Road Riding from Cadence Lodge
– notes from Don
If you’re hell bent on doing the Lake Placid Ironman Loop, I won’t try to dissuade you here (I make no promises, though, regarding post-ride chats over a few cold beers). The route passes, quite literally, right in front of the Lodge. If that’s your thing, you already know the route and if you don’t there’s undoubtedly dozens of descriptions elsewhere on the innertubz (but here’s one link to MapMyRide for good measure). If you’re training for the big event, I completely get why you want to ride the route repeatedly; memorizing every little rise and dip in the road and how your “engine” reacts to them. But if you’re not training for the event and find yourself riding the loop just because you don’t know of anything else, read on as this blog is for you.
I can assure there are much better options for skinny tires right out our front door unless you think quiet back roads and sublime views of lakes and mountains or pastoral images of horse and dairy farms are a bit overrated. I know to many visiting from more urban environments, the three state highways that make up the bulk of the Ironman Loop, 73, 9 and 86, might seem relatively serene, but to those of us who live and ride here those roads are rather busy, loud and – dare I say it – not really that interesting. Yeah – we’re sort of spoiled. What can I say?
Once you leave the valleys that the three aforementioned state highways travel through though the roads tend to tilt up – sometimes abruptly. I’ve tried to give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into in the descriptions provided below. Just for ease of categorization I’ve organized the rides by distance but remember, miles traveled doesn’t tell the whole story and often leaves a lot of stuff out – so I try to fill that in here for you.
30(ish) Mile Loops
Turnpike – Black Brook Loop (Wilmington-Whiteface Race Route)
This route starts at the Four Corners – a hundred or so yards left (west) out of our parking lot. At the four way stop, take a right onto Bonnieview Road and oscillate with the rolling terrain for about 6 miles to the road’s terminus at Silver Lake Road. Take a left here and ride this remote county road for approximately 5 miles, perhaps a quarter mile or so past the left hand turn into Taylor Pond State Campground, to its intersection with Turnpike Road coming in at an angle from the right. Take a right and roll, basically downhill, through some of the prettiest scenery this ride has to offer. The broad, clean flanks of the Silver Lake Mountains loom to your left as you ride quickly down to the intersection with Goodrich Mills Road (watch the hairpins!). Take a left and roll a quick mile or so to an intersection with the unfortunately designated “Swastika Road” (don’t ask me) where you hang a right and pedal (quickly!) over to Guide Board Road. A right here and you roll along a well paved road about 4 miles past Fern Lake to St. Matthews Road on the right. Take this road about a mile to a reunion with Silver Lake Road where you turn right and climb out of the hamlet of Black Brook the mile or so to Bonnieview Road on the left which you’ll take to get back to the Lodge. This climb out of Black Brook is the longest most sustained climb you’ll do on this route but the incline, except at the very outset, is not that severe. If you want to avoid that effort, take a left on Hazelton Road while still in the hamlet of Black Brook and before you start the climb up to Bonnieview Road. This pretty road rolls about seven miles to its intersection with Route 86 in the Town of Wilmington. At that intersection take a right and ride about a 1/4 mile back to the Lodge. (Note, I’ve never ridden this route “in reverse” by taking a right on Silver Lake Road from Bonnieview Road rather than a left. My guess is that the leg breaker in that version would be on Turnpike Road climbing back up to Silver Lake Road. (If you do it, let me know how it rides at Don@CadenceLodge.com)
This route forms the core of the Wilmington-Whiteface Road Race with the Cat 1s and Pros doing as many as four of these loops (not including Bonnieview Road except on the way out and back) before climbing the two steep miles up the Whiteface Memorial Highway to the North Pole. I’m told the road tilts up to about 12 degrees along here which surely stings after the course these guys just raced around. If, for some dumb reason, you want to experience that just take a right when you get back to the four corners and start, almost immediately, flogging yourself up to the North Pole. I’ll have taken a left and coasted back the hundred or so yards to the Lodge for a bite to eat and something cold to drink. This is about a 25 mile ride with some climbing – mainly on Silver Lake Road out of Black Brook.