Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 6 -Extremely ESAR

79mi. 6.5hrs. 37mph max. 3.1mph min.

The first 3/4 of today were stunning in every way. We rode through some spectacular countryside, past a huge horse farm, down quiet rural lanes and even directly thru the grounds of a correctional facility.

In the mix was a trip 6miles up and thru the "Gunks", pictured here behind me on the way down at 973' and the view from the bottom.

Should have known it'd get ugly when we were held back at the afternoon stop while checking the direction of a passing thunderstorm. 20min later we were riding in the rain. It rained hard and was a sloppy mess thru the afternoon hills and when the lightning kicked up again 7mi from camp, we were pulled off the road to wait a while longer on the steps of an old church - with a quite clean port-a-potty no less!

Back on the road in the rain again and trying to gear up for the last 1.75mi hill into camp but without much energy left to do it. This hill was like none I've ever climbed. Teammate Scotty noted a 23% grade at one point and it was never less than 17-19%. Jon noted that our switchback approach easily turned it into a 3mi hill and when you throw in the pouring rain and slick streets, well it's no wonder that the last 15 riders came into camp with eyes wide, mouths gaping, stripped off the wet gear and headed straight for a hot shower, grateful again for a night indoors on a soft mattress.

This was indeed the most extreme day on the ESAR and pulls a very close 2nd to my Alaska Ride Day 2 experience. But at the very toughest moments I have only to think of how much worse it could be for someone with an AIDS diagnosis and the pedals keep turning.
ESAR Day 6: Sullivan Community College - Black Rock Forest
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