Friday, July 27, 2012

Quadzilla Day 3: Transition Stage

During the Tour de France, there's a point where the race moves from the Alps to the Pyrenees. Of course, there may be years when it moves from the Pyrenees to the Alps, but right now I'm too tired to look it up.

Anyway, there's usually a stage or two during this period that they call "transition stages." The sprinters, who have been suffering in the Alps (or the Pyrenees ... whatever) get to sit in for 100 miles or so, then go all fast leg-whacky during the last few hundred yards and make weird salutes -- like the Slovenian funky chicken dance or pretending to talk into a phone.

Today was our transition stage.

We started out in a light drizzle, heading east from Canandaingua. I was feeling frisky, so about five miles in I rode off the front on a little hill and time trialed a few miles. This was why I missed the turn for downtown Genessee, and got my first four bonus miles.

Once through Genessee, I was rolling north alongside the canal that connects the lake there to Lake Ontario. It was beautiful country, fairly flat, and I was making good time. Mostly, it reminded me of the Tennessee area, and made me homesick for some of my old permanent routes.

I was getting hungry about 30 miles in, and thought about pulling out an energy bar. For some reason, however, I thought that I would wait until I got to Waterloo and find a bakery there.

The one that I found, oddly enough, was also the one that my friends from Tennessee -- Vida Greer and Mary Beth Chawan -- had stopped at, along with the super-nice John Bayley and Pamela Blalock. John and Pamela were riding a Seven tandem, and they are easily the strongest tandem team that I have ever seen.

After a quick cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll, we headed back onto the road. We were all enjoying the laid-back pace of riding audaix style, and glad not to be battling up horribly steep hills. We even managed not to joust with the windmills.

In one of the little towns, we hit a secret control manned by Marcia Swan. She is everybody's hero on this trip, getting things signed and keeping us fully fueled. She was one of the key members of the support team on the Natchez Trace 1000K from 2010, as well.

Back out in the country, we crossed over another canal ...

... and caught up with the riders ahead of us.

We saw lots of tractors. And I mean lots of tractors.

And when we got to Lake Ontario, we saw beautiful boats.

The control at the lake was a park, and Marcia again filled us up with food and drink. Then we all rode out onto the pier ...

... and then back past the folks frolicking in the sand.

We headed south for a bit into some rolling hills, then came back north to the lake at another spot for the penultimate control. During this time, I was pretty much staying with Vida, Mary Beth, John, and Pamela, and we all ate a bunch of ice cream while watching a sailboat race.

As we were about to leave, a guy came in with an exact replica of the car that Paul LeMat's character drove in American Graffiti. If you're a George Lucas fan, you may want to take a closer look at the front license plate.

The route headed back into farm country then, along more roads that made me think of Tennessee.

That included the road where the bridge was "out." It was only out, of course, if you were not on a bicycle, and you weren't willing and able too carry that bicycle over the concrete barricades.

Somehow, we all ended up together again for the last 10 miles in to the final control in Auburn.

I was, of course, thinking of food.

We got to the hotel control just after 6 pm, and I quickly checked in, cleaned my bike, lubed my chain, removed the rack from the back, and grabbed a shower. We had 7 pm dinner reservations at a great Italian place in town, and it was a blast to have dinner with all of these extraordinary cyclists. We ate a lot of food and told outlandish stories for two hours, and then I zipped down to the grocery store to get tomorrow's breakfast.

Saturday is the last day, and it's supposed to be the toughest. Look for the blog about that adventure on Monday morning.

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