Saturday, 17 July 2010

I Got Very Wet Today....

When I left the motel that I stayed at last night, I spotted this trike in the car park. The guy riding it walked with a stick, so I guess this is the perfect answer for those later years....





















Todays plan was to ride up Whiteface Mountain, check out the views, ride to Lake Placid and then continue further west into the Adirondacks. It didn’t go to plan!

I did get to ride up Whiteface Mountain – here is the entrance....


















I rode up behind a two bikes – a Suzuki V-Strom and a Beemer. Hmmm. That sounds a familiar combination – did Bobscoot and Sonja get all the way over here? Of course not – no yellow BMW and no black wee, but the thought was there. Wait a minute! If you combine Bob’s and Sonja’s 2 bikes, you get a Bee (Bmw and wEE) and they are yellow and black – Bob and Sonja are for all time now known as the Bee when they ride together!!

Anyhow, here are the two bikes parked alongside mine at the top.... note the cloud....




















I decided to take the lift (US = elevator) to the summit of Whiteface Mountain. I walked along the tunnel that led to the lift. The temperature inside the mountain stays a constant 41F or 6C....



















































The summit was shrouded in cloud. This is the observatory at the top....





























Here is the view looking over the edge and down the mountain!....





















This is me, posing at the summit....

















Overall, it was a bit disappointing not having a view, which I am told is spectacular. If you decide to ride (or drive) up the mountain, watch out for the bumps in the road on the way up, as they are bad. Very, very bad!

On the way to Lake Placid, which is not very far at all, it began to rain and I stopped to put on my rain gear. I stayed mainly dry for a while....

I have wanted to see Lake Placid for a while. Like a lot of people I love watching the Olympic Games, be they summer or winter. I have worked on the preparations for 2 Olympic Games, so seeing Lake Placid where the Winter Olympics took place in 1984 was a must for me.

I stopped on the road to look at the ski-jumps. This is what I wanted to see.



























One of the reasons I wanted to see it was it reminded me of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, who was a British competitor at the Calgary Games in 1988, but he trained at Lake Placid.

Compared to the other competitors at the Olympics, Eddie was not good, but his heart was in the right place and at the time, it seemed that the whole world got behind him to wish him well. He looked clumsy and had a poor technique, but he was so brave, that he was brilliant!

It is difficult to find a clip of Eddie in English, but here is one in Finnish (I think)....



If you were old enough at the time, you will remember Eddie. If you were not old enough, ask your parents about him!!

Looking up at the ski-jumps....



























Looking down from the higher tower at the lower....



























An unusual view of trees....



























Lets think of this from Eddies point of view. This is what I see from the top when preparing to jump. Gulp!....



























I have to slide down here....



























This is where I take off. When you leave here, because of the shape of the slope, you cannot see you you are going to land....



























I have to land here. Without falling over. On this gradient!!!!....






















I then slide down here, trying to keep my balance....





























Standing at the top and looking at what lay ahead, I cannot imagine what it must feel like to launch yourself off. Wow.

I have often wondered how people first learn to ski-jump. Or do tricks on skis, turning and twisting in the air. I now know – they practice jump into water....
















































I knew that just behind the ski-jump centre was John Browns grave. I remember when I was a small child growing up in London, I sang a song about John Brown, that included the lines “John Brown's body lies a-mold'ring in the grave. His soul goes marching on. Glory, Glory! Hallelujah! His soul is marching on”

I wondered if this was the same John Brown behind the ski-jump at lake Placid, so I went to have a look. Here is his grave stone (encased in glass) with his house behind. While he has a common name, I believe it is the same man. I will look up the history of this later on the web.



























As I left Mr Brown to his a-mold’ring, the skies opened and as we say in England, it rained cats and dogs. It absolutely chucked it down and after trying to shelter under some trees for a while, I realised I was getting soaked, so I got back on the bike seeking better shelter, which I found along with some other bikers....






















This was a group of guys who were mainly worked in schools and I sat with them and waited for the worst of the rain to subside. A nice bunch of guys and one of them, Joe, even offered me his house to stay at in Pennsylvania. Here they are. In case you read this guys, it was good to meet you today and I hope you have a good rest of your ride....

8 comments:

Eve said...

That's too bad the rain had to hit on this day Gary. The shots of the ski jumps are great. I would have been very nervous up on top of there. I too will have to look up John Brown...I think there is something about him way back in the recesses of my brain but just can't seem to dig it out.
I hope todays weather is better.
Ride on!

Brian Bascle said...

Hey Gary! Just got your email update today with a link to this blog. I am thrilled you are going on this adventure and will be following your exploits here. Enjoy the country and safe travels! From the looks of your map, you'll be entirely skipping over the friendliest, most beautiful part of America (the South), so you'll need to come back soon. I recommend you bike the Blue Ridge Parkway someday. And you're welcome here in Atlanta anytime! (Gorgeous bikes, by the way...) -- Brian Bascle

Chris Luhman said...

Too bad you got wet, but it looks like you still had fun. I like the photo of the tops of the trees.

Gary France said...

Eve – The rain had to come – I have been very lucky so far. This was day 24 so I have done well to last that long before getting a drenching. The ski-jumps were very high, but not scary to just stand there. However, the people that do that sport must have nerves of steel.

Brian – Hi Brian!!! I was trying to remember how many years it has been since we worked together – too many to admit to I guess! It was a tough decision what to go to on the tour and an even tougher one to decide where to leave out. The north and the west won out so sadly I will not be heading in your direction this time around. I have heard how good the Blue Ridge Parkway is, so I will have to come and ride it soon. Great to hear from you!

Chris – I actually didn’t get too wet, but I discovered my thicker riding gloves weigh a heck of a lot when you take them off after rain like that!

Brian Bascle said...

Ah well, great to have you in the States anyway! Can't wait to see your future posts; I've enjoyed reading back through what you've already done. Jane says I'm envious. Yeah, and what of it? :)

Oh by the way, years since we worked together...wait for it... 14.

Gary France said...

Brian - 14 years! I still have a copy of that picture you drew of all of us - the Last Supper picture. Tell Jane I am sorry about the envy!

Mishy Moo said...

I think I peed myself a little just looking at those ski jump pictures...YIKES! I have a whole new respect for those Olympians!

Gary France said...

Mishy - That is just a little bit too much information....