A Double Whammy
A reasonably cooperative weekend, weather wise, let me score some club ride miles in the style I like best … scenic! (AKA … Hilly!)
It started with Saturday’s RBC #223, Naples-Haskinville ride; an “Al Davis” creation, on Mayday (May 1st). Long term members of the Rochester Bicycling Club get the Al Davis reference. The route is a 54 mile cruise in the hills south of Naples NY and the highlight of the ride MOST folks think of is Neil’s Creek Road, which meanders generally downhill and twisting along a creek valley for miles on a very, very quiet road. Sweet! It starts at around 25 miles into the ride and one pops out on the highway pointed to a food stop in Avoca at around mile 31 … IF you take the route unedited as people sometimes do.
Mack School Road is a barrier.
It’s a nice road. And, unlike when this route was created, it’s nicely paved now (OK … chipsealed) and no longer a muddy dirt road. (Sniff!) But it’s got a bit of rather stiff climbing that can be avoided with a minor detour. The “moderate” group I was riding with that day elected to avoid it, but I blindly stuck to the main route, well, because. And because I was riding my Co-Motion Pangea, currently shod with knobby tires (on a road ride? Idiot!), I took a short-cut on the (dirt) Demmery Road which passes by a very old cemetery …
… before connecting with Mack School Road.
OK … I’m a cheater. The reason I don’t have a reluctance to hit steep roads is GEARS. The super-low ratios of the Pinion gearbox on my Pangea allows me to climb grades that, quite honestly, SHOULD be avoided by any reasonable person on a reasonable bike. Never have been accused of being reasonable, I felt fully empowered to be myself and have a grand time.
I barely intercepted my group later at the store in Avoca who arrived there much earlier and were just heading out. I skipped the chance for a slice of pizza, and rejoined the group , heading toward another classic section of the route, 12 Mile Creek Road. Our club has a few routes that use this road on the return to Naples, but I never tire of it. Ten miles of very quiet and nearly imperceptible climbing though the woods to the top of the hill south of Naples is a joy, particularly when it’s a sunny day with gentle southerly winds.
But then … it’s a fast wild downhill on the highway to town to wrap up the ride. No complaints!
OK … THAT was cool. What’s next?
Sunday, May 2.
I’m the Ride Leader for yet another classic “Al Davis” ride: RBC #199: The Killer Hills. This time, the weather is looking “iffy”. Possible showers off-and-on most of the day, and not exactly warm enough to manage that without raingear. Wisely, most people I would normally expect to do this ride are no-shows on the club’s Meetup page. But Mike K. hangs in there till the last moment and decides shortly before the start to give it a shot after I make a post …
“Do ya Feel Lucky?”
We start from Geneseo with a few drops of rain that disappear quickly. After the first of 4 climbs, we’re cruising nicely till we get to the first of the two “memorable” climbs: Vista Hill.
It takes a while, but we clear it OK w/o broken chains or broken bodies. Plunging down to Dansville via Sahrles Hill Road, we stop for coffee before the climb up Coffee Hill Road (see what I did there?), the second of the two “memorables”. Is there a better plan? This hill is a pretty tough grind as well, and we start hearing pinging sounds from Mike’s rear wheel spokes that suggest that he’s been torquing the crap out of it. We stop to check and it seems survivable, so we continue on. We enjoy a wild cruise down Kyserville-Byersville Road to highway 36 and we stop to evaluate the weather. We see rain ahead up on Groveland Hill. Radar on the smartphone says we are gonna get wet no matter which way we go. May as well stick to the plan! We cross the valley to Groveland Station, getting a bit damp from the “Heavy Sprinkles” (not quite a “light rain” in my weather spectrum), but as we turn up the hill, Mike mentions a wise proverb about the birds we hear singing … that they do that when the rain is about to STOP.
10 seconds later, the rain stops and the sun begins to cast our shadows on the pavement.
Thank you Oh Wise Ones!
Over the top and with a bit of headwind, we enjoyed the quick and general downhill back to Geneseo to wrap up a Really Cool Ride™, dry and happy that we “Felt Lucky”