Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 83: Rhinebeck, NY

Phew. Today was a hard, but good, ride. Start with total distance of 65 miles, and ascent of 2,600 feet, both numbers I haven't seen (certainly in combination) for a while. Then throw in a steady 5+ mph headwind. Welcome back to the East Coast. Lots of short and steep ups and downs.

The mileage was my own fault. In planning my route home from Albany, I thought, based on a quick pass with Google Maps, that the Rhinebeck leg would be about 55 miles. But when I dug a bit deeper (I'm afraid only last night), it was clear that the shorter mileage relied, basically, on taking Route 9 most of the way. Big shoulders, but high traffic. So I scrambled a bit, looking for alternatives last night, and came up with routes that were, respectively, 65 and 72 miles, with an additional 500 and 1,000 feet of climbing. I'm not a total glutton for punishment, so I compromised and went with the 65 mile route.

This meant that the first 15 miles or so, out of Albany, were on Route 9J, the original Google Maps route -- and it was pretty good -- not wonderfully scenic (although some good views of the Hudson and the Catskills lurking on the other side), but good shoulders (with some serious exceptions) and low traffic levels. Except for the two times, both within literally a mile of my Albany hotel, trying to get to the bridge bike path across the Hudson to Rensselaer, when I mistakenly went on highway entrance ramps and had to beat hasty, wrong way, retreats. But once I got past those snafus, and put in my time on 9J, and finally went off-road, so to speak, with the longer mileage variation, the scenery really picked up -- orchards with apple and pear trees, horse farms, corn fields (a reliable scenery staple), lakes, open fields, etc. -- and the traffic basically disappeared. Good stuff! Good enough, in fact, that I've added about 5 miles to tomorrow's route to West Point (on the Rhinebeck to Poughkeepsie leg of the route) to try to replicate the experience. Once I'm in Poughkeepsie, a route I've done a bunch of times, I can basically ride my way home blindfolded (with empty back roads galore already part of the plan).

It's probably not a secret to any of you, but I'm pretty excited about getting home!

Not so excited, however, that I would forget to give you today's route and metrics:




  1. Suzette Bradbury6:05 PM

    It has been great fun riding along vicariously on your cross-country adventure. I'm a friend of Rachel Loper's, and she put me onto your and Bob's blogs right all the way back on the other coast. It has been a treat to wake up each morning, crawl out of my comfortable and familiar bed and read about your encounters and travails in parts of the country I've never had the chance to see. I hugely admire what you and Bob have achieved. As a biker (triathlons), I've also enjoyed the maintenance tips and you've given me a new appreciation for the difference between riding on paved trails and gravel. And who knows, I may just sign up for "Women Tours" and undertake my own odyssey one day. Thanks, Roger - will miss your posts when you're back home again - maybe you could keep in touch with your followers now and again with updates on local rides, for old times sake! Best, Suzette

  2. Karen6:06 PM

    Go Roger Go! Sorry it's raining on your last day but that will make it a particularly macho arrival, I'm sure. Johnny just said "he must be ripped!" so get ready to impress your nephews. Good luck with the last part of the ride (I'm sure you'll be done by the time you read this). At least for us, it went by very quickly! We all loved checking in with your updates and watching your progress and really great photos. I hope you make an album of them....
    Karen and Steve and Joe and Johnny