Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finger Lake Tour

I hope he doesn’t point right I thought as we climbed the hill at mile 69. The right turn looked like a steep hill. Trin and I parked yesterday morning near Watkins Glen. He carried the cue sheet and navigated. I followed along and enjoyed the scenery as we rode up along the east side of Seneca Lake to camp at the top in Waterloo. It was a gorgeous day with beautiful views the entire way.We started this morning with a nice pancake breakfast donned our jackets and headed for the west side of Seneca Lake down to the Keuka Outlet trail. The Keuka outlet trail is a beautiful single track along the outlet connecting Kauka Lake to Seneca Lake.

Keauka Lake is shaped like a snake’s tongue. When we reached it we followed the bluff (the land mass between the fork) along the lakeside. There was very little traffic, the trees provided shade, and the view of the lake was prominent. At the bottom of the bluff – where the lake forks we encountered our first large climb of the day. In a little over half a mile we gained 200 ft elevation. The benefit was a gradual coast almost the entire way back out of the bluff to the top of the West fork.

Next we turned south again to follow the outer west side of the lake down to Hammondsport. It was at Hammondsport when we cut east back to Watkins glen that we encountered our largest hills of the ride. Yes, he signaled right. The first hill at the tip of Kauka bluff looked small in comparison. Each time I thought we were almost to the top it was just a turn in the road, a turn that took us higher, 500 feet higher in one and a half miles. The view was beautiful from the top. The next 17 miles would take us up and down in elevation. At mile 80 the road again seemed to stretch to heaven, our legs felt like they were in hell and our pace had slowed to the point where a snail could fly by. We stopped at the top out of exhaustion. We both drank all our water and ate the rest of our food as we gazed at the sunset reflecting off the lakes way off in a distance down on the valley floor. We still had six miles to go and it was getting dark. If the hills continued like this it could be very dark by the time we reached our car.
We hopped back on our bikes feeling refreshed. The rest of the hills didn’t seem so bad. The last three and half miles were all descent. The wind was cold as we coasted between 30 and 40 mph, but we reached Watkins Glen just after dusk. The once totaled maxima gleamed under the Wal-Mart parking light – what a beautiful sight.

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