It's been a dry summer here in upstate New York, so the folks who live here may not have been looking forward to the derechos or potential tornadoes or possible hail, but they really needed the rain that came in during the night. And they were ecstatic that it was forecast to continue throughout the day and into the night. As we all hung out in the hotel lobby watching the drops fall, the Quadzilla riders seemed to be the only folks who weren't smiling.
Mark Frank opened the 6:45 am rider's briefing by saying that he did not recommend that anybody ride today. Although none of us would melt in the rain, and our bikes would probably be fine, and he trusted all of us to get under shelter when the lightning and hail and winds came in during the afternoon, he said that today's route had even more steep ups and downs than yesterday's, and that a 50-mile descent with a Stop sign at the bottom was hard enough as it was and could be impossible with wet breaks.
Of course, I know a secret for stuff like that. If you put Kool Stop brake pads on your bike, they'll actually grip when the road is wet, unlike regular pads that don't so much grip as kind of hold on while they get rubbed down to nothing after 50 miles or so. Yes, Kool Stop brake pads would be just the trick for riding in weather like this.
Too bad I didn't have them.
They say that "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread," and so I was an angel today. A nice, cowardly, lazy, mostly dry, but at-the-end-of-the-day-alive angel.
Five riders opted to go, and I wish them well. We don't expect any of them back before evening, and sitting here in the hotel lobby watching the rain fall outside I do not envy them. They are better, braver, stronger riders than I (which doesn't really take much), and I look forward to hearing their tales from the road.
However, since we were kitted up, Mary Beth, Vida, and I took advantage of a lull in the rain to ride the 50-mile loop around Lake Candanaigua.
We started out following the official route, with the lovely but blustery lake on our left and some gorgeous summer vacation homes on our right. The route soon turned rolling as we entered farmland with climbs that allowed us to look down towards the water. About 15 miles in, we came to Bopple Hill Road, which Vida really wanted to climb since it's one of the two tough hills that we would have done today.
It did not disappoint, with the kind of pitch where you have to get out of the bicycle saddle and shift your weight forward to keep your front wheel down. Fortunately, the road was almost dry in enough spots that the back wheel wasn't slipping out on the wet pavement. Any of that would have forced me to walk ... and that seemed like an easy option to fall into as my quads screamed on the steeper parts.
At the top, we looked south towards the clouds at the bottom of the lake and Vida opted to retrace her route back to the hotel. Mary Beth and I went on, enjoying a few more sedate climbs, zippy descents, and beautiful rolling farm country. Near the top of the lake on the other side, we started to see more summer mansions and realized we were nearing the end.
After dropping Mary Beth at her hotel, I went back to the Super 8 to take a shower and do my laundry. The rain had stopped again, so I ran across the street for a salad at Wegman's, then came back for a nap.
We'd gotten a few sprinkles, but not enough to dampen our enthusiasm, wear out our brakes, or cause calamitous crashes. I would have liked to see the rest of the course and test myself against it, but not enough to risk doing something that would have ruined the rest of my weekend ... or my life.