Scouting Ride: Overall Synopsis of 320-Miler
The route being scouted is a 1000k (620 mile) planned ride that departs from the Quakertown, PA area and finished there, too. Normally the ride would depart from the Weisel Hostel on Richlandtown Road, but I parked my car at the Walmart on PA-309 in Quakertown. I only covered the first 320 miles of the full 620-mile course. During my first day of riding I pedaled 121 miles. On the second day I got to approximately mile 199 on the course. And by the end of the third day I had covered approximately 290 miles of the course. I got to mile 320 early in the fourth day, but decided I had to abandon trying to do the whole course at this time.
The first day had gone pretty well. Although I had broken a spoke in my rear wheel after the first 30 miles into the ride, I was able to true the wheel fine (I hadn’t brought spare spokes). However, the temperatures were high and the sun was particularly hot. I had to take a little time off the bike during the middle of the day in order to avoid the sun. I enjoyed the course, but I had ridden most of the roads before during shorter ePA brevet events. The roads at Port Jervis, NY and beyond were new to me.
I was riding my old Schwinn High Sierra bike with front and rear racks. One of the rear panniers contained a lightweight tent and a nice sleeping bag. It was at mile 121 or so that I pulled out the sleeping bag and laid it across a bench in a small school bus stop “shed” along the side of the road. No need for a roof over my head, but I had one anyway. Very peaceful night along the side of the road. Got up early the next morning to continue my ride. This second day of riding proved to be an even hotter day than the day before. Again I had to take some time off in the middle of the day to avoid overheating on the bike. There were also some larger hills to climb in and out of Controle 6 at Carbondale.
I think I have to blame the excessive heat during Day 2 for my lack of a reasonable number of miles being ridden. But then it might also have been a little bit the fault of the big climbs. In any event, I started to develop a saddle sore on Day 2 that would get much worse the following day. So far there had been no rain, and no cloud cover during the ride. Around 6 PM I called it a day when I rolled through Hartford, PA. My saddle sore had gotten worse, and I was really quite sore. There was an historic church and cemetery in Hartford that provided me a nice place to lean my bike and lay down my sleeping bag for the night. Another very peaceful night under the stars.
I was up early the next morning (my third day of riding), and it appeared the day was going to be overcast. I was excited. And I was wanting to make up some miles lost the day before. The good news was the sun never got too brutal during the day, and there weren’t any climbs to cry home about. The bad news was that as I was leaving the town of Owego, NY (kind of near Controle 8), I broke a second spoke in my rear wheel which was now compromised. I asked the locals if there was a bike shop nearby and was told I had to go back to the town of Endicott (about 12.5 miles back along my route). You have to do what you have to do. And I needed the wheel fixed or I was going to be in trouble. I lost about 3 hours of riding forward time, and put 25 miles on my legs which wasn’t really for the good of the order. Bummer. If you count my wasted miles I actually rode quite a bit this third day. Unfortunately I aggravated my saddle sore and was really doubtful I was going to be able to go on much further. That night (Thursday) I was kind of down and out and passed by the Twin Pines Motel near Monroe. I just succumbed to the pain and checked myself in. Actually it was a very nice place to stay for $70. I had a full kitchen, two beds, and a pretty good TV.
I was out and riding the next morning early. It did not take me long to get to Canton (Controle 10). But after I left that very small town I started up another hill and my saddle sore was totally keeping me from turning over the pedals. I decided very soon thereafter that I was going to abandon my scouting expedition at mile 320. I rode another 40 miles to get to a town where someone could easily pick me up, Montoursville just east of Williamstown.
See the 320-mile route at the map herein below. And click on that map to see it at RWGPS.