Yeah, I made that up.
I wasn't sleeping well last night and got up (3:30am?), checking news, weather, and virus propagation. Terribly disappointed with fellow American's public health habits, but the nice weather caught my eye. It was looking great for a day of social distance cycling and I quickly opened up my Ride With GPS account to see what I might have missed so far this year.
But I had an "Aha!" moment when I realized …
1. I haven't climbed Bopple Hill yet this year.
2. I haven't climbed Stid Hill in eons.
3. My corona-bubble of friends to cycle with is likely not interested in either.
4. I'm highly unlikely to ride a club ride this season with either in the mix, and certainly not both.
So, if I wanna go play in the ultra-vertical mode, I'm on my own. I hacked out a plan to tie some really cool roads together down there in Bristol Hills Country, without planning the down and back details. I'll just wing it. I didn't get on the road till 6:30am … pretty late for me … but the daylight is beginning to run lower these days. Long rides will slowly get abbreviated in the coming months. And long rides on my Pangea are usually not too quick anyway. Gotta go now. As I was excited about a day of hill-bagging and dirt exploring, I skipped the usual back-road wandering and took a mostly direct route to Bristol Springs, but included Oakmount (a fave road with great views) and a tiny bit of dirt on Lee and Case Roads. At the store in Bristol Springs, (30 miles and 2.5 hours in) I grabbed a breakfast pizza and a coke early enough to be "available" as fuel by the time I get to the base of Bopple. See how this works?
Then it's up into the hills. CR32 to Montanye to Kear and back down the other side of the ridge to NY21 and the "drop-off" on Seneca Point Road. Things have changed recently on Seneca Point Road. We used to blast down that thing (65mph+ on a tandem … no kidding!) because it was so quiet, but no more. Housing developments are eating up the area. As a wise little friend said years ago: "Sucks Man!" In fact, I had to follow a "cautious" driver down the hill who was on the brakes nearly the whole way down and never breaking the 40mph speed limit. I was hot on his tail and wondered if MY brakes were smoking yet.
Not that any inertia there would help propel me up the hill to come. The road levels out at lake level for a while before reaching the climb. Tons of super-pricey properties (and boats) lie along the shoreline and it seems some residents feel somewhat "entitled" to their remote nirvana as a couple walked out into the road right in front of me without even looking either way. I braked (thereby losing ANY inertia) and shook my head as a another couple walking the road nearby witnessed the near collision and shook their heads too.
NO time to delve in bitter thoughts, as the base of Bopple Hill appears in my crosshairs.
And here is why I'm riding my Pangea. Yes, it's heavy. Yes, it's got some fat squishy tires. Yes, I carry too much "stuff". But I ain't no youngster and that insanely low Pinion gearbox is my solution to having a nice day in the hills. Time stamps on the two photos show it took only 15 minutes to climb that sucker, my heart was still in my rib cage and I was still BREATHING at the top. It was an easier climb than with my fancy plastic FrankenTrek that really weighs half as much.
I continue on.
Swinging around the intersection at Bristol Springs, I head north on RT64 a short bit to reach the base of Stid Hill Road. Last visited many a moon ago, it was a crummy dirt road we attacked with mountain bikes. Alas, like many other sweet sweet roads in the region, Stid Hill has succumbed to the ravages of "development" and pavement. It's still a bastard of a climb, but now we have a thing called "traction" that takes some of the fun out of the equation. I share a laugh with a homeowner checking his mailbox. I said it's a "Nice Hill" and he says "You ain't done yet" as I go around a bend and see the road continuing UP! But UP runs out before my energy does, and I get to rocket down Bills Road to RT21 once again. Turning north, I head up to Dugway which I'm certain is still dirt but freaks me out with pavement … for just a little before turning back to crushed gravel. Aaaaah!
I slowly cruise the minor ups and downs, twists and turns of Dugway before it dumps me back out on RT64 just south of Bristol Center. Now I'm thinking, "let's go home", but I'm short on total miles. I need to do something to check off another century, so I think … what the heck … let's go fiddle about on the rail-trails and relax a bit? I head up the Bristol Valley to Routes 5&20, stop at a c-store for a drink, and find my way up though Holcomb and Victor to hop on the Auburn/Lehigh/Greenway trails to home.
I relaxed all right. Didn't get home till much later than usual for a 104 mile ride, but it was a spectacular day in the Finger Lakes Region!