Sweat was running down my face and it was only 8 AM. Good news was I wouldn’t need a jacket. Bad news was I hadn’t started riding and I was already guzzling water trying to keep up with the long and hot day ahead. As my teammate, JB and I rolled out of beautiful Wyebrook Farm through the shady side roads we were nearly giddy with excitement about the route ahead. We knew it would be hot but you can’t help but get excited to line up for a Farm to Fork Fondo, knowing that every dozen or so miles, a farm stop was waiting for you. First it was quinoa pudding with almonds and blackberries at Wanner’s Pride-N-Joy Farm, followed up by arguably the earliest bowl of ice cream either of us had ever had at Lapp Valley Dairy Farm. We rolled out, wondering how long we should have waited to let the Black Raspberry scoop settle in our stomachs, but it was too late as we were on to the next one, enjoying the brief moments of shade along the way.
Each stop offered countless delicious treats, from cider donuts, to artisan cheese, to gazpacho, goat sliders, and more. It also offered us a chance to speak with the wonderful volunteers at each stop. We found common ground with the volunteers from Field of Hope who were raising money for families facing unexpected medical expenses, a cause near and dear to our hearts with our own charity, Team I Hate Cancer. We can’t forget the enthusiasm from the folks from Team Blue who turned Conebella Farm into an island retreat. They even had watermelon. We had been dreaming of watermelon.
We enjoyed the camaraderie of our fellow riders, who at each stop grew quieter, with the summer sun taking its toll. We met riders with whom we shared dozens of mutual friends with whom we somehow had never crossed paths. We traded stories with former NY Rangers great, Mike Richter, an avid cyclist and an ardent supporter of the outdoors. We traded supportive words with strangers as they muscled their bikes up a few of the steeper pitches. But mostly we just took in the scenery. By the time the ride was done, I was spent. JB looked fresher, and reminded me that his cocktail of 1 part energy drink and 1 part Maple Water was the key to success. I couldn’t argue with him. I hadn’t followed his regimen and I paid the price. I’ll certainly be back for more; I just hope it’s a little cooler next time.