Lake Desolation

Such a misnomer. I wonder if it was named "Lake Desolation" to keep the curious away. Didn't stop me. I left Saratoga Springs this morning after delaying my ride a half hour to allow a thunder storm to pass by and made my way along rolling countryside until I got to the bottom of the climb in Middle Grove.

On the way up, along with the clicking sound I've been chasing for weeks in my drive train, I started hearing an ominous "thunk" as I climbed. Hrm, I wonder how tight that front skewer is. Dismount, tighten skewer, sound gone. Phew.

27 minutes later I arrived at Lake Desolation. I was 4.5 miles further and 993 feet higher in elevation than when I started.

Initially, it looked pretty desolate:

But pedaling a bit further, I discovered the lake was actually quite nice:

Well that was so good, I figured I'd try it again. I turned around and headed down, looking forward to the possibility of a 50+mph descent, but the sudden fingernail-on-blackboard screeching sound coming from the rear end of my bike had me braking to a stop to see if I had something stuck between my chainstays and the rear tire.

Nothing. So, I continued down but the sound reappeared when I got up to 45 mph again. Stop. Think.

Could my REAR skewer be too tight? It certainly was: I could barely get it open. My flat-induced frustration must have given me some Hulk-strength yesterday as I remounted the wheel. Loosen skewer, and continue - no more screech.

Passed a couple of cyclists making their way up and thought: there's something to chase for the second climb. At the post office, I turned around and went hunting for them. More familiar with the turns and rises along the way, it certainly felt like I was going faster, but about 1/3 of the way from the top, one of the two was already on his way back down.

At the summit the second time, there was no sign of the other rider, who evidently continued on (there's a nice loop that goes this way). So I turned around and started to think about coffee.

On the way down this time, I did manage to break the 50mph barrier (according to Strava) and got back to Saratoga Springs in time to enjoy another tasty latté at Uncommon Grounds followed up by some delicious pie served by my hosts:

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