Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Hills Take Their Toll

Heading off down Mercer Road in Rome
The legendary Hills of Rome can be punishing, but I was wondering if I was even going to see them at the start of the ride on July 7. Less than a half-mile down Mercer Road from the Rome Town Hall, my rear wheel began making some persistent clicking and pinging - upon inspection, several pairs of spokes had come loose - real loose. No spoke wrench, so I had to make some delicate tensioning with a 6" adjustable wrench - enough to get by, but I spent the rest of the ride picking the smoothest line I could find through occasionally rough pavement.

The Descent Down Wooster Hill

I wasn't so lucky on the descent that followed on Wooster Hill. My wheel held up fine, but my little trustworthy digital camera flew off, and I had to waste more time backtracking and searching for scattered pieces. After a time, I did manage to find everything and put it back together, but I couldn't get it to work for the rest of the ride. Good that I carry two cameras. Good also that my cycling companions are quite patient - and by some estimation, photogenic. (Nice modelling of the new BCM 20th anniversary jersey, Ken.)

Smooth Shoulders on Rt. 27

We emerged from the hills of Rome to a nice long downhill run on Rt. 27. With smooth pavement and wide shoulders, I could take some chances with the second camera and record some images on the descent.

Approaching Belgrade Lakes Village

We rolled into Belgrade Lakes village and stopped by the village store, where a fellow from across the street tried to sell us an aluminum boat dock and a pontoon boat to go with it (or actually, raffle tickets for the same). Yep, we were in Belgrade Lakes all right. We decided not to take a chance - hey, you might win, you know - and we headed off toward Castle Island.

Passing through the Isthmus of Castle Island

Castle Island is always a pretty spot where the road threads its way along the narrow causeway and connecting bridges between the lakes. The speed limit drops to 15 mph, however, which causes some consternation in some motorists who cannot accept going as slow as (or slower!) than cyclists. But we managed to evade the more impatient drivers and passed though without incident.

Heading back through Mount Vernon

It began to cloud up a bit as we headed back through Mount Vernon and up Watson Pond Road. We passed Blueberry Hill and French's Mountain, descending back to Rt. 27 and climbing back to Rt. 225. From there it was just a short spin back to the start at the Rome Town Hall, bringing to conclusion one of the hilliest 20-mile rides you can find anywhere.

Until Next Time - See You on the Road!

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