Damn, I Love This Ride!
RBC #150, Lyons Hollow, an "Adventure Ride" in club parlance but likely called a "gravel grinder" in modern times, is a 26 mile dirt/pavement mix in the hills south of Naples NY. One look at a topo map of the area immediately reveals that ANY bike riding in the area will involve some effort. The club's gps track file indicates the route has about 3,500' of climbing.
Three of us met at the ride start on Sunday morning October 11th for some thrills in the hills. I took my Co-Motion Pangea with the totally appropriate Pinion gearbox for easy climbing, but with totally inappropriate 1.5" street tires ... just for fun. Jay had his cross bike with more appropriate tires and Les wisely brought a full-squish Ibis.
It was a little cool at the start, but sunny, and by the time we reached the 1st hilltop (1,200' gain in altitude after only 5 miles of climbing, part on dirt), zippers were getting pulled and layers were about to be shed. A couple more drops of 400' and back up to 2000' altitude bring us to the top of Eveland Road.
Depending on the season, recent weather, and when this "seasonal use" road was last graded, you never know what condition it might be in. Sometimes, it's been pretty ragged and washboarded, and in the fall, leaves cover some details you would much prefer remain visible as you try to pick a line that beats you up the least. But sometimes, it's in decent enough shape to let the bike rip. Jay and Les took advantage of their more appropriate wheel choices and took off, flying out of sight in no time. I, on my skinny wheels and rigid frame, resigned myself to a slow wander down the road thinking I should let some air out, but decided otherwise to save the others from waiting too long for me.
I mentioned the physics trade-off I had to make to Les and he got it. On the one hand, if you go fast enough, you minimize the impacts of washboard by skipping over the tops. On the other hand, if your wheels are only touching ground intermittently, you are technically out of control. Fun choice! At the bottom, Jay decided to take 12 Mile Creek Road.
The next challenge is climbing up Lyons Hollow. But unlike nearly killing myself by riding a single-speed up there a couple years ago, I used nearly all the insanely low gears on my Pinion drive and quite easily crested the top still breathing "normally", whatever that is for this route. Todd joined us at the top of Lyons Hollow by riding the route in reverse to intercept us. He was already in the area at his cabin nearby and pulled out his vintage Klein Attitude he keeps there. Good gearing AND good tires.
After meeting Todd at the top, we moved on down Cook School Road (a bit rough again in places), down Route 53 to the base of Dillenbeck for a two mile climb up to the final crest. Again, I was left in the dust picking my way down Clute to Italy Valley Road where Todd broke off to get back to the cabin. Les and I now looked forward to the last big descent into Naples. The first part of East Hill Road rolls along on pavement before turning rough again for the steep part. Les disappeared again and I took likely twice as long to reach the bottom. I've seen motorcycles with full-on knobbies lose it on the tight downhill turns, so I'm in no hurry.
Like all great rides, this one finished under perfect weather and without damage to bikes or bodies, but this one had a special treat! The new ride start location for Naples rides, starting from the high school, is right across the street from Cindy's, the long-time grape pie bakery.
Of course, we supported the local business. In these times of economic stress, it's the least we can do.