Impromptu cyclocross to Syracuse

Posted 06/24 by Ruthie BenDor

After a delicious breakfast of croissants with Yves and Mary, we loaded my bike and panniers in Mary’s car. She dropped me off in Utica, my original intended destination, where I stopped into a bike shop and picked up a replacement water bottle. I also picked up a helmet mirror to try out, but ditched it after only a few miles—couldn’t get the darn thing adjusted properly; too much fiddling for me.

I’d only gone two miles when I saw a diner, and I’m not one to pass up a diner. The young woman working the counter warned me that NY-5, which I’d been riding on, got hilly west of the diner and gave me convoluted directions on how to get back down to the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal Towpath. I smiled and said thanks, but chose to continue on route 5, opting for hills over gravel.

Good choice, self. The “hills” were gentle rollers that I barely noticed, and I made great time despite an early afternoon thunderstorm.

3-minute warning.

After the sun returned and I’d passed through Chittenango (“L. Frank Baum, The Author Of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Was Born Here!” shouted a half-dozen signs), I switched to the Canal Towpath, thinking seven miles of gravel wasn’t that big a deal, and it’d be nice to ride in the shade of passing trees. I’d failed to consider what the rain had done to the path.

Erie Canal Towpath

For the first and hopefully last time this summer, I found myself wishing I’d left cyclocross tires on Peg.

Cleanup needed

The final seventeen miles into Syracuse were a dream, and even included a few miles of bike path along a lake. Through the power of the internet, I am staying with Andy & Laurie, the parents of my friend Nick’s friend Dan, whom I’ve never met. Laurie took me out for barbeque, and to my very pleasant surprise, it was Dinosaur BBQ again! I hadn’t realized it was a chain.


Hosing off myself and the bike at the end of the day, I’d realized just how beat I was. So I decided to take the next day off, and spent Friday resting, writing, cleaning Peg, plotting my way across the rest of New York state, and hanging out with this little troublemaker:


Thanks so much for your hospitality, Laurie & Andy!

Andy and Laurie

Leave a comment