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.
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: