Day 52: Manchester to Portsmouth, NH

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 28-July-09

Mileage: 62 miles

Weather: Sunny and warm. Highs up into the low 90s.

Highlights of the day:

– A beautiful day for the last leg of the tour. Winds primarily out of the west, pushing us nicely towards the beach.

– A few more New Hampshire style hills. Short but with enough of a grade to challenge the riders one more day.

– Riders gathered at the Rye Junior High at mile 50. One last group photograph and opportunities to say goodbye. All riders, including the staff, were then escorted to Wallis Sands Beach by a police office. We owned the road and heard lots of cheers from passers-by, friends, and family.

– The beach ceremonies. Wheel dipping. Emptying the official water bottle containing seawater from the Pacific. Lots & lots of pictures. More hugs. More tears. And grins from ear to ear.

– The last day comes to an end. One more motel for the final luggage drop. Bikes prepped for shipping. Last dinner shared with new friends. Vans return to the ABB office. Time to go our separate ways but with a wealth of new experiences and friendships that will last a lifetime.

– Thus endeth the tour and this blog, for now. I know I leave for home planning my next ride for this summer & looking forward to doing this again next year. I don’t think I’m the only one. 🙂 Cheers!

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Day 51: Brattleboro, VT to Manchester, NH

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 27-July-09

Mileage: 84 miles

Weather: Mostly sunny and warm. Made it up into the upper 80s. Very humid. Seems summer is finally making it to New England.

Highlights of the day:

– Crossed our 12th (and final) border into our 13th (and final) state. New Hampshire. Sigh…

– The feature of this day? Hills. Some of the steepest grades we’ve hit to date. Depending on whose cycle computer you believe, Sullivan Road bumped up to 15-18%. It’s enough to make just about any cyclist sit up and take notice but with the miles these riders have on their legs – not insurmountable.

– Another feature – small towns with lots of little white buildings and churches. We’re definitely in ye olde New England.

– Our second SAG stop had a nice surprise as two alumni (one from the ’07 Challenge and one from ’08 North) provided the riders with “real” food! Homemade chicken, pasta, and fruit salads. Yum!!

– One amazing storm front blew through seconds after the last riders entered the hotel. Lighting strikes and the skies opened up just as the door closed. Deep sigh of relief from them and the staff! All safe and accounted for.

– We had our last official tour dinner. A great barbeque dinner was followed by an opportunity for everyone to talk about their tour experience. Lots of warm thoughts, hugs, and tears were shared.

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Day 50: Latham, NY to Brattleboro, VT

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 26-July-09

Mileage: 80 miles

Weather: Mostly cloudy. Winds strong out of the south. Brief showers & thunderstorms later in the afternoon.  Highs in the mid 80s.

Highlights of the day:

– Crossed the Hudson River today, seems we’ve finally made it back east. Roads were a bit rough in New York but the scenery more than made up for it. Rolling hills. Green and lush. Beautiful.

– Crossed our 11th border and into our 12th state. Vermont. Back into the mountains. Green Mountains to be exact.

– Bennington. Moose (meese?) statues. Painted moose (meese?). Van Gogh. Pirates. And even hippie. Hey, it is Vermont.

– Some nice long climbs. One to the top of Hogback Mountain. “100 mile view” of three states. Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

– A very nice descent into Brattleboro, VT. Mostly down hill for the better part of 14 miles. Non-technical. Just fun. 🙂

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Day 49: Little Falls to Latham, NY

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 25-July-09

Mileage: 76 miles

Weather: Sunny & beautiful!!! Breezy with winds out of the east. Highs in the upper 70s.

Highlights of the day:

– The weather. Lots of smiles. See above for details. I don’t think anyone will miss cleaning the bikes of grit & debris at the motel tonight. Might have more opportunities tomorrow but for now…

– The route. Rolling hills along the Erie Canal. Not quite to the Adirondacks but bumps to our left & right that seem to indicate that we’re getting closer to the eastern mountains.

– The Erie Canal. Today we were able to visit working locks & watch boats passing through along the canal. OK, so it doesn’t read as very exciting but it’s really quite interesting.

– Jumpin’ Jacks Drive In. The food stop du jour was an old fashioned drive-in that has great burgers, clam rolls (we’re getting closer-ish to the Atlantic), fries, and all kinds of ice cream based drinks. Another highlight on our health food trail.

– Bike path. A beautiful quiet bike path along the Erie Canal for the better part of the last half of the ride. Tree lined. Views of the canal. More locks. Nice.

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Day 48: Liverpool to Little Falls, NY

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 24-July-09

Mileage: 79 miles

Weather: Mostly cloudy with frequent rain showers. Winds out of the east. Highs in the mid 70s.

Highlights of the day:

– The weather wasn’t completely in our favor. The front riders were treated to wet all day long. The middle had lots of rain over the last 25 miles. Those who stopped at the sights and took their time – most of the wet was kicked up by the riders in front of them. All enjoyed cleaning lots of grit and dirt off their bikes at the motel.

– Our route followed the Erie Canal for most of the day and then took a parallel route along the NY Throughway.

– Interesting and/or fun sights of the day:
o Chatterbox Café. A restaurant that offers 20 different kinds of burgers.
o 911 Memorial in Canastota.
o Castle Greystone. Not a real castle. Originally built as an Episcopal Church back in 1909, it now functions as a banquet facility.
o The Worldest Smallest Church. Built back in 1989. It seats two people. Sits in the middle of a small pond.

– Talk has begun at route rap in reference to the end of the tour logistics. Hard to believe that we only have 4 more riding days. 🙂 or :(??

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Day 47: Canandaigua to Liverpool, NY

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 23-July-09

Mileage: 70 miles

Weather: Rainy then cloudy then rainy. Winds out of the ESE. Highs in the upper 70s.

Highlights of the day:

– A soggy start of the day with steady rain. Lots of grit. Lots of flats.

– The first part of the route followed along the top of two of the Finger Lakes. Canandaigua Lake – hidden by rain and mist. Seneca Lake – a bit grey & blended into the grey sky but viewable from Seneca Lake State Park.

– At the top of Cayuga Lake, the route went through Seneca Falls. Here riders were able to visit Women’s Rights National Historical Park & Visitors Center. Seneca Falls was home to the first Women’s Rights Convention back in 1848.

– The ice cream stop du jour was at the Red & White Creamery Café in Elbridge NY. Homemade chicken salad, burgers, and IBC cream sodas. It is all about the food.

– The route crossed paths with the Erie Canal for the first time. The canal will be a feature over the next two days. Locks. Bridges. Bike paths.

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Day 46: Hamburg to Canandaigua, NY

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 22-July-09

Mileage: 94 miles

Weather: Mostly sunny but still not too warm. Highs in the mid 70s. Winds steady and out of the east. Headwind…

Highlights of the day:

Burgwardt Pedaling History Bicycle Museum. Tucked away in Orchard Park, NY is an amazing collection of bicycles that traces the history from velocipedes to ordinaries to modern day Treks. Carl Burgwardt, owner & collector, treated riders to a 45 minutes guided tour of his collection. We were excited and fortunate to have this tour as he is actively working to sell his collection and enjoy his retirement.

– After the museum tour, we worked our way into NY farmland and then into the Finger Lakes region. Lots of rolling hills. Corn fields. Grazing land. And vineyards.

– No real long climbs but lots of repeats and a few steep ones tossed in for good measure. Total climbing was just over 4000 feet. Add in a steady headwind for most of the 94 miles and today’s ride was good challenge.

– To stave off our hunger pangs, our second SAG stop was at Tom Wahl’s. in Avon NY. A great place for floats, shakes, and burgers ala the 1950s. Health food heaven!

– Some riders enjoyed food & wine at the New York Wine & Culinary School on the shores of Canandaigua Lake.

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