Mileage – 79 miles
With just 3 full days of riding left we are all savouring every minute and today was one of those ‘special’ days that stands out from all the other ‘special’ days that we have experienced. It was special because it was one of the prettiest rides we have had on tour. There were very few hills, the countryside was green, we passed through many pleasant villages and we spent most of the day cycling along the side of the Erie Canal. If that wasn’t enough, we had a good tailwind that blew us for most of the journey.
Leaving Herkimer and after an initial climb we were soon in the countryside and beginning to gradually lose height again as we descended to the shorelines of the Erie Canal. We passed through several small towns and villages each with their own special character. Today was a day for just ambling along, there was no need to push hard and I sensed everyone was just enjoying the final few days of tour.
As usual I cycled with Chris for a few miles and then with Mary who I met at the gas station in Nelliston. We stopped and I had a Starbucks coffee sat at the side of the kerb watching several of the other riders pass by. Setting off again, the road took us close to the shores of the canal and gently rolled along which meant that we could pedal quite comfortably whilst looking at the scenery around us. The only SAG of the day was at mile 41.2, at the top of a short incline but which provided some spectacular views. Leaving the SAG the road descended for several miles and the wind suddenly increased and for the rest of the day we enjoyed a satisfying tailwind. We soon linked up with Lois and the three of us cycled together with the remainder of the day. It’s been great fun cycling with these two, both have a great sense of humour and we have had some fun times together. We stopped at another gas station about 18 miles from home and spent a good 30 minutes just drinking Starbucks iced coffee and strawberry milk and enjoying one another’s company.
The run in to the Holiday Inn Express at Latham, just a few miles outside of Albany was hilly but we didn’t really care. Compared to the hills we had experienced during the past few weeks these hills were just bumps in the road and proved little problem to us. One thing that I did notice today however was that the NY drivers seemed less courteous that the rest of the drivers we had experienced on our journey and several vehicles passed quite close today which was a little off putting.
After showering, I nipped across the road from the hotel to Rite Aid and bought a few bits and pieces, including a Starbucks coffee and dinner tonight was at the ‘On Tap Grill’ at the hotel. It was a fun evening and likely to be the last occasion that we would eat together as Crossroads 2016. I sat close to Chuck who provided some great entertainment recounting some of the stories from the tours he had been on in 2012 and 2014.
Tomorrow is a tough day, 74 miles but with a lot of climbing – I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be fun!