Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 5 - Somewhere Over the Catskills (with apologies to Elizabeth)

75.4mi. 6.25hrs. 41.8mph max. 4600'vertical climbing

At 12:19AM, I was abruptly woken by such a loud explosion that I simultaneously thought a) we were under attack, b) an airplane crashed or c) a gas line exploded. Seconds later, a heavy downpour was followed by lightning and more thunder so with some relief (after returning heart to chest) I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Today's morning route followed spurs of the Delaware River in my favorite stretch of the ride which included an impromtu disco dance party across from the general store in tiny Calhoun Center shortly before lunch. Soon after, we changed course from years past and headed into territory unknown to any ESAR veteran and the real climbing began.

While yesterday held 4 long grueling hills with greater total elevation gain, today's climbs were far more numerous and many were quite steep, with grades of 14-19%. Let's just say there were about 3 instances where I was staring at what appeared to be an asphalt wall stretching another 20-50' ahead and had already used all 27 gears! We helped each other to the top by strategic gearing to maximize momentum, mind games (don't look up!), the old standby of weaving across the road, and our stellar crew urging us on with a disco beat! Those slow climbs and relaxing descents gave us plenty of time to take in the spectacular rural view, including a stop at the Woodstock farm where you'll see me doing my best imitation of Ross, Shane and Chad in their Barbie hair of the 60's.

At the end of the day everyone, even the strongest riders, agreed we had never worked harder for our dinner and a solid night's rest at the Sullivan Co. Community College. In another first, we had the option to pay $15 for a dorm bed with a bathroom down the hall. Could well be the best $15 I ever spent!
ESAR Day 5: Bear Spring Mountain- Sullivan Co. Community College, Loch Sheldrake
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