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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    13,143

    Finger Lakes Wine Country Tour

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    Done with Day 3 of riding.
    We started out Saturday, driving to Sharon Springs, NY, where we stayed at a kind of weird b and b. The town itself was creepy; used to be quite a few mineral baths there and it was a huge tourist place in the 1800s to 1930s. Lots of abandoned bath houses and inns, but a lot of revival, too. It rained steadily from 4 PM until we went to bed and the weather forecast for the Ithaca area looked bad. We did have an excellent Mexican food lunch in Albany.
    On Sunday we drove to the first inn on the tour, in Trumansburg. It overlooked the falls and the lake. Of course, it rained all morning. There was supposed to be a 10 mile warm up ride. The sun came out and even though more rain was on the radar, we figured we had time. Basically, it was out the door and up a 22% grade, short hill, followed by 4.5 miles of a false flat on chip sealed roads, and then turn around. I was glad we did it, as I ate with gusto at dinner!
    Day 2 was a 48.8 mile ride, which turned out to be 55 miles for DH and I. It started pouring at mile 15 or so, and we took refuge under a porch, where we stayed for 25 minutes. When we got to the next stopping place, we didn't really stop at the van, read the cue sheet wrong, hence the extra miles. We used the GPS to get to the winery, where they all had done a tasting and were eating. We had a good lunch, the rain finished, and sun came out. After lunch (of course) there was a 4.5 mile climb of "epic" proportions, at least for me. No shade, after eating, with some 15-20% grades. There were places it flattened out, but if DH hadn't been there, I might have given up. I felt like I was gonna puke at one point, so DH sprayed me with his water bottle, which revived me. There was a long straight downhill after that, a stop at the falls, and we were back. We went for a coffee, got cheese, crackers, and beer, and ate before dinner. I was ravenous.
    The people on the tour are OK. No super characters, but 2 that qualify as eccentric in my book, like the guy who uses 12 packets of sugar in his coffee. Most people brought their own bikes; and of course most are not hill climbers, so yesterday they a raced out ahead of me and DH and as Phil says, they were "shot off the back" when the hill started. Two people went ahead of us and we climbed at a steady pace of 6-8 mph with another woman.
    Today:
    Weather forecast was bad. We thought at first it would be OK in the AM and rain around 3-4. The ride was 64 miles and there were spots you could sag after 30 or 45, 55. So, we rode the first 32 miles in a drizzle or shower, it was fine. As soon as we got within one mile of Seneca Falls, it started pouring. We ate in a pub with another couple, and I was grateful, I had my shrug with me, as I was wearing sleeveless, and I had to get my rain jacket off. We thought we would abandon, but, the leader guilted us by saying our friends we came with had just taken off. It had let up, for about 5 miles and then the skies broke loose. Torrential downpour, thunder, lightning. At a turn, we saw another couple, taking refuge on a porch, so we stopped. Shoes were soaked and I was not happy. But, the rain stopped, and the sun actually peeked out.
    Then, as we were leaving, I noticed I had a flat! That's 2 in 2 weeks. DH changed it this time and off we went. The last 20 miles were beautiful, through cornfields, but the last 10 were pretty hilly, and I was done. We used the GPS to cut out the last 2 miles, riding straight into Skaneateles on the main road. It's gorgeous here, right on the lake and the hotel is awesome.
    This is a nice part of the country, and I am glad we did this tour. The riding is harder than I thought it would be, but it's a tour, not a race.
    Two more days.
    Last edited by Crankin; 08-09-2011 at 01:36 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
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    I've been to Ithaca, and it's HILLY. I always wondered whether I'd be able to make it up some of those hills. There'd probably be some crying and puking involved in my attempt. Good job, Crankin!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,645
    Yikes on the hills! Hope the weather clears up for you.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    I rode the Bon Ton Roulet a couple of weeks ago. It was great, and quite hilly. I had my bike with a compact double, but my legs would have really appreciated my other bike with a triple. I also got rained on, but it was actually kind of fun. It was blissfully cool compared to the SE US at the same time. I am not able to do wine tastings and continue on a bike, so I didn't taste any wine on the trip.

    Enjoy your ride!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,143
    I don't do wine tastings and ride, either, but it appears that we are in the minority. I might buy some wines at a store here in town, that come from the wineries we passed yesterday.
    Today's ride is 41 miles, with hills in the beginning. I ate a ton of pasta last night and didn't feel the least bit guilty! The ride is over earlier today, so we plan to do some shopping in Skaneateles, which seems like a nice place so far. We're on our own for dinner, so just made sushi reservations.
    Yesterday, a group of 3 people out of 5 were pulled over, just after we started riding after lunch, in the rain. They were screaming "we need help," but the leader was right behind me, so we just rode by. They all had flats and appeared to have no tools, or know what to do.... I think they're pissed at us, but I am not the leader here, so I don't feel bad.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
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    5,226
    There were many flats on the Bon Ton Roulet. Those NY shoulders seem to have alot of glass. Bring extra tubes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    13,143
    OK, today's ride was hard. 41 miles, with 2700 feet of climbing. The hills never stopped. It was gorgeous, we hugged the lake for a long time. There was one scary descent, though I am sure the others loved it! The sun was out, until we got to the lunch stop, which was only 9 miles from the hotel... you know what happened here. Dawdled at lunch, and at mile 8.5 to go, the skies opened up. Well, it was only a short way. The sun is out again.
    Several mechanicals today, in the group and we came back ahead of everyone except 3 people, and that's with an average of 11.9!
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    The Finger Lakes are a strange cross between pancake flat and screaming hills. I never believed it until I did the http://www.highlandercycletour.com/

    11,000 feet of climbing and 20+ percent grades.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,143
    OK, I am home.
    Our last day of riding was rain-free, and mostly rolling, no steep climbs. There were 2 hills I would consider climbs and since this was a 60 mile ride, I took it easy. The first stop was at 12 miles, where there was a tour of the Seward House, and I just got a snack and pressed on. And, it was a good thing. I had a flat after riding through gravel and DH had 2 flats, from the incredible amount of glass on the shoulder. The shoulders were wide, but on main roads for part of the time, so full of crap. I am not used to this. We ate lunch in Aurora, at a great place and called the leader and told him we were out of tubes and down to one CO2 cartridge. And people made fun of us for bringing all of these supplies! The van came by, gave us 2 tubes and we got more of our own cartridges out of our bag. After lunch we had the 1.5 mile climb and about 10 miles to King Ferry Winery. We did stop, did a tasting (I spit the wine right out) and bought a case, which the van came by and took for us. The leader said we were making good time, so we pressed on to Ithaca. Lots of downhill and through some beautiful areas of suburban homes. Then we had to ride over a brick road near Cornell, which was OK, but also down a very steep (20%) downhill right into the main part of the city... I was freaked out and wanted to walk, but DH started yelling at me to just go , use my brakes and remember my mtb skills! Yea, well there's no disc brakes on my road bike and the hill ended at a stoplight in traffic. But, I went, and riding in the city to the hotel was fine. We got cleaned up, and the leader drove the people with cars back to the original inn, where we had left them; about 20 minutes away. We went out to dinner at the Moosewood Cafe, a great experience! We sat with our friends and another couple who rode the tour on a tandem. He's a racer and super strong guy in his early 60s and she does not ride a single, at all. They were nice. As we saying goodbye to everyone (a lot of weirdness came out over the 5 days), the male half of one of the couples, who we had spent some time with, came up to me, took my hand, and told me he "had to to tell me that he loved my blue eyes," and that i was beautiful. Oy, I am getting hit on at a bike tour, with my DH right by my side . He had kind of done something a bit weird the day before, which I let roll by, but it was kind of strange... my friend (the male half) told me this guy also told him some inappropriate stuff while they were riding together.
    All in all, this was not my favorite tour, but it's the first one where I did all of the miles. The rain did put a damper on doing some of the stops and there was not as much cultural stuff as on my last trip. But, it was fine. We drove home today, stopping in West Stockbridge, in the Berkshires for lunch, in a place I have only seen while on my bike! It's nice to have the weekend to recover.
    ETA: total of 225.6 miles, with 11,000 feet of climbing in 4.5 days
    Last edited by Crankin; 08-12-2011 at 05:16 PM.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    Sounds wonderful, minus the rain, flats, and some of the hills! I'd be interested to hear what inns you stayed in since we've stayed in some of the same towns.

    We did a 9-day self-supported tour in the Finger Lakes area in 2004 and also found it extremely challenging. We'd also been there a couple of years prior (sans bikes) winery hopping and staying in a few very nice inns. Loved Skaneateles as well -- such a charming town! I really fell in love with that part of the country. We also spent some time in Ithaca (not cycling, just walking around), and it is indeed KILLER hilly.

    Thanks for posting and congratulations! It's definitely very challenging cycling. We trained LOTS in preparation for our tour there, and it was still difficult.

    P.S. We were lucky -- not a single flat for either of us on our tour!
    Emily

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    mmmm....Moosewood
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tampa, Florida Area
    Posts
    44
    I was freaked out and wanted to walk, but DH started yelling at me to just go , use my brakes and remember my mtb skills! Yea, well there's no disc brakes on my road bike and the hill ended at a stoplight in traffic.
    I went to Cornell and recognize the scary hill of which you speak. That is one scary hill! Glad you got through it all OK. Despite the weirdness.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,143
    a few pics:
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
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    1,192
    In 1985 we took the train from Baltimore to Ithaca, rode a similar route for five days and it just didn't rain - it poured! We had planned to camp and only camped the first night. Thank heavens for all the little resort cabins, We would venture into the rain and then stop about 2 or 3, find a nice cabin and spend the afternoon drying out and having a beer. I loved the scenery, could have managed with a few less hills. Would enjoy going back but having a drier ride. Sounds like you had a great time despite the rain.
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