With a recent overhaul, and adjustments (as well as upgrading the bottom bracket and front deraileur) my bike was ready. BTW, I rode my 1990 Trek 1000.
I had downloaded the course directions. I printed out copies from me and for my wife. My wife would drive along the course and stop at various places to wait for me. I had a small cooler with ice and cold pop. The weather report had predicted temps in the high 80s or low 90s, and also scatter thunder storms in the afternoon. The actual temps I think were in the high 80s.
I debated about wearing my cycling cap or the helmet. I wasn’t sure if they had a rule about wearing a helmet. I decided to be safe and just wear the helmet. I had my MP3 player for the ride (it’s legal in NY if you keep one ear clear). I listened to an audio book that I made from scanning the book Flying Scotsman by Graeme Obree about a Scottish bike racer who developed some very aerodynamic bikes and riding styles.
The website said sign in for the 50 miler was between 9-10. I arrived about 9:20ish I think, and filled out a release. I got my number which I attached to the front of my bike like I saw another guy do. I wore my tuxedo cycling jersey and got many complements. The lady offered me a print out of the course directions, and I said I already had one. She said that the one she had had emergency phone numbers. So I threw mine away, and took hers. I had it folded and in a plastic bag which I shoved in my pocket. I asked when we were supposed to leave and she said we could leave anytime. Huh? I wish I had known that so I could have gotten there right at 9am, and got started as early as possible. Oh well.
At the start
I asked which way to go to get started on the course, and she said go up and get on to the canal path, and ride to the big ramp. So I went up, got onto the canal path, and started riding. I thought she was talking about some big ramp that led up to a nearby road that the directions said the course took. But upon looking at the directions on the sheet I got from the lady, I saw they had changed the beginning of the course from the one I got online. It was only the first few miles, so my wife wouldn’t be waiting for me along that part of the course. The first pit stop was a little over 8 miles in, and I was feeling fine. So I skipped. Another rider was coming up from behind me as I skipped the pit stop. He went to the spit stop. A little while later he passed me. He was obviously a much more experience rider, on a much better bike. I found my wife on the side of the road. I stopped and got a cold Diet Pepsi. Another rider passed me and asked if I was okay. I said yeah. I can’t remember if I passed this guy later. My wife said there were a group of rider somewhere ahead of me. I was determined to catch up with them. I started riding again.
I started noticing that there were day-glo orange arrows on the road marking the turns. Way cool!
A little while later I found my wife again on the side of the road. I was feeling okay, so I told her I would catch up to her ahead somewhere. I asked about the other riders, and she said they were 10 minutes ahead. I kept pushing trying to close the gap. Finally I got the other riders in sight. I was closing in on them. Then I was on a freshing oiled and graveled road and it was very dusty, and not smooth. I had almost caught the group when I found my wife again. I grabbed a cold diet pepsi, and started riding again. I had lost a little gorund, but not much. Soon I caught the group. They were wearing nice logoed jerseys. They all had nice newer bikes, but a few were hybrids. I fell in with them briefly, but decided they were going too slow. So I went on ahead.
I soon found myself at the second pit stop. I had ridden about 28 miles at this point. Over half way there! I got some cold water, and ate a peanut butter and jam sandwich. Soon the group I had passed were at the pit stop too.
I left the pit stop, and started riding. My wife would be waiting somewhere ahead. Looking at the directions I noticed another course change from the original. Uh oh…It seemed to be a little detour that would eventually rejoin the course. I was hoping that my wife wouldn’t be waiting along the shortcutted part. I figured she would be farther ahead on Brace road anyway and I would see her when I rejoined the course.
I found an orange marking on the ground saying 50 milers only turn left. I took that turn. Soon a group of riders was coming up from behind me. These weren’t slower group, but a more experienced group on higher end bikes. They passed me going up some hills. I was getting tired now. But in a little bit I caught that group. They seemed to be waiting for something. I asked, and they said they were waiting for others to catch up. I kept going figuring these guys would pass me in a little bit. The road I was on turned into Brace road where I was expecting to find my wife. I was really looking forward to seeing her at this point. Around 37 miles, my left inner thigh started cramping just above the knee. Ouch! I got off the bike, and rubbed it. I started walking for a few minutes while the muscle relaxed. I drank some water. It was frigging hot, and the heat had been getting to me for a while. I told my wife to meet me about 4 miles ahead. I started riding again.

I finally found my wife. I got another cold Pepsi. I think I drank a Pepsi Max at this point!
Another rider passed me. I got on my bike and started riding again. I caught him in a little bit as he was taking a water break on the side of the road. He seemed to be okay. I kept going. The guy stayed on my tail a little ways back. I found my wife, told her I was fine, and told her to go another 4 miles or so.
I was approaching the 3rd and last pit stop, and decided I could use a short rest. My wife was waiting here, and I told her that I was going to stop for a bit, and to go on ahead. I stopped in. I got some water. There were some other riders already here. The other guy came in shortly after me. I mentioned to him that we were riding about the same pace, and that maybe we could ride that part together. He said it was a good idea. His rear tire was soft though. We found another rider with a pump, got his tire pumped up and we were ready to go.
The next part was a kind of steep uphill, followed by a long steady down hill. I loved the downhill. I got into a tuck, and me and the other guy (I learned his name was Tom) were just coasting down the hill. Slowly I pulled away from Tom. And when I got to the bottom of the hill, and found I was a couple hundred feet ahead of Tom. Maybe I had a better tuck?
The course was still hilly, but they were not too bad now. Tom and I caught up with another rider who was walking his bike up a hill. I asked if he was okay, and he said he was.
We caught up with my wife again, and I told her to meet me at the finish.
As we came to the next turn, I was going to go right, and Tom wanted to go left. I asked if he had the write up from online. He said he did. I told him they had changed the course, and showed him mine. He followed my lead. I found that he had skipped the detour in the middle of the course. Soon some other riders had caught up with us. But Tom and I pulled away from them in the final miles. We reached the finish about 4 and a half hours after I started. Nowhere near as fast as I thought I would do. I think if it had been cooler, I would have done better. Also there was a strong wind which for some reason was more often than not a headwind.
According to my Garmin Forerunner 305 and my bike computer, the ride was longer than 50 miles. I actually started the Garmin slightly after the beginning and it registered 54.75 miles. I am guessing I actually rode slightly over 55 miles. The short branch to the 3rd pit stop no way added that many miles! And where they said there was about 2000 feet of climbing, according to Motion Based, there was over 3000 feet of climbing.
I am really glad I didn’t do the 100 miler!!!
At the finish, I turned in my number and got some food and drink. Now I am home relaxing. First think I did when I got home was to take a shower. The second thing I did was to ice my knees. They didn’t hurt then, but they are a little sore now.
Here is a link to the data at Motion Based:
Ride map and data