Recce Ride

[Ridden on Sep 12, 2020]

With a week to go for the 200K BRM, I still had not done a long ride. So I decide to ride the first 64km or so of the brevet route. The plan was to reach the first control at Farmington, and then ride back on Boughton Hill Road to Honeoye Falls and then on to Clover St. The total would make it around 100km. Not an ideal distance -- it would have been better to have ridden some 150km or 200km by then, but time has been in short supply.

Reaching Plank Road

Most of my rides have been in the evening, so setting out early for a recce is hard. I eventually make it out around 10AM. I'm starting the recce about 10 miles or so into the brevet on Plank Road. The route I take to Plank Road is one of my favorites -- Ellison Park. I quickly hit Blossom Road, and descend very quickly into the valley. At the other end, I climb up, not so quickly, and reach Creek St. Now, it's a nearly straight, slight incline all the way to Plank Road.

Plank Road

Before asphalt roads were common, "plank roads" were a minor industry. Although it is now asphalt, Plank Road at one time was constructed out of planks. The ride on Plank Road is short, but the elevation profile shows a steady incline, and all through my heart rate is higher than the speed I'm riding at would justify.

Traffic gets thinner, but I encounter a large bunch of parked cars and a hive of activity at Schutt's Apple Farm. On the other side of the road is the first apple farm I have seen. Visitors can pick their own apples from dwarf apple trees. NY is the second largest producer of apples in the US, and the brevet runs through Wayne County which is the largest producer of apples in NY. It is apple season, and I expect to see lots more orchards like this on the brevet.

To Farmington

After Plank Road, there's a short series of twisty roads to maintain the shortest route. It starts with a short trip on Schoolhouse Road and then goes past some farms and pastures. I am now on a mostly rural road and dogs are unleashed. A Golden decides to chase after me but doesn't leave its yard. I hit Tiffany Road, and immediately start a short climb adjacent to a quarry. At the end of the climb is Atlantic Avenue out of Rochester, and across it is an almost straight ride to the Farmington Road.

Straight does not mean flat, and there are a couple of climbs en route. The one I will remember most is the one just south of Macedon Center, where a long descent is followed by a short, steep climb. I plan to use my momentum from the descent to climb it, but the climb is a tad too far for that. I'm surprised at my lower-than-expected speed when I hit the climb, and midway through it, I run out of gearing and dismount to walk the rest of the way.

Next is a short trip on Victor Road before a left on to Farmington Road. I also overlook this left, and end up continuing on Victor Road. But I lose only a few minutes since I realize my mistake quickly and backtrack.

Farmington is where all my FedEx packages come from, so it's finally nice to visit it. It's no surprise, really, it's situated very close to the NY State Thruway. I ride over the Thruway, past a ditch full of cattails, and catch my breath just outside Farmington. I've begun experiencing what I call "fading", where I start slowing down and need frequent rest stops. It usually occurs about 2 hours into the ride. Early on, I realized that drinking a sports drink helped delay the symptoms, and while I'm drinking a mix of apple juice and water made up to 6% sugar, I've still not figured out why I "fade".

I move into town and reach the intersection where the control is placed, and head for the Subway I see for lunch. I've taken 3 hours to ride about 51km. Just barely above the required brevet average pace. As I wait for my food, I top up my water bottles that are still quite full. It is perhaps not surprising, that I then discover that I am severely dehydrated. I rehydrate while I eat my sandwich, and plan to drink more frequently.

As I leave, another customer sees my bike and remarks that it is a very nice day for a ride. That, it is.

Boughton Hill Road

County Road 41, or Boughton Hill Road is part of the brevet route, but not in the direction I'm headed. From my reading of the elevation profile, on the brevet the climbs end near Farmington. On the recce ride, however, the biggest climb is still ahead. The climb is short, but steep, and I reach the top barely avoiding a side stitch (presumably from the still digesting sandwich). I crest the climb, rest, and start on the longest downhill on the route.

I am now riding west to east, which means enduring drumlins. As I'm struggling on these "tiny" climbs, I pass the aptly named Drumlin Farm. Road signs and the landscape I pass remind me that I've ridden a small portion of this road on the RBC ride last month. I pass Tomlinson Corner's cemetery, a historic one with relevance to some religions born in this region. I pause to take a picture of the landscape at the top of a climb. It's not fall yet, and the undulations of the land are hidden by the foliage. The yellow is from Goldenrod flowers that are everywhere.

View of foliage in valley

I cross NY64, and the character of Boughton Hill Road changes significantly. The road shrinks, the shoulder reduces, and the traffic is much lower. I am also feeling less fatigued and am riding more continuously. I attribute it to "flatter" roads, but I'm also climbing faster now. I am vexed with my performance.

Honeoye Falls

I enter Honeoye Falls from the west and ignore the cue that bypasses the town. Honeoye Falls is a small village and I don't want to skip the ride by the falls it is named for that is situated right in the middle of the village:

Honeoye Falls

Today, I even get to see an antique car drive past:

Antique Car

Soon I'm out and on NY65 aka Clover St which is also a designated bike route. Heading north on a route I've ridden before, Clover is all downhill except for a few hills just out of Honeoye Falls and at Mendon Ponds. I'm now riding faster as I try to make it within the time limit (7-ish hours for a 100K).

I quickly reach the intersection with Jefferson, and a rider on a hybrid catches past me. Having ridden in Bangalore, I don't prejudge people by their bikes, and indeed this is a very strong rider. I ride behind, and the downhills help keep me close, but this rider pedals continuously -- up the hill and down the hill.

When I catch up with him at the signal at Monroe, he is a bit surprised but compliments me on being a "strong rider". I certainly am, especially on downhills! We chat a bit -- he's been riding against the wind on Clover the whole morning. I tell him about my 100K ride. As the signal changes, he rides off and I miss the next signal while he goes through. I don't see him again.

I hit NY96 and soon I hit the stop button -- I've done 99.82km in 5hrs, 21minutes of riding time! I celebrate with ice cream, and am surprised that I'm not feeling very fatigued. Reviewing the ride data later, I see I took 6 hrs 44 minutes in total, which means I barely made it. This is a stark reality check, but there is little I can do about it in one week.

I also realize that while I ran out of gearing on the climb near Macedon Center, I could have climbed out of the saddle! With that, I look forward to the actual brevet next week.