Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adirondack Loop - Day 4

Lake Clear to Lake Placid. 46 miles.

Today I faced my first major mountain climb while riding a fully loaded touring bike. Up to this point, the climbs were tough, but Whiteface Mountain took it up a notch, not only in altitude but distance and gradient. I was on the granny gear in front and the biggest ring in back and pulling on the shift lever begging for another. It was tough, but I made it to the top.

As hard as the climb was, the part of Whiteface Mountain I really disliked was the 3 mile steep downhill into Wilmington. I normally love downhills and scream down them with abandonment. But when riding a bike with 50+ lbs of gear, it is a hair raising experience. I applied the brakes to keep it under 40 mph and constantly scanned the road ahead for bumps, cracks and pot holes.

In Wilmington I stopped for lunch and then headed the final 10 miles to Lake Placid. That 10 mile stretch was especially scenic as it followed a river that was flowing in the opposite direction that I was traveling. So you know what that means. It was predominantly uphill the entire way.

I made to Lake Placid early afternoon. I found the hostel that I was staying in, unpacked and headed into town. After a huge dinner of NY strip steak, baked potato and a couple local beers, I walked up and down the main street until I found a small park alongside Mirror Lake. There was a crowd sitting on the hill awaiting the start of a concert. I sat among them and enjoyed some awesome bluegrass music. The food, the beer, the music, the lake, the surrounding mountains and the sunset made for a memorable moment.

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