Star Lake to Lake Placid, NY

It was a somewhat chilly but pleasant morning as we prepared to leave Star Lake. I departed with Colleen, Molly, and Marisa. The four of us had some interesting conversations during the ride, and before we knew it, we had ridden 20 miles in what seemed like no time at all. We were joined by Matt Sheehan as we stopped to remove some of our cool weather clothes while overlooking the Oswegatchie River.

During one of the conversations I had with Marisa, I sorted out some of what having the accident and breaking my collar bone meant to me and this trip. During the first few days of the tour, I was driven by a desire to suffer. This somewhat masochistic trait seems to be common among most cyclists, although to a different degree among different people. I have talked and joked about this many times with some of my cycling friends at home, especially the ones who race. In my case, I think it was a combination of several things: the need to redeem myself in return for all of the donations I received, to feel empathy for the suffering that my father went through, and a generally misguided martyr complex. If, during my riding, I felt that I was not suffering very much, then I would just make myself pedal harder. Perhaps the crash was just the only way that fate could force me to slam on the brakes, to tell me that I had done enough, and that it was okay to enjoy myself. I would not wish an accident like this on myself again or anyone else, but it is now part of the lore and legend of this trip, part of what made the trip what it was. It gave me the opportunity to learn more first-hand about how a bike tour is run, and most importantly, I suspect that I might not have taken the time to get to know my fellow cyclists as well as I did and to make so many new good friends.

Our lunch stop today was at a park near the town of Tupper Lake. We said some more good-byes to some one-week riders, including to Kate and Dee, sisters from Minnesota. Later that afternoon, we stopped to catch our breath and enjoy the view on a bridge over Saranac Lake. In the nearby town of the same name, we stopped for ice cream. On the right-hand corner just before the ice cream shop, Colleen was nearly side-swiped by a bus. I was riding about 20 yard behind her, and as she turned the corner, the bus overtook her in the corner at the same time. As she hugged the curb, the bus came closer and closer until it was literally inches from her shoulder. I have never been more in fear for a fellow cyclist than at that moment.

As we rode into the town of Lake Placid, we stopped at the Placid Planet bike shop. They had the largest selection of socks that I have ever seen in a shop. Molly bought herself a jersey with the shop’s name and logo.

Our accomodations for tonight and tomorrow are the Lake Placid Horse Showgrounds. This is another place that the staff warned might be a little sub-par, but it turned out again to be not as bad as we had expected. There were hundreds of other people there for a lacrosse tournament. We had the option of camping, or sleeping under a shelter with a wooden floor. I considered using the shelter, but then realized that we would be exposed to the mosquitos and other insects in there, so I went ahead and set up the Wal-Mart tent. The showers were good and hot.

This being Saturday, we were on our own for dinner. Richard organized a picnic for anyone that was interested. He ordered a bunch of pizzas at a local shop, and we all gathered at a small park in town next to Mirror Lake. Since the Showgrounds were about two miles outside of town, Matt Olson called a taxi, which was a van that we ended up piling fourteen people into.

After the picnic, some of us went over to the Great Adirondack Brewing Company. Their porter was very good. Then we moved on up the street to a place called Tiffany’s. We had the place almost to ourselves for a while, but later it was overrun with lacrosse players. I walked back to the Showgrounds with Matt Sheehan, Kira, and Cameron from North Carolina, a weekly rider here with his father.

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