My First Metric Century

We’ve registered for Bon Ton Roulet, a 7-day tour of the Finger Lakes region. It’s coming up at the end of July. This will be my second tour, 2 days and 100 miles longer than last year’s .  In preparation for the tour and in addition to any commuting/fun/errand-running rides during the week, we’ve been doing a hilly 25 miles most weekends, and occasionally managing to work in a second, shorter weekend ride.

We decided to up the fitness ante by combining a visit with John’s family with a long ride along Lake George. I arrived Friday (work kept me at home a day after John left) to rain and plenty of it. Saturday was still rainy, but we caught a break in the afternoon and did an easy 17 mile ride around town. Sunday we headed out at 9:30 a.m. to Lake George for a ride that we expected would be 60-65 miles. That would be my longest ride ever, a fact that I did not dwell on. I just kept telling myself I could do it.

The day was cool and overcast, a little humid; in all, decent riding weather. We began with a few miles through town to pick up the Lake George trail, which runs through a very pretty wooded area. There’s some slight uphill grade, nothing tough. In Lake George we stopped for coffee at Cafe Vero. This is a great coffee shop, highly recommended if you are in town. From there we continued on Rte 9, stopping for late breakfast/lunch 12 miles later in Bolton Landing. That 12 miles was a little more challenging; rolling hills, with gorgeous views of  the lake, beautiful wildflowers and fun-to-look-at houses, resorts and businesses along the way. At Bolton Beans we each had an  eggs and “super potatoes” dish.  I got the veggie version and John daringly selected the Mexican. Bolton Beans gets a well-deserved 5 star rating on Yelp and has the odd motto, “We just reach for edible.” Okay, not sure just what that means!

John at Bolton Beans

As the ride progressed, the scenery remained gorgeous, the road became emptier  of car traffic and civilization was basically left behind. The rolling hills got hillier and I felt myself working harder. Here and there we  pulled over a couple of times for photo ops.

At this point in the ride something totally unexpected happened. Maybe twice a year, I get an ocular migraine. This involves visual disturbances accompanied by, in my case, mild to moderate headache. Once in a while it gets bad enough to make me lay down for 20 minutes until the worst passes and when it’s like that it usually leaves you pretty wiped out. Without warning I started getting the visual disturbances, best described as random light-filled blank spots in my field of vision. “Shit!” I thought, “This can’t be happening now!”

If I quickly take something for pain I can usually get rid of the symptoms, but neither of us was carrying anything like that. Neither was anyone else we happened upon, though one guy did offer me some jumper cables. The humor was welcome but not a headache cure! I went on, hoping it would go away or at least not get worse, since there was a total of zero stores in sight at this point. Pretty much there was nothing but trees and very lovely wetlands and lake views.

We kept going with the plan of reaching Sabbath Day Point and then turning back for the return trip. The road started being less “rolling hill” and more steep uphill. And more. And more. After a mile (perhaps), I finally downshifted all the way to granny gear, sighing “That’s a relief!” John laughed and we pushed on, rounding a curve in the road to see…steeper hill yet. I had been visualizing a flat stretch or even (oh,please) some downhill. That sight just took it out of me. We pulled over to rest and take stock. We were about 2 miles from Sabbath Day Point. Reminding ourselves that this ride was supposed to be fun and end with a feeling of accomplishment , we both thought this would be a good time to turn back.

The return trip was fairly challenging with some significant climbs. As soon as we reached Bolton Landing (i.e. stores) we made a quick stop to for pain reliever and 20 minutes later I felt much better. I made a mental note, “Always have some pain tablets in your trunk sack!!”

At one point I was in front of John and really flying  down a great downhill stretch when a large, fast-moving squirrel darted directly across my path. Who figures on having to brake for a squirrel? But if I hadn’t, we’d have collided and I’m not sure who would have gotten the worse of it!   As we returned to  Lake George Village, the terrain was easier and we were in the final ten miles of the ride. I will be honest, I was ready for this ride to be over. Each mile seemed to get longer.  The final few from Glens Falls to John’s sister’s house lasted forever!  Well it felt that way anyhow. Even with the tough finale, the ride  was fun and the sense of accomplishment was attained. We covered 63.5 miles, my longest single day ride ever.

“Ready for another 30 tomorrow?” John asked. Well. Maybe not!


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