Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Day 45 - Erie, PA to Hamburg, NY
saturation point — 1. limit to scope for expansion: the point at which no more can be added; ... 2. limit to absorption: the point at which the greatest possible amount of a substance has been absorbed by a solution at a given temperature
Today I was saturated. There is a point in cycling when you can no longer get any wetter. Our ride out of Erie, PA and into New York State was possibly our wettest yet. But first, a little about our rest day in Erie, PA.
I was blessed to have an offer from my high school friend, Lori (Lalak) Lee, to drive me to Avon Lake, OH—my hometown. I hadn't been back to Avon Lake since 1988, a year after moving to Seattle. I originally hoped I could get to Avon Lake, but had decided it wasn't going to work out. Then Lori made her offer.
We drove the two hours from Erie to AL and spent the day visiting many long-time friends—Paul & Molly Dunford (longtime family friends and former Jr. High science teacher); Bob & Mary Koren (former Scoutmaster); Tom Lyman (mystery surprise guest invited by Korens and former scout leader); Dell-Ann (Schaeffer) Lewis (high school friend); Larry & Sue Johnson and Megan & Kyle Boatwright (long-time family friends); and Nick Rusinko (high school friend). We drove all around town to see what had changed and what was still the same. I was surprised by what was just like I remembered it. But, there is plenty that is new. We also enjoyed dinner with Lori, her husband Steve, and adorable boys, Camden (5) and Rylan (3). I greatly appreciate her willingness to be my chauffeur for the day!
We left Erie on wet roads and the promise of more rain to come. Unfortunately, I was woefully underdressed for a rain day. I had reached into my luggage this morning and pulled out what I thought was my pair of arm warmers. The luggage trailer was loaded and locked when I realized what I had grabbed was just one leg warmer. Add to that, I had chosen to only take my lightweight windbreaker and not my heavier, waterproof rain jacket. But at the start of the day, I wasn't worried. The weather wasn't too cool and the rain was very light.
We had some occasional views of Lake Erie, but for most of the route, homes or private retreats blocked the views from the road. We did ride through several vineyards. This corner of Pennsylvania, and even my hometown of Avon Lake, benefit from the glaciers that descended and then receded during the Ice Age to form the Great Lakes. "The glacial ridges left behind by the glaciers are the basis for ideal growing conditions for wine grapes and many fruit trees. The well-drained gravel-loam soils and the moderating effect of the lake on spring and fall temperatures combine to create the perfect growing environment for healthy vineyards and premium wines." (Chautauqua Lake Erie Wine Trail). Leigh and I stopped at the Mazza Winery. I'm not a wine connoisseur in the least, but I tried a sample of their "ice wine." It's a very sweet dessert wine that is made from dehydrated grapes cultivated in January when they are frozen and still on the vine. At about $90 a bottle, it wasn't bad!
When we left the winery, the rains had started again, falling harder now. We reached the New York state line and put on jackets. Ten miles down the road, we stopped at the Daniel Reed Memorial Pier in Barcelona, NY. There we had a great view of the lakeshore, bluffs, beach, and marina. Had the day been in the 80s or 90s, I might have taken a dip in the water. Today, I was already plenty wet and getting wetter.
Twenty miles farther, in Dunkirk, NY, was our SAG stop ("Support and Gear"), but today it was definitely a SOG stop. I was now soaked to the bone. I kept the stop short, ate a bunch of food quickly, and rode on. As I was riding through town, a man stepped out of a business, saw me riding by drenched, and gasped. I think the translation was something akin to "What the heck? That's crazy!" I couldn't agree more. But, ride on we did.
Now I just put my head down and rode. In Silver Creek, at mile 60, I went inside a Rite-Aid to use the facilities and buy a Starbucks bottled coffee. While in the restroom, I stood in front of the hot air hand dryer for about 20 cycles. That helped a bit. Until the rain started again. I rode through a portion of the Seneca Nation's Cattaraugus Native American Reservation which was largely gas stations, smoke shops, and small diners. The road had heavy traffic, mostly trucks, but was thinly populated. Lush, green Northeastern woodlands bordered both sides of the road.
I rode through the outskirts of Hamburg to find the hotel in now pouring rain. My sole concern was to not get killed by the passing cars and trucks spraying me with rain water from three-inch deep gutters and swollen storm water drains. There was probably many interesting sights to see within Hamburg. But, I didn't stop for any of them. Today was not a day for sightseeing. It was a day for endurance. And, thankfully, I endured. Once I found my room, I placed myself and all of my wet cycling clothes in the shower. I'm now clean and dry, but there's an inch of grit covering the floor of the tub. Jackets, shorts, shoes, gloves, and socks hang from our window and over the air conditioner in order to dry. I'm afraid to check the weather report for tomorrow...
Tomorrow's ride will be 95 miles to Canandaigua, NY which is on one of the Finger Lakes. If the weather is decent, it should prove to be a beautiful ride. But, I can't complain too loudly. The weather for 44 days has been near perfect.
To view photos from my rest day in Avon Lake, OH, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100466
For more photos from today's ride, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100496
For more information about the Ride for Impact, visit http://www.rideforimpact.org
Cumulative Miles: 3,426
Cumulative Flats: 5
Elev Gain: 1,688 ft.
Max Elev: 713 ft.
Avg Climb: 1%
Max Climb: 7%