it some more. The consolation is that it was pretty. More trees, more green, more lakes.
Before the ups and downs, though, there was a dirt path, not my favorite riding, especially when there is gravel and/or sand. There were a couple of times it caught my tire but nothing bad. It just makes for slow going and is more tiring, especially if it makes you tense as it does me. However, the path was pretty and had the wooden bridge in the photos. My path didn’t go over the bridge but rode past it, the bridge leading to a picnic area. Again, very pretty.
I said “Windsor Locks to Millerton, sort of” because there was no feasible place to stay in Millerton. Apparently it is a vacation destination because either everything was booked or it was way past my budget. While I was riding, Ale was driving to neighboring towns and finally found us something 17 miles away in Dove Plain, NY. She took me there from Millerton.
The Hudson River
July 14 (Dove Plain to E Middletown, NY):
Today had 2 firsts for this trip, neither of which I liked. The first led to the second.
The first was that I fell over. At about 1 mph. Within 1/4 mile of our motel Google Maps had me turn off of a perfectly rideable highway (not a freeway, but a 2 lane road with a fair amount of fast moving traffic) onto a rural residential road that started at about 10% and then increased to more than 17%. I have ridden hills of 20% – albeit a very short hill – but not at the start of a 60+ mile hilly ride. So before starting the steepest part of the climb I stopped to catch my breath. The fall happened when I tried to get started again. I couldn’t get my second foot cleated in because of the grade and I managed to fall over. I had a very minor leg scrape but did cut my saddle and bruised my ego. But what damaged my ego even worse was that I walked 100 feet or so to the top of the stepest grade so I could get back on my bike. That was the 2nd first, walking up a hill.
But things got better. After getting back on and pedaling up a 16% grade and then some of 10 and 11%, which at that stage were a relief, I realized I didn’t have my spare batteries with me. Those I can’t do without because my phone is my map and lifeline and it doesn’t last all that long when it is serving as my guide. I called Ale to see if I had left them in the room which I hoped I had done because then she could bring them to me in what would take less than 5 minutes in the truck. She didn’t see them, though, so I wondered if I had dropped them when I fell. Which meant I had to turn around and go down the climbs I had just struggled up. Well, I didn’t see them so rode back to the motel to see if I had left them some place Ale hadn’t looked. Just as I got back she found them. Which meant I had to turn around and repeat the start from hell. Well, I had no more stomach for that one short steep climb so I again walked about 100 feet and repeated the 16% climb. I had a lot of feet of climbing in the first 1 ½ miles of riding.
Lots more ups and downs 3,600+’ of them all told – but a lot more beautiful country. Included were a number of what appeared to be horse ranches though I didn’t see any horses. Vast green fields surrounded by trees and bordered by white wood fences. Why didn’t I use my camera when I should have?
More ups and downs. But now in temperatures that reached a humid 95+ degrees. 58 miles and 3,650 feet of climbing. It seems I keep doing the equivalent of a Mt. Diablo without seeing anything that tall. Tell that to my legs.
Today we crossed the Hudson River. I know that is what it is because I stopped a walker and asked. Very impressive.
Oh, yes, another first today. A bee got into my helmet and stung me before I could get it off. I don’t respond too badly to stings but would prefer they leave me alone.
I guess there was a lot of sun because Ale commented on how red my face got today. And how tired I looked.
A Japanese restaurant tonight. Ale had grilled tuna and I had a sushi and sashimi combo. And at least 4 glasses of ice water. My dinner was great. The lobster a couple of days ago was good but I preferred this.
The next 3 days should be a bit shorter. Ale changed my schedule heading into Philadelphia to a couple of 50+ mile rides from the 88 and 15 mile rides that for some reason I had scheduled. I said she is indispensable.
Here is something to think on, I know that I am: “Why do a ride like this, or any comparable activity?” I will share some of my thoughts later. I hope some of you do as well. And I am hoping for reasons other than that something is wrong with me as a couple of people have suggested.
I rode to Middleton rather than the scheduled Burlingham because Ale couldn’t find anything there.