Thanks to your donation and thousands of others, the 21st edition of the Ride for Life raised over $260,000 for the Southern Tier AIDS Program. On September 7, 2019, more than 300 riders circled part or all of Cayuga Lake. Tania outfitted our team, The Cats of Short Street. Hank Tepper, the cat in the middle, was too shy to wear his ears but he did the whole 102-mile route in style. It was a great day. Here’s my diary (click on the thumbnails to make the image larger).
Riding 90 miles (as Tania did) is about as challenging as a hard day of working outdoors. But if you want to enjoy the experience, you do have to spend a lot of time in the saddle beforehand. It helps to live near low-traffic county roads with gorgeous scenery. This is from our last training ride.
It was the 13th lake lap for me, 11th for Tania, and 3rd for Hank, and yes, “Why?” is a perfectly good question. The sunrise at the start of the ride is part of the answer.
Two of the biggest hills on the route happen in the first hour. Twin driveway owls at the top of the second, harder hill signal that you have made it to the top.
If you think the scenery doesn’t change from year to year, you’re not really paying attention. Cruising at 12 miles an hour encourages you to look closely.
Hank sped away from us at the starting line. At the second rest stop (mile 33), Tania and I were both feeling strong. She decided on the 90-mile loop. I wanted the full 102, so we turned our phones on to meet up later.
The scenery gets better north of the lake — another reason to do the full course. It was overcast until late morning, when the clouds started to move.
You almost always see eagles riding through the Montezuma Marsh. This year I saw Baby Big Bird. Someone had tossed him out the car window. I couldn’t just leave him there.
The football score turned out to be Maryland 63, Syracuse 20. Ouch, and hope it was a good party anyway!
A benevolent ghost watches over riders as they pull into the Seneca Falls Community Center for lunch. It’s the fourth of six stops for food and water. You can’t eat or drink too much when you’re doing this. It’s another reason to do the ride.
This year, the ghost of Sgt. “Peps” made sure that I caught up to Hank Tepper at lunch. We turned south and looked the last 40 miles in the face. This is when it turns into a job.
At mile 88, we finally caught up to Tania who, despite her diminutive stature, is a fitness monster. At mile 96, everything was going fine, and everything hurt. Mercifully, the last eight miles of the ride are on the Black Diamond rail trail, which has a steady 3 percent downhill grade.
We finished together and joined everyone for a celebratory dinner (BBQ chicken, veggie lasagna, free beer – thanks, CTB and Bandwagon!) at Stewart Park. Every year, the vibe at this party just can’t be beat. You oughta try it (info here). The rides start at just 14 miles with car shuttles, so you don’t have to be nuts like we are.
Thanks for your support! See you next year!