Today we rode 79 miles from Liverpool to Little Falls. We continue to track the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, which also nearly parallels I-90 toward Albany. The route included about 1,800 feet of vertical climbing, which was challenging but not too tough. The weather got hotter during a sunny day, but it actually felt like the first true summer day I have felt in the east since we got here. Most other days have been cloudy with showers, or humid, but did not feel like “beach” days. Today did, and I am hoping that all of August stays like this so I can enjoy the beach when I get home.

I was moving along at a good pace (which means I was at the front of the pack but not pushing it too hard) when two of the leaders, who are excellent riders (one guy Jeff, who is very strong, and a female rider, who rides fast, but is not as strong as Jeff) blew by a group of 3 of us to purposefully show off. We caught up, which was not easy, and rode together to the first SAG about 5 miles away. Leaving the SAG, it was just me and the two leaders, and for the first few miles I thought “this is stupid–this is way too fast, and these guys don’t ride every day so can burn themselves out.” But then we settled into a groove of riding about 22 mph on the flats (with a bit of a tailwind), and held onto that for about 20 miles to the second SAG. We all declared “that’s enough, let’s just coast to the end,” but somehow it stayed reasonably fast for the last 20 miles as well. We got to the hotel by Noon, which Jeff declared was 30 minutes earlier than last year when he also remembered riding this segment at a very fast pace. For me, a great way to change it up a bit and make the day fly by.

Little Falls is a town with a rich history: It is in a picturesque location amongst steep hills that descend to the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal. It had importance back to Revolutionary times, and became a leader in the knitting industry and the marketing of cheese and other manufactured goods in the 1800s. The knitting mills were powered off the Mohawk River, which falls 45 feet in less than a mile, forming a number of little falls. But what is very cool about the town is that it is not “dead” today. No, it is not the same as it once was, but it is not decrepit like Fall River or Lawrence or New Bedford. It has some quaint shops and attracts tourists who want to access outdoor activities in the area while staying in a town that has dining and some cultural activities.

I went to a restored mill that had a number of shops selling “antiques” (rummage style stuff) that had a great ice cream shop as well. The mill also houses an Inn, which is run by a married gay couple. I stopped in to say hello. I relayed the info about my trip. What was not unexpected, but is probably surprising for people who don’t understand the full marriage equality landscape, is that these two guys, while legally married in New York state, are impacted by DOMA in terms of filing federal taxes, registering the business as joint owners for estate purposes etc. So, they may have a somewhat blissful existence up here running an inn, but the job isn’t finished until DOMA is repealed or struck down by Supreme Court. He took my card and wished me luck as well as promising to spread info on my ride.

Stonewall Inn in a renovated mill built in 1819