I’ve been wanting for some time to venture further out Blue Factory Road on my bike and see what all happened out there as you head toward Cropseyville and Grafton, but hadn’t gotten past Ives Corners before turning back. Yesterday was a gorgeous day (in fact, yesterday was THE gorgeous day), so we packed up for the beach and headed out to Grafton Lakes so the girls could play in the lake. And because my wife is very tolerant of such nonsense, I brought my bike and planned to ride back on my own (leaving her with two exhausted, sunned-out children). On the way out, I decided to detour out Blue Factory Road so I could see what I’d be getting into. And once I saw what the climb out of Cropseyville would be like, I started thinking an alternate route was in order. ( I didn’t know then, but know now, that there’s a webpage with a number of Rensselaer County climbs that would have told me exactly what I was getting into.) So while at the beach, we scoured the map for other roads, and I settled on going out to South Road, connecting to Madonna Lake Road, and then hopefully cutting off the worst of the climbs on Blue Factory Road. Brilliant.
And today, I’m still paying for that brilliance. The first 13k of a 47k ride were all uphill, and what little parts were downhill I had to take at very low speed because the roads were covered with loose gravel. At one point, the grade kicks up to 16.9%. I got off and walked a chunk because I was afraid of flipping the bike backward (no joke). But it was still better than Blue Factory, which has an average grade of 6.7% for more than 2 miles, and kicks up to 20% in one spot. (Still, the person who put the page together says it only compares to a category 3 climb in the Tour de France, one of the easier climbs.)
Also had to stop twice to reapply sunscreen (my knees were burning, baby). I think the reason they call it Madonna Lake is that there’s a house on it with a big statue of the Madonna facing the lake (no kidding). I had to stop one relatively speedy ascent because deer appeared on the side of the road and couldn’t make up their minds what they were going to do. I saw a peacock and a peahen in the road in Best, and a pack of hippies headed toward Barbersville Falls. I have never been so happy to see Poestenkill in my life, because from there on out I knew it was an easy ride.
Of course, I should have had my head busted just for the extremely unpatriotic act of riding my bike, but that’s another story.