"That" was the "Killer Hills" RBC (Rochester Bicycling Club) club ride I was scheduled to lead on Sunday 5/3/2020. Love that ride! It provides great scenery around the Geneseo / Dansville corridor and several opportunities to "check chain wear". IOW … hard climbing in your lowest gears. If your chain and rings are beat, it will become evident on Vista Hill and Coffee Hill, for sure.
Alas … Killer Hills was not to be this year as all RBC club rides are cancelled till further notice due to the Covid-19 outbreak. So when we get blessed with a beautiful warm and sunny day, what do I do? Grab a mask and go Solo Distancing, of course.
"This" will be Century #3 for 2020 and another notch in the goal of 10,000 miles or ten centuries for the year … whichever comes first. (Wouldn't I need a hundred centuries to get the ten-k?)
So, Saturday night, I get everything prepped. Route planned and track file loaded. Kit laid out. Tires pumped up. Gadgets charged. Snacks loaded on the bike. Bottles filled and Hydro-pack topped off. Aaaahh … which bike? I feel like a lazy ride, so the lightest bike in the fleet gets pulled out. The bike I rarely use anymore: The FrankenTrek.
It's a stupid bike in some ways. It's a pile of leftover and replaced bits from my first (and only) carbon bike from 1995. The original frame didn't even last ten years, as I cracked the BB shell, so instead of that beautiful clean copper-ice original, the warranty frame is a dumb looking blue billboard of advertising graphics. At least the fork is original and helps to give the bike a "Captain America" look. Anytime I ride that bike, I complete the look with my Adventure Cycling TransAmerica jersey. When riding it, I vacillate between feeling like a super-hero and a real dork only minutes later. Mode 2 is the default anyway, so I'm good with that.
But it rolls pretty nice on skinny wheels, so here we go.
I'm up at 5am and on the road by 6. I love the approach of summer with early sunrises. No stopping for a coffee fix on this ride. Nothing is open. I head south on backroads along the west side of the Genesee Valley and reach the village of Leicester in pretty decent time. It's been mostly flat to very gently rolling to this point but the hills start immediately after between there and Perry. So, I take a quick break at a C-store for a coke (Caffeine!) and a cheesy taquito. That was just enough fuel to make it through Perry and Castile and into the south entrance of Letchworth State Park by 10:30am. I'm starting to realize that my long day might not be so long after all, so I slow down to enjoy the beauty of the park with my first pause at the new bridge over the gorge.
At first, the park was pretty quiet. Sunday Morning I guess. But as I moved northward through the park, it started picking up and by the time I got out the north end by the dam, it was getting pretty crowded with people at all the overlooks and waves of Harley bike gangs rumbling down the road. I made four short stops. One at the Middle Falls, another at a roadside overlook for a snack break (1/2 a Cliff bar), one to check out the high water at the Hogsback …
… and a last stop at the dam. That last stop was crazy. Parking lot was jammed and very few people were wearing masks, but I'll give credit to the one young woman motorcyclist who wandered around with her full coverage helmet on and visor down. Overkill? Perhaps not! In any case, I'm outta there FAST!
Down and out the north entrance to River Road and everything was quiet again … all the way home. I even did a section of Route 15 past Marketplace Mall which was eerily empty and had the road nearly to myself. I made it home by 3:15 after knocking out 114 miles. We joke about how no matter how short or long or how flat or hilly our rides are, we always seem to have an overall average of ten MPH. If the ride is a flat 30 miles, it will always take 3 hours. If it's a hilly 80 mile ride it will take (go ahead … guess …) 8 hours.
On the Frankenbike, all bets are off.