Today was a great days riding through some beautiful scenery.
Things didn't start out too well though.
I had breakfast ordered the minute the pub opened for business and was then on the road by about 7.30.
From the very beginning there was a constant rain which I optimistically believed would clear up in no time.
Unfortunately it went on for several hours. By the time it let off I was soaked through.
Actually, I was soaked after only about a 1/4 mile of riding. A 4x4 overtook me and drove through a massive puddle which gave me my 2nd shower of the day. I just laughed to myself - That's the way it's going to be today I thought. Better to get fully saturated within a few minutes instead of dragging things out.
I stopped after about 25 miles to try and warm up over a coffee. I was actually worried the diner wouldn't let me in, I was that wet. But they were very nice and didn't look twice at the state I was in.
I didn't rush it but by the time I started riding again the rain had stopped :). I changed my socks which were squelching and continued on.
The aronidondacks, airyduckbaps, adirondacks are really stunning. With every mile of riding things just get better. For the majority of the time I'm riding through dense trees but quite often it opens up to a beautiful lake, river or view of rolling hills covered in thick trees. It's almost rainforest-like. Lots of fantastic small villages and camps are interspersed throughout. There must be so many properties hidden away.
It also seems that with every extra mile things get more and more hilly. Sometimes it's just gentle rolling but then you hit a massive steep hill that goes on forever. It's like western Kansas on steroids.
I'm really enjoying the challenge of climbs and feeling fully fit again. I'm getting a buzz out of caning the riding for 10 miles or so having already ridden 70 or 80.
Admittedly I might increase my pace of riding when I start thinking about bears eating me but quite often it's a choice not borne out of fear.
The adirondack region apparently has a healthy population of bears. I also saw a sign saying there were Moose on the loose. I would have LOVED to have seen either but unfortunately I didn't today.
At the same time I was also worried about seeing a bear too closely. As the trees closed in and traffic reduced to 1 car every 30+ minutes I did feel very isolated.
I wondered how close I could actually be to a bear. Despite wanting to meet one I turned my music up to full volume to minimise the chances of a surprise!
I feel like I got over a big hurdle today. The east coast could be reached in only a couple of hundred miles. Very exciting.
I managed 86.4 miles today, in 8 hours 36 minutes, climbing a total of 4,540 ft