Saturday, August 01, 2009

Middletown to Corning Ride Report

I successfully completed my 2-day solo bike ride from Middletown to Corning, NY. I have to admit, it was a bit different than expected. Day 1 had an INSANE amount of climbing. I'm definitely in doubt of the 5700 ft. reported by Need some further investigation on this, felt like twice that! Not so steep, but lots of long grinding climbs in the 42x26. I'll try to put together a little narrative of the trip. It seems like there are so many little incidents over 2 days and 200 miles of riding. Lots of riding through the woods, farmland, and small rural towns. A couple of busy roads but they were few and far between. Sometimes testing my limits as a rider, most of the time enjoying the best things that cycling has to offer.

Day 1 - Middletown to Deposit
Mile 0 - Up at 5:00 AM at the Super 8 in Middletown, where I was dropped of the night before. PB&J for breakfast, fill water bottles and Camelbak, then checkout. Nervous about the rain and thunderstorms heading into the area. The desk clerk takes a look at me and my bike and says, "I hope you're not going far, it looks like rain." I think to myself, "Not too far, just 100 miles!" Rain starts, just as I clip in at 5:50 AM.

Mile 5 - Hook up with Bike Rt. 17. Rain has stopped, but I'm soaked to the skin.

Mile 25 - Good amount of climbing, then a 4-mile long descent, 35-40 MPH, awesome! Rolling into Port Jervis.

Mile 30 - Following Rt. 97, North, considered a "Scenic Byway" along the Delaware River. Yes, very scenic, but an extreme amount of climbing! Has anyone at the NYS Department of Transportation actually ridden this route on bike? Nothing really steep, but a challenge due to the frequency and length of the climbs.

Mile 35 - Came within 100 yards of a black bear. A woman in a car coming the other way warns me of a bear in the road. I see the bear, we look at each other, I back off. I wait for a couple of cars to go by and scare the bear back into the woods before I hammer past on my bike. SCARY!

Mile 55 - Rain starts again, slowly getting heavier as the miles pass.

Mike 70 - 35 MPH descent in the rain to test the nerves. I climb into Calicoon, rain gets alot more intense and the sky turns black. Rain is too heavy to proceed and getting a bit dangerous. I pull under an awning at a hotel and call Linda on the cell phone and ask her to login and check the weather. She says there is a storm cell over Calicoon but it should pass in about an hour. I wait for 45 minutes, eat a CLIF bar, until the rain lightens then head out again.

Mile 80 - Crest a 10-mile climb I've been ascending since Calicoon. Steady rain. Thinking about asking Linda to meet me at Hancock to pick me up and forget the whole thing.

Mile 90 - Arrive in Hancock, still raining. Bike Route 17 wants to send me on a 30-mile loop to Deposit. I talk to a local at the Sunoco and he gives me a route of about 20 miles. I go for the shorter version.

Mile 100 - The "shortcut" has sent me over 10 miles of new chipseal (gravel). Finally get to Rt. 10 for the descent to Deposit.

Mile 112 - Arrive at the Deposit Inn, dripping wet at the front desk. Talking to the owner about my ride, where I came from, where I'm going. He hands me a rag to wipe off my bike and doesn't bat an eye about me bring the bike into the room with me. Rinse out my bike clothes and hang them to dry. Get some dinner at Wendys. Tomorrow should be an easier day, good weather is forecast, and should be much less climbing. Later, I wheel the bike out of my room to oil the chain. The owner sees me and asks if I'm going for a ride! Take a little walk to stretch the legs, then relax in front of the TV.

Day 2 - Deposit to Corning
Mile 0 - Out at dawn, CLIF bar for breakfast.

Mile 20 - The right shift lever is stuck and won't shift the rear derailleur. My 27-speed is now a 3-speed. I fiddle with it for a few minutes with my multi-tool and get it working, but I will need to baby it for the rest of the day. Must have gotten mucked up with the rain from yesterday. There's heavy fog but at the top of the hills, I can see a little blue sky.

Mile 25 - Passing through Binghamton.

Mile 55 - Need some energy, stop in Owego for a cup of coffee and an apple danish.

Mile 80 - Been cruising the last 25 miles! Some climbing, but no problem compared to yesterday. Legs feeling a little drained.

Mile 102 - Meet the familiy who are driving to Harris Hill park for pool and BBQ. I'll finish the ride to Corning then drive back to meet them.

Mile 108 - Arrive in Corning. Mission Accomplished! Shower, yogurt, banana, and back out the door for a fun afternoon at the park.

So, 2 days, 220 miles, its done. It been said, "Adventures suck while your having them." Possibly true in this case with the horrendous weather and brutal climbing on Day 1. But I am SO glad I did it! A bunch of experiences I will thinking about for days, weeks, months, and years to come.

On the practical side:
0 flats on my Continental Gatorskins with 3500 miles already on them :-)
Probably packed too much. Besides my shorts, jersey, helmet shoes, and gloves:
- Camelbak Blowfish hydration backpack containing pump, spare folding tire, tube, 7 CLIF bars, mix for 3 bottles, maps, GPS, camera, non-bike clothes (shorts & t-shirt), sandals, rain cape, blinkie light, cell phone, money, credit card.
- Seat bag containing two tubes, multi-tool, patch kit, CO2 inflator, tire levers.

Whats next?...

P.S. According to elevation, Day 1 7418 ft., Day 2 3698 ft. These seem reasonable.


PyZahl said...

Nice ride, report and good job :-) Where are you heading....

nickm said...

Just to visit family in Corning, a short 2-day bike trip. Maybe some longer trip in the future.

BrennanAnnie said...

Great post Nick. I keep thinking I would like to ride from here (near Baltimore) to Seven Springs. I need a partner though so that might have to wait.

nickm said...

Thanks, Annie! Was in the back of my mind for a couple of years to try this. Finally worked out. I hope you get a chance to do your ride sometime soon!