We thought the third annual southern tier tandem rally was even more fun than the second one because there were more tandems and it lasted two days! Rich Shapiro and Lindy Ellis graciously let 45 tandem teams invade their house for the weekend to picnic, ride and swim. Friday evening began with a wine and cheese get together. We saw familiar faces from last years event as well as lots of new folks this year. We also had a sneak preview of the routes ahead of time so we could decide which ones we might want to do. All to soon, it was off to Motel 6 where it seemed EVERYONE was staying. The sky wasn't looking too promising and it had been raining most of the afternoon. We found out afterwards, there had been a tornado spotted in nearby Corning. Well, we could dream of nice weather anyway........
Despite the drizzle Saturday morning (at least it was warm), 45 tandem teams showed up complete with buggers and trailabikes. Most teams opted for the shorter routes due to the weather. We did Hogback Heaven, a 38 mile ride and got thoroughly drenched. There comes a time when you just can't get any wetter. At least the rain stopped long enough for us to get down the hill without having to worry about the wet pavement. The couple we were riding with had a child seat on the back of their tandem, and this was one of their longest rides. The little one was a real trooper, but some tykes weren't so happy as we noticed when we got back into town and rondevouzed with the rest of the group. Even though it had stopped raining, we decided a hot shower was needed (you know, the kind where nice warm water comes out of a pipe in the wall and YOU can control the amount, length and force of the water!)
Back at the house, the picnic had already started. Part of this was our fault, because we just HAD to check out the local bike shop which was open until 3 pm. We didn't get a a chance to check it out the night before. Everyone brought a dish to pass and Rich BBQed the ribs! No lack of food here and a real variety! Even the rain let up and the rest of the afternoon was rather pleasant.
Sunday was a much better day and lots of sunscreen was needed after the fog burned off. About 32 teams rode this day, a combination of new folks and some from the previous day. A pace line of tandems is quite a sight and really motors along! So what if we missed the turn 8 miles into the ride?!?!?!? Back on course, the group broke up as soon as we hit the first and only big climb a few miles later.
Starting around 30 miles, every time we rode by an eating place I kept saying "lunch", but I guess I should have said "LUNCH!!!!!!" because my captain kept going. I thought he knew me better. Usually this kind of hint results in a response such as "baby's hungry" and we stop!!!. I wonder what went wrong this time??? (Actually we were riding with another couple and were just far enough back to make it difficult to tell them we wanted to stop for lunch.....at least that's what Brian said afterward.....My response was that they would have figured it out eventually).
The 50 mile mark (and lunch... FINALLY), was where we had to decide whether to keep going for the century or loop back and head for home. I knew I hadn't eaten soon enough and would not recover sufficiently to do the century comfortably. It was just as well, we turned back, because the wind had shifted, so instead of a nice tail wind home as anticipated, we had to fight a headwind. Better to do it for 17 miles rather than 50! We wound up with a respectable 67 miles.
After the ride, it was picnic time again, with more ribs and hot dogs. The kids and only a few of the adults ventured into the pool. The rest of us decided we had enough water on Saturday. As with all rallies, it ended too soon, but there is always next year and we'll be there!