Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 20, Tuesday. Heading South over the Adirondacks Ausable Chasm to Whitehall, NY

I love my bike, I love my bike!!  Today I am so thankful that Harold could install my derailleur, that it is working well, and that I have an extra small granny gear suggested by Alger bike shop prior to 2008 Sea to Sea.  Apparently new bikes have only 2 rings in the front, I have three.  We knew that today would be one of the hardest with lots of hills.   Mary, Claire, and I left shortly after 6:30.  It was another clear and cool morning and we were ready for the challenge.  The first 20 miles had roads with smooth surfaces and rolling hills, including some granny gear hills.  The down hills here were fantastic.  There was little traffic, so we could take the lane and ride down without using brakes.  It was great fun!  We came to a very long hill up, and Claire's chain came off so she stopped for repair.  Mary went ahead and we did not see her until we arrived at camp.  We stopped in Westport with Betty B for coffee and a cherry turnover.  Soon after that, we had a big challenge.  There was a very steep hill up to Port Henry.  Some report it was a 15% grade!  There were lots of cyclists walking their bikes up.  It was very tempting to get off the bike, but when I took a good look at the walkers, they were also working hard to get up the hill.  With the help of our granny gears, both Claire and I managed to stay on our bikes and cycle up.   When we arrived at the top of that hill feeling good, we saw road markings indicating that we needed to turn left and another longer, steep hill.  Apparently that was a 12% grade.  We just kept pushing and pulling on our pedals until we reached the top.  There was a SAG stop soon and we were relieved to get off the bike. 
The hills continued along with beautiful vistas of the sparkling waters of Lake Champlain.   By the time we had cycled 60 miles, we were tired and ready to be done.  However, it was an 82 mile day, so we needed to keep going.  We did take another break at McDonalds and enjoyed the air conditioning.  The road was now smooth and had  wide shoulders.  We soon discovered that if there was an extra lane going up hill, it was going to be a difficult climb.  We came across a sign that said steep down hill next 1 1/2 miles.  That was just what we needed.  A fast and long down hill creates exhilaration bringing a willingness to continue. The temperature was getting very warm and we were very tired.  We decided to stop every 10 miles for a break.  Somehow we managed to keep going and we arrived at a Marina in Whitehall about 3:30.  What a relief to be in camp!!  We set up our tents, took a shower, and crashed.   Phil called late that afternoon to ask me to save him some supper.  He and Barb were still marking roads!  He arrived just as the Peloton meeting started at 7:30.  He was tired too.  There were no small group meetings so that everyone could get their tired bodies to bed!  We were sleeping by 9 PM.
82.1 miles, 5236 feet of climbing 11.6 average speed. 

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