There was an email circulating about a ride that starts in Goshen. I had been there once. There was a lot of farmland and rolling hills. It was very pretty and I thought this ride would be similar but I was wrong.
We met in the morning in Goshen and had breakfast at the diner. I ate a big meal to fuel the ride. It was 76 miles with about 5,000 ft of elevation. After breakfast, at the lot, the ride leader handed us all a cliff bar which was very sweet of him.
The first 35 miles were somewhat flat with no major hills. The scenery was gorgeous. There were lots of farms, ponds, and open spaces. About 30 miles into the ride someone pointed to the mountains to our left and said that was where we were headed. I asked if they were messing with me. They assured me that they weren’t and that we were really going up that mountain. I told them I couldn’t go up the mountain because I’m afraid of heights. They assured me that it wasn’t at all scary.
We stopped to refill our bottles and eat the last minute gel before going up the mountain. It was a four mile climb. It was tough but doable. I kept my cadence and breathing as even as I could while riding my mentor’s wheel. Towards the top there were a couple rollers and then we climbed a short distance to the top. It was gorgeous! I made it! The guys were pretty impressed because they knew I’d never climbed long distances before and I did well. We took some pictures and then they announced that they were ready for the next mountain. I asked if they were messing with me. They assured me they weren’t messing with me and that we were climbing a second mountain.
We rode into Ellenville and stopped to eat lunch at a bakery. The choices were chicken salad or tuna. I chose the chicken salad on marble rye with a water and a cookie. I also scarfed down a gel. What made this bakery special was that we could bring our bikes in with us. Our leader had made the arrangements beforehand. I asked them what the second climb was like and they said it was pretty much like the first one. It wasn’t….
Almost immediately after the lunch stop we started up the second climb. It was straight up in the hot sun for four miles with no shade at all. There were no flats or rollers, just climbing. I had to stop towards the top under the premise of taking a picture but, really, I was cooked. I stopped again for a few seconds at some point. When we reached the top was where the shade was, go figure. I enjoyed the way down as the wind from the descent dried some of my sweat.
The rest of the ride was fairly hilly. I made to to the end having ridden strong the whole way. It was late afternoon at that point, we’d been out all day. After we got changed, we went for ice cream at an old fashioned place in town. One of the guys treated me because I did so well.
Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I went on that ride the following year. There were only three of us. I cramped up through half of that ride but finished and had the ice cream. Last year I did my absolute best. It was just the three of us again. I went up the second mountain in one shot, no stopping. I had a killer average speed of 16mph for the whole ride. Our hill climbing friend rode my wheel for half the ride which made me feel strong although I don’t think he was feeling well. We were done by mid afternoon.
Every time I go on this ride I wonder why I do this to myself. I wonder if there’s something wrong with us. I wonder if I’ll do it again this season……..