RBC #222, the Neil's Creek Century, is a real favorite of mine and you can guess my reply to Joe's invitation to go ride it Sunday. Yes, it's a long hilly ride, and with shortening daylight hours, I had to think about what bike to ride. A bike with generator and lights? Go light with the fast bike and try to finish before sundown? These thoughts came to me as I've been getting started on long rides at sunrise, and those have been getting later and later. Sunset too has been getting earlier, so what got into me to suggest a start time of 8am rather than 7am, I don't know. Maybe I figured Joe might not want to start early, but yes … Joe has lights on his rando bike. Maybe I figured it shouldn't be too tough, as it is a "moderate" ride in terms of hill climbing … just over 5,000' over 101 miles. So 8am it was, and I pulled the FrankenBike out in hopes we'd finish before sunset. I shouldn't have been concerned even if we did run past sunset. Joe has good lights and I had front and rear blinkers.
Never mind that we chat a lot and didn't hit the road till 8:14am!
And then there was the wind. 10-15mph headwinds from the south and southwest made for a slow start uphill toward East Groveland. I began to question my bike choice until we hit the top and flew down Groveland Hill. Top speed of 44mph even with the crosswinds. Okay … we're good. I know the rest of the ride is like this. Up. Down. Up. Down. But nothing too brutal. (As long as we avoid Jacob's Ladder!)
We pass through Dansville and start "the climb" of this route. Up Sandy Hill Road through South Dansville, then the turn onto Mack School Road where we top out at just over 2000' elevation. Another wild downhill to Route 21, then the "Main Event" of this ride, Neil's Creek Road (CR6). Payback time. Neil's Creek, in the eastbound direction, is a 7 mile long winding but mostly gentle downhill, twisting alongside the creek which has carved itself a nice canyon-like setting in places.
The competing temptations on this stretch are: 1. Cruise slowly and enjoy the scenery, or 2: Go Like Hell.
(Uh ... spell check!)
We rode somewhere in the middle of the extremes. No rush … we're stopping in Avoca for a pizza break, and then head up to Wallace and pick up Twelve Mile Creek Road north toward Naples. Twelve Mile Creek Road is almost the opposite of Neil's Creek, in that it's a long gently rolling UPhill to Ingleside where we catch the fast downhill to Naples on Route 53. Eelpot Road out of Naples climbs away and back to Route 21 where we pause for a photo at Karen's favorite little store in North Cohocton.
Our second real break is in Wayland after a dead quiet cruise through Atlanta on CR36 to Sawdust Road. While watching the throngs of motorcyclists gassing up at the gas station, I'm approached by a young woman who asks if I've been to Canandaigua. Yes, frequently, why? "I've met you there!" Oh yeah. Maybe I've been spending too much time hanging out at Dalai Java on Main Street.
So we hit the road up Pokamoonshine Hollow to Carney Hollow Road. And guess what? We have tailwinds now and they were a nice help in pushing us up the road. I mentioned to Joe that I far prefer getting up to Webster's Crossing via Carney Hollow rather than climbing out of Springwater on NY15.
We make the drop to water level at Conesus Lake by bombing down Sliker Hill. From there, we have about 5 miles of flat lakeshore cruising …
… before the final grunt of the day UP Reservoir Road back to Geneseo. We make it back to the cars just after 6pm. How about that! 101 miles in just under ten hours.
Just like nearly EVERY other ride we do, we average about 10 miles per hour overall. Flat. Hilly. Windy. No matter. It just always works out that way.