Saturday August 11th marks the day I rode 115 miles on my bike. It’s the longest bike ride I have ever been on distance wise. The weather was picture perfect, blue skies, sunny, not too hot.
We started out at Catamount Family Center in Williston. There were about 50 or so riders leaving for the big ride, and we were to meet up with more along the way. at 50 and 25 miles from the finish at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.
We had a visit and pep speech form our very own Governor Douglas, and we were off at 8 am.
I’ve never been a such a large pack of riders before, but somehow I managed to get my way to the back of the first pack and hang on during the very familiar stretch of road that is Route 2 between Williston and Waterbury. Things were rolling smoothly, when my compadre Bruno suffered a flat tire just outside of Waterbury.
What a place to get a flat, not 2 miles from home.
We lost our position behind the lead pack of crushers, which included very fit individuals, and collegiate cyclists, but I guess it was for the better. I certainly couldn’t have made it at that pace.
After the first water stop, the ride turned down Route 12, where I have never ridden my bike. It is a beautiful stretch of road that winds along a river valley. There was a gentle climb for a few miles, and we were then rewarded with a screaming descent though a mountain valley next to a mountain stream. We were hauling! It exhilarating winding down the road at 40 mph in dappled sunlight.
We caught most of the lead group again at our second water stop.
The third water stop, around mile 75, was halfway up this hill that would never end, and had a beautiful lake which was tempting many riders to hop in. I would have been done in if I had taken a dip. The cramps were beginning to raise their ugly head, and I’m sure that my legs would have turned into pretzles in the cool water.
Once we crested the hill, the reward was another long downhill, where I got my “roadie” name, the G-Train. Hop aboard, we’re going fast.
(Hey, it’s better than fat ass)
It’s about the only time I can pull people with me, I lack the fitness to pull on climbs, but I can do really well on downhills and flats.
Bruno had another flat halfway down, which was actually pretty good, because I needed to stretch my legs out a bit. Right about mile 85 is when my legs cried anarchy. The ride then became about cramp management, and I had to back way down on my speed.
At mile 95, there was another waterstop where I pounded salty peanuts and grabbed a couple bags of Cliff Shot Blocks. The flavor choice was “Margarita – with Sodium”.
Those things are pretty amazing. Very easy to eat and they don’t sit in your stomach like a lump. And energy delivery at this point in the ride was almost instantaneous. We call the term “Blocking Up” now, and we have decided that a serving size is one packet, not the two per packet as stated on the label. The engine was burning everything that went into the tank at this point. Bruno pointed out that right after I Blocked Up, I had a tendency to fire the booster rockets. Kinda makes you wonder how the hard stuff like EPO works…
I passed the 100 mile mark with Mt Ascutney in full view. This is where the VT 50 will take place in September.
There was one more long uphill followed by the smoothest and swoopyest downhill before we finally finished at the Brewery. I was ready to be done, but once I Blocked Up, and the road went down, it was time to hop on the G Train more time. I finished the last section in a ludicrously short amount of time. This is where I got my top speed of 45 mph plus some.
I was expecting to feel a lot worse than I did. Don’t get me wrong, I was beat, but I thought I’d be a lot closer to death than I was. The post ride beers helped I’m sure.
I was also very surprised to find that the ride itself took Bruno and I only 6 hours and 10 minutes. I had a total elapsed time of 7:15 on my Garmin, but that included all the rest stops. Bruno had paused his computer during the breaks, but not during the flat changing. I was pretty impressed at our time.
All in all, the event was very organised and supported. The route took us through some quintessential Vermont towns. And the weather was amazing. You couldn’t ask for a better day.
And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
The Primero was a star. It did everything I asked, felt super comfortable and stable at any speed. I got to know it very well. In fact, as I write this, I’m contemplating hopping on it for a quick recovery ride…..but have made the choice to stay put on the couch, drink some beer, and watch some baseball.
Tomorrow, it’s the return of an old friend.