Eastern Tandem Rally 95

The 21st annual ETR attracted 200 tandem teams from 23 states plus Canada to the campus of Hobart William Smith College in Geneva. If you want to see some fancy machines, this is the place to go! Our first ETR was fantastic thanks to Chuck and Bonnie Dye. They and the committee did a terrific job!! The whole thing was extremely well organized, rides had very little traffic AND we had these terrific bright almost neon yellow jerseys with the ETR logo on them. The college staff did a great job as well. The only glitch was the weather on Saturday (of which they had no control) and the Saturday night dinner which was a bit slow in serving (not popular with a bunch of hungry cyclists) but excellent in both quantity and quality.

We couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride to the rally seeing how it was only 45 miles away, so we loaded up the bike and headed out. Actually Tim and Monica took our stuff down; we carried the dirty clothes home on Monday. Registration was to begin at 3pm, but it looked like everyone was in a hurry to get started, because when we got there at 2:30, there were already tandems everywhere! Even though the rides didn't officially start until Saturday, some folks were already out there riding. But then it WAS a real nice day..too bad we couldn't say the same for Saturday. Once we registered, found our room and showered, we spent a lot of time hanging out in the parking lot checking out bikes on top of cars. I'm not sure I like all these tandem folks having mini vans, because their bike is hiding inside, but plenty of time to check them out at lunch over the next two days. The best arrangement was the two couples who pulled in on motorcycles each pulling a hand made trailer sporting a tandem and boxes along the side to hold their gear. Something to think about when we get older?

Saturday morning we woke to drizzle. (It had been raining during the night.) At breakfast more than half the crowd was wearing their jerseys. Jackie lost Robin in the breakfast crowd. I asked what he was wearing and she said the yellow jersey. Great, we'll never find him in this sea of yellow jerseys, but she did! We gathered our rain gear to ward off evil spirits, which worked for all of 20 minutes when the sun came out, and headed out of town. Get out the sun screen, it was going to be a nice day after all!..........WRONG! We were riding with four other tandems having a great time on some wonderful roads (thanks Frank!) when about 8 miles into the ride it started to rain, then rain a little harder AND a little harder. Just as it really started coming down in buckets, we got a flat tire (front wheel). The rain continued off and on (mostly on) most of the morning, but someone up there must like us, because by the time we got to lunch, it stopped. Good thing...there's nothing harder than trying to keep your sandwich from getting soggy as you're trying to eat it yet alone make it. Good thing our friends found us when we came in to lunch because all we saw were yellow jerseys! The key phrase of the day was "Have you seen so and so? He's wearing a yellow jersey!" The post ride lunch we chose went into Clifton Springs and Phelps with a great tail wind and blue skies with lots of fluffy white clouds. We had to make sure we were back in time for the bike rodeo at 4pm. This was going to be fun!

The first event was bicycle basketball. A bucket of balls (softball size) was at each end of the parking lot with several "baskets" of varying heights scattered around between them. The stoker would grab a ball out of the bucket then drop it in the basket as they rode by. No stopping or putting a foot down. Easier said than done. OK, the low baskets were easy, just drop the ball in, but they were only worth one point. That 8 foot one was a killer, but worth 3 points. So... do you go for the points or the speed? By the way, you only had one minute to get as many points as you could and could only pick up one ball at a time. Pat Baroody won first prize in this one, but she dumped her captain for someone else to do it. She also rode with two other captains in the slalom race including stoking for Charlie Dye on the kids tandem. Pat's kind of short! The second event was the slow race. Start at one end of the course and see how slow you could get to the other end. No track stands allowed! It's not easy staying relaxed when the bike feels like its going to fall over any minute and your captain has all the controls! Former RBC member Anthony Chungbin won this one! We even made him take the child trailer off the bike first. The last event was the slalom course with some pretty tight turns, again a timed event. We won this one. Charlie and one of his stokers (he rode with several) won the kids division. More spectators than participants showed up, but it sure was a lot of fun! Dale did a great job of thinking these events up and gathering the supplies to put them together, but he kept changing the rules during the game!

At dinner Saturday night, there were clowns to entertain the children. They did a pretty good job with the adults too. As we walked into the dining hall, they greeted us and commented on how we must all be afraid of losing our mates, because we were all wearing matching outfits, even off the bikes. The Dady Brothers entertained us after dinner. Pat even got a chance to play the Irish drum with them while Vince slept. Even though it was probably past her bedtime, Emma Rakestraw (age 3) provided the dance portion of the entertainment. It must have been all the sugar packets she had for dinner!

Sunday morning was wonderful. The humidity was low, temperatures pleasant and very little wind. It was probably one of the nicest days we've had this summer! Good thing... we were headed to Cayuga Lake State Park for lunch and swimming! I think the folks who didn't wear their yellow jersey yesterday were wearing it today!

We got to the park about the same time Chuck and Rachael did. I recognized the shark fin helmet cover Chuck was wearing! We did the long ride after lunch, getting back at the college around 4pm. Unlike Friday afternoon, the place was deserted. Most everybody was packed up and gone. How depressing..... another great weekend of riding was over! We were staying until Monday so we could ride home, but it just wasn't the same without all the bikes around. While we were sitting at the Hess station in Penfield downing some orange juice on the way home, someone in a van pulled in and asked us if we were part of the group that was in Seneca Falls the day before..... Small world! Thanks again to Chuck and Bonnie for a great time! We're looking forward to next year wherever it may be!

Karen Managan (summer 1995)

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