Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Few More Late Changes

I was pulling together the cue sheets from Lake Champlain Bikeways, and I noticed that the right turn onto Highlands Road from NY22 north of Willsboro, at the top of the big climb (Day 1), resulted in the next 1.3 miles of riding being on unpaved road. I don't much care for that idea, with 110-lb tires and a full load. So there's an alternate route, which is to continue on NY22 to NY9, and thence on into Keeseville.

This route is actually a little shorter, and avoids the two final climbs to Ausable Chasm at the end of the other main route segment. The disadvantage is that NY22 continues to climb from that intersection for another 400-500 feet, making the total climb from Willsboro about 6.6 miles and 1000 feet. That's only an average 2.6% grade, comparable to but a couple of miles shorter and a couple hundred feet less elevation than the local climb up to Mariaville from the river. But it comes after doing about 30 miles and 2300 feet of climbing earlier in the day. Have to see how that goes, but this alternate looks like the better choice, with less climbing for the day overall, and a long finishing descent into Keeseville. The weather forecast is for HOT both Sunday and Monday next week, so that's another consideration. Still, I just can't imagine stopping for the day after only 30 miles, well before noon I imagine, so would rather try to manage the elevation and the heat and make it to Keeseville. Worst case, I turn around and head downhill back to Willsboro and a motel for the night.

I'm now leaning toward staying Sunday night at the DEC Crown Point Campground, rather than the private Laku Campground nearby. I still just don't have a good feeling about that place, sight unseen. Concerns about intruding on permanent residents, water and restroom availability, and the "we can probably make it work" nature of the guy's offer just aren't sitting right. And if Sunday is going to be hot, a place for a shower would also be a big plus. The Lake Champlain Visitors Center is right nearby for last-minute information gathering, Crown Point Historic Site is just across the road, and the parking for the week is free. Think I'm just going to go with my gut and choose the obvious and predictable public solution and not take a chance on the other unknown quantity. Only concern would be car vandalism, but will check into that, and also minimize the risk by a smart parking location and notes on the dash regarding "no valuables".

Given the expected heat, I'm suspending the low-sodium diet beginning this weekend and resuming a "normal" level of intake. Will also supplement the Gatorade with other stuff while riding those hot days. I SHOULD be able to do this, and if not, something needs to change in the meds and diet departments.


At 2:29 PM, Blogger TourPro said...

No way to avoid the hills from Willsboro to Ausable Chasm.

Yup, it's true.

The only paved way is to stay on 22, but the traffic is horrid and shoulders are narrow. Trust me, it really sucks. The little dirt section before Highland Rd is totally rideable with a full-load - it's pretty short and smooth. Beyond that are some fairly short and sweet leg burners. The climb really doesn't end until the intersection of Port Douglas Rd and Mace Chasm Rd. This is the official Lake Champlain Bikeways route.

If you want to avoid most of the major hills and avoid the traffic of 22, Shunpike Rd is another alternative. It starts just after the turnoff to Highlands Rd and ends just before the intersection with Rt9 and 22. The climb is more gradual, no traffic, 80% unpaved. Bring your bug dope if you want to stop.

While it is difficult and at the end of the day, I vote that you go for it! Score an ice cream in Willsboro cuz there's nothing until Keeseville, not even water.

Also, the CP campground and historic site are both excellent! The campground has accommodated me in the past for short-term bike tour parking after camping the first night. Make sure you check out the Indian sculpture by Rodin at the lighthouse.


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