After arriving in Auburn on Friday mid-day, I found a spot out of the rain in one of the park pavilions, fired up the laptop and loaded weather radar. The huge green and yellow blob that had covered most of upstate New York was moving off to the east and by afternoon the lashing rain had given way to blue skies as the remaining riders wheeled into the campground. Our little impromptu tent city, which had sprung up in Cortland, Ithaca, Glenwood Springs, Hammondsport and Geneva over the last week came to life again along the shore of Owasco Lake. Friends gathered in small groups to share stories of their soggy struggles along the road that day, fueled by cold beer and bottles of the locally grown vintages. It was a lovely last evening of this year’s Tour.
Geoff, my friend the retired AXA-Equitable executive, asked me to take a picture of him in a tent to prove to his wife that he actually was camping! At sixty-something, he consistently kicked my butt up hills all week (although he still descends like an old lady!) Maybe it is something about being a bond trader that makes him good at the slow steady ascent and likes to avoid the risks associated with quick declines.
This morning the camp emptied early as everyone was anxious to get to Cortland where they had parked their cars during the week and to get on the freeways home. Everyone was in a festive mood and I pulled out balloons and created colorful ornamentation for several bikes.
Here is the day: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/10317656
After six days of hammering, I was weary. Honestly, I started the ride dreading the hills and happy to amble along without the need to pass people or push big watts. However, after the first hour that awful feeling passed and I was back to my usual madness, ascending at 24 km/hr and blowing past the fat-tired Freds with triple cranks and mirrors attached to their handlebars. But, this last downhill came just at the right time, descending into Cortland. Dan, one of the other riders agreed with me when we finally found the perfect word.. we were “weary.”
And, as quickly as we had all come together just seven days before, the five hundred riders began to scatter. The wine buyers collected the dozens of cases of wine in the trucks, the beer drinkers polished off the remaining beer in the huge coolers and everyone loaded bikes onto bike racks, eased aching butts into car seats and drove away.
I dropped off my bike for repacking and shipping back to New York and, hopefully, it will arrive by UPS on Tuesday. A member of the Auburn Rotary, drafted to transport riders to the Syracuse Airport, dropped me off at the Holiday Inn Express. Tomorrow a flight from here to LGA and finally back home.