Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Climbing - yikes!

A couple of nights ago, I happened to take a look at another dimension of my planned route, and it was an eye-opener:
The 3550 feet of climbing on Day One concerned me more than a little. It seemed like I could be setting myself up for failure right out of the gate. The biggest ride I've done so far this year was maybe 1500 feet of climbing, and I have yet to do any ride over 50 miles. This had all the earmarks of biting off more than I can chew, just as I did last year. So, I took yet another look at how I could make this more do-able.

As it turns out, if I were to stop in t he Essex/Willsboro area, I'd have done about 2000-2200 feet of elevation and 28-30 miles. Immediately north of Willsboro comes the biggest climb of the entire trip, followed by another smaller but significant one to Port Kent. Day Two would then need to be extended, so I'm thinking the Plattsburgh area, about 33 miles and 1880 feet of climb. From there, I'd be in good position to hit North Hero SP on Day Three, after 43 miles and only 656 feet of climbing.

Next came "Where would I stay?" There is at least one motel in Willsboro, as well as a couple of somewhat pricey B&Bs in or near Essex, but no nearby campground. At least on the New York side. If I were to buy a round-trip ferry ticket and cross over to Charlotte, VT, there's a campground within 3 miles of the ferry dock. I would also get in my ferry ride (twice!), and eliminate the "need" for the 3300-foot ferry alternative on Day Six, going straight down the east side to the Crown Point Bridge and the car. Plattsburgh has camping in Cumberland Bay State Park, as well as every motel chain in creation, so no problem there. I could also push on to Rouse's Point on Day 2 to shorten Day 3, and there are motels there as well. So I have many options.

I think that for at least the first 2-3 days to North Hero, I need to avoid making any reservations, and see how the days go. Take phone numbers along, and call ahead as things clarify to the point of knowing the day's destination. For comparison, I looked back at the 2005 Bon Ton Roulet daily ride profiles, and 5 of 6 days were over 2500', and two were well over 3000', one of those also being 69 miles. It's entirely possible that the original plan could work, but that will depend on my energy, the weather, and possibly other unknown factors. At least now I know I have options, and that's always a good thing.


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