It is 95 F here in Albany NY, with a humidity level of at least 50%. Yes it is just a scorcher. I hung my ridding shorts on the fence to dry after I washed them out and they were dry in under 20 minutes. This isn't a record. The record is 99 F. However it is 15 F above the average. So I guess that pretty much settles that it is hot.
Albany is the state capital for New York and has a long history going back to the 1600's when English and Dutch settlers first arrived in the area. Albany is closely associated with Schenectady which is only a few miles away. Schenectady is where Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and the home of GE. GE had hundreds of manufacturing plants in the local area, and at one time employed 40,ooo and now employ 4000. Looking at some quick census data I see that the 2000 population of Albany was just over 95K in 2000 and in 2006 the population was just over 95K so it looks relatively stable here. This is probably due to the state government being located here. The architecture is quite varied from ultra-modern to early brown stone. I think that it looks like a good place to make a trip though.
Today's ride was relatively short at 72 miles and had only 1500 feet of elevation so we started late much to several people's chagrin as they (myself included) wanted to out of the heat as soon as possible. At 8:00 we were off and riding. The first stop was at around the 15 mile mark were Tom E and I explored a fortified settlement that was build out of local limestone in 1750. Fort Flock had been restored and was open for tours. I believe the name came from the early dutch settler saying "Flock it" (unfortunately I didn't get an exact interpretation). We passed on the tour but took a few photos and sped off. About 20 miles out Tom and a group of other riders were stopped at a construction site but the Surly and I did a little off roading and went around the construction. Tom caught me at the 25 mile mark where Tracy was pouring ice water on me. Icy, but refreshing. At the rest stop I talked to several riders about finding a swimming hole and it was agreed that at around the 50 mile mark start looking. I zoomed ahead on a mission. At the 51 mile mark the road crossed the railroad tracks and so the road was right beside the Erie Barge canal. I saw a sign that said "Lock 9" so I ducked down the road. Sure enough there was a park right there with a sandy beach (well OK it was a little muddy). Moments later Tom E and Ray came around a the bend and we were off for a refreshing plunge. The water felt great and we had a great time. Getting back on the bikes emphasised how hot it was. With 19 miles left it was going to be easy. Then 5 miles later Tom spots the perfect patio for lunch. The three of us stopped but before long there was 8 of us sitting there. Poor Randy had two flats already and as we were sitting there one of his tire let go with a startling bang. The next 5 miles though Schenectady was slow but then it was down to 10. We were glad to get into the air conditioning but what a great day. Exploring, having fun and enjoying the whole adventure. I even managed to get a great bike ride in! 72 miles at 16.8 mph and ride time of 4:17
Today's picture is Ray and myself in the canal. The water was so refreshing and the place was absolutely picture perfect. The sound of the water coming though the spill way on the dam filled air. The lock for lifting the boats around the dam is just off the left of the picture. Although we played in the water for 30-40 minutes I could have spent the whole afternoon paddling around.