Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Monday, September 13, 2010

VERY BIG HLLS, Gettysburg....and Beer.

The hills of PA riding from West to East are incredible.  I have not ever cycled these types of hills that are so steep and unending.  When I left Breezewood, PA, for Gettysburg....67 miles...the hill started immediately.  5.5 miles of climbing the first "hill"; 9.5 miles of climbing the second "hill", plus some foothills on the second hill.  Truly breathtaking..my breath, that is....and I could not pay attention to my legs, which were screaming at me, threatening to have me committed...!  As I head north out of Gettysburg tomorrow, I'm hoping for less significant hills.  I realize that I am not out of the hills yet, so I am prepared for them. 

My goal is to be in Waverly, NY, by Thursday, but I'm prepared to take an extra day, should I need it.  If that holds true, then I should be in Oneonta, NY, by Friday, where I'll spend the night, then head to my friend's camp...Clyde and Margee, where I'll spend at least one day; two, if they'll let me.

I've been riding around Gettysburg today and my legs STILL hurt.  Took the trusty steed to the Gettysburg Bicycles and Fitness shop to get my rear wheel trued again, new handlebar tape, new gloves, some long fingered gloves (the early a.m. riding is very cold on my hands), and sunglasses.  I cleaned up the drivetrain on the bicycle last night.  It was FILTHY!!  Took quite a bit of cleaning to get it remotely clean.

Found a good coffee shop, The Ragged Edge, in Gettysburg AND an Irish pub.  In between these is a house for sale that I told Eileen we needed to buy.  Both places do live music.  The pub has two sessions a month.  She could walk to both...literally steps away from the house....and play to her heart's content.  Problem:  snow, humidity, bugs, etc.  So, it will remain a dream but it would be fun.  She'd get to play her Irish music; I'd get to roam around Gettysburg for the rest of my life.

Day 34: Unionstown, PA - Jennerstown, PA.  54 miles.  HILLY, but started out good going through valleys.  So, I stopped in Ligonier, ate a pizza, talk to people about the road (Hwy 30..Lincoln Hwy).  When a person who drives a car tells me there are big hills, I believe them.  Usually, drivers think most roads are flat, so, when they say there's a hill, it usually means there is a BIG hill.  They were correct...

Day 35:  Jennerstown, PA - Breezewood, PA.  52 miles.  More hills.  Not surprised.  Spent the night there, preparing for the next day, which includes two significant climbs on the way to Gettysburg.  Rick Boyle, a friend of ours from Phoenix, told me that I should be glad that I had trained in Silver City and had to ride hills all the time.  He was right.  Can't imagine what I would have done if I'd not trained in the mountains around Silver City.

Day 36:  Breezewood, PA - Gettysburg, PA.  67 miles.  The "hills" that I had to cross over in the first 22 miles were incredible.  5.5. miles up the first one; 9.5 miles up the second one, with some foothills in front of the second one.  It remined me of climbs in Colorado.  After the second hill, I dropped down into the valley, where I spotted right away another ridge across the valley...shit.  Fortunately, that ridge was nowhere near the climb the first two had been.  I left Breezewood around 0645 and got into Gettysburg around 4pm...and headed straight for the Appalachian Brewery after checking into the motel.  Downed a stout...best liquid replacement after a ride...vitamin B, fluid, pain killer....and an intoxicant.  How can you get better than that..??  My nephew, John, arrived soon after with his friend, Nancy, and we had a few more beers and dinner.  Glad that I only had to hobble to my room from the brewpub.

Day 37: Gettysburg, PA - Duncannon, PA. 52 miles....

On Sat., 9/12/10, I walked into town.  Had an espresso and breakfast sandwich at The Ragged Edge...my nephew didn't like their cappucinos...but I liked their espressos.  The food has been very good there.  Had lunch there today (Mon, 9/13/10).  Very good, in fact.  Bought a new Ireland flag and a 69th NY Fighting Irish battle flag for our front porch.  I also discovered an Irish pub.  It is the Garyowen Pub.  Had a couple of shots of Red Breast single malt Irish whiskey and two Guinness, plus some football.  ETOH was good and the food was very good.  Had a crab cake sandwich and a SALAD.  Real greens/veggies.  Amazing...!!!

I gave several pounds of gear to my nephew to take and bring to Glens Falls when he and Nancy come up the weekend of Oct. 8th.  I will love him more every time I go up a hill.  Went to the Gettysburg Bicycles and Fitness shop.  Like most Pennslyvanians that I've met, the crew there was friendly, but a bit aloof.  Impossible to get a conversation started with them.  Got my rear wheel trued, bought some new gloves...short fingered and long fingered (cold mornings), new sunglasses that adjust to the light, new handlebar tape.  Bike feels great.

The motel that I'm staying at is on the Western side of Gettysburg where the battle actually started...where Gen. John Buford, 1st Cavalry of Maj. Gen. John Reynolds Division.  As much as Gen. Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine did to save the Union line on Day 2 at Gettysburg, the Union would have been in serious trouble if Gen Buford had not delayed the onslaught of Gen. A.P. Hill on July 1st for 2hrs.  The Union army retreated to Cemetary Ridge, which they held as Union reinforcements arrived.  Gen. Reynolds was killed in the a.m. on July 1st, as the Confederates attaked.  So, this has been all new for me to see this part of the battlefield in Gettysburg.  Love it.  I've also enjoyed walking into and through Gettysburg to see how the Union retreated and the Confederates advanced through Gettysburg.  After Gen. Reynolds was killed, command fell to Gen. Abner Doubleday, who, in turn, was replaced by Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock on Gen. George Meade's orders despite Gen. Doubleday being the senior officer on the field.  In the future, I'll be back to take a few courses at the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College and spend more time walking this battlefield.

Enough for now...Civil War Music