|Date||August 6-8, 2004|
|Hosts||G.R.E.A.T.S. (Greater Rochester Eating and Tandeming Society)|
|Where||Keuka College, Keuka Park, NY|
|Who (else)||Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Jane and Paul Fialcowitz, Jim and Martha Gullo, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Barbara and Mel Kornbluh, Connie Mertens and Don Engleke, Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Tricia and Ed Troike|
ETR 2004 was held at Keuka College on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York, as it was in 1987. The area can be quite hilly with high ridges separating the various lakes. It's largely agricultural, and there are many Amish and Mennonite farms in the region.
We launched ourselves around 10 AM Friday on our projected 5+ hour drive from Summit to Keuka Park, Mapquest directions in hand, arriving around 3:30. Our biggest tie-up was the half hour it took us to get through Morris County, NJ! Once we arrived and found the registration area, we discovered that Mark Cook had planted the DOGS banner there, marking DOGS' territory as it were.
Once we checked in, we hauled our gear to our dormitory room (third floor, wouldn't you know) and settled in. Over the years since my college years, I've been amused to see the evolution of what constitutes standard equipment in a dorm room. These days, outlets for phone, Ethernet, and cable TV seem de rigueur, and there are more power outlets than in the old days. Oh, did I mention that, über-geek that I am, I anticipated the Ethernet connection and brought my laptop?
There seemed to be too little time for us to saddle up Rosie, take a ride, clean up, and be available for the planned 6 PM group dinner (Malcolm and Judy organized), so we puttered around our room and took a walk, trying fruitlessly to get an extra copy of the route slips made (we being of the two-copies-per-team faction).
At the appointed hour, about ten teams converged on The Antique Inn for dinner, including two non-DOGS teams who are long-time friends of Malcolm and Judy. We were all dressed as though it were autumn, given the gray skies and chilly temperatures (mid 60's). The dinner itself was pleasant, and noisy, and the townies probably resented our loud intrusion. Our waitress was top-notch and pleasant, managing to get all the orders distributed correctly and correctly providing separate checks to each team (without anyone's asking for them)! When you get a chance, ask Larry about DOGS socks on the table....
After dinner, Marji and I walked around some more (it's a nice campus), heading down toward the Keuka Lake shore and Neoma Point. We were surprised to discover that the water was pretty warm, not that we were going for a swim. Then we returned to the dorm, where I set about cleaning up Rosie in the lounge (I had to pass Larry's inspection) where lots of people stored their bikes. As usual, there were others hanging around kibbitzing, so it made for a pleasant interlude.
Saturday morning was partly cloudy and chilly, enough so that many of us wore an extra layer of clothing. The day's ride comprised a ride around Keuka Lake, starting with a 26 mi. ride to the Glen H. Curtiss Museum for lunch and a tour. Afterward there were several (somewhat confusing) options, of which we chose the Winery Option, adding 3 mi. and 800' of climb. The day's total was 51.7.
The ride to the museum was very pleasant (and, for some of the more... ahem... competitive DOGS, quick). The route followed the shore of Keuka Lake clockwise to Hammondsport. Given the overall terrain in the area, the riding was mercifully flat, the scenery was gorgeous, and we rode past many nice seasonal and vacation homes.
The ride back from the museum was also pretty flat, if you ignore the sustained climb on Upper Hill Rd. (What does that name tell you?) However, the view of the lake from the ridge was wonderful and worth the effort. We enjoyed the company of Dave/Susan, Larry/Brenda, and Mark/Cheryl who decided to take a somewhat more leisurely return trip. Along the way we passed quite a few wineries, this being part of the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. However, we didn't stop at any of the wineries.
Oh yes, who's Glen Curtiss, you ask? Curtiss was an inventor and aviation pioneer. Although the Wrights staged the first heavier-than-air flight, Curtiss did the first announced public one and was the first to cover over a kilometer. Like the Wrights, Curtiss began his mechanical career by building bicycles. He also built a (V8!) motorcycle that went over 136 MPH -- in 1907! The museum demonstrated the man's remarkable range of invention and engineering with a fascinating collection of machines, including flying machines, motorcycles, and bicycles. Worth a stop!
Once we returned to the dorms, Marji and I cleaned up and prepared for dinner -- by taking extended "power naps". Dinner was held under a big tent next to the Student Center and the food was, to be charitable, disappointing. Except for the brownies (though no competition for "Triple Chainring Brownies").
No doubt the organizers had different weather in mind when they planned the event. The brochure said, "There's nothing better than pans and drums on a hot summer night." And the evening's entertainment was Al St. John and the Trinidad and Tobago Steel Band. However, with temperatures in the 60's, most of us were clad in fleece, pants, jackets, and sweatshirts. And, once the band struck up, many of us found it too loud and removed ourselves to a wall 30 yds. from the tent to continue to listen. (Fogies, both old and younger!) When the band took a break, we took our leave and returned to the dorm and went to sleep.
Sunday started out bright, clear, and a bit warmer than Saturday. The scheduled event was a 41-mile ride that stopped at the Glenora Winery for lunch. Marji and I didn't feel up for 41 miles, so we decided, with Larry/Brenda and Dave/Susan, to do Friday's 27-mile ride to Weaver View Farm, because we arrived too late to do it then. We also hoped to get a bit of a jump on homebound tourist traffic, by finishing relatively early. We would skip the winery, get our own lunch, and head home.
This ride was, again, mostly flat, with one modest climb that took us to a ridge from which we could see Seneca Lake. The terrain reminded us of the area around Carlisle, PA, site of MATES 2003, with lots of farm fields and open vistas. We kept a nice pace to the Farm, which we found was closed on Sunday. (They sell crafts.) We almost zoomed past the farm, and I had to use a blast from my air horn to rescue the other two teams from sailing downhill past the farm. We turned around and headed back at a slightly slower pace, returning to the college in well under two hours total time.
Marji and I then said our goodbyes, showered, changed, packed the car, and headed home. The trip home went smoothly until we hit a big traffic tie-up because the Pennsylvania DOT, in their infinite wisdom, had I-80 under construction and therefore the eastbound road was one lane! That idiocy cost us 1/2 hour.