Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DROVES - 2013 - Get on Yer Bike!

My alarm alerted me that another night had passed. The hammering on the roof had finally stopped. It wasn't bright out by any means, but the ground outside wasn't white either. It was still quite chilly, so that winter jacket would come in handy yet again. I headed down stairs and fired up the coffee pot, and pulled out cereal and yogurt and coffee cake. And soon I heard the floorboards overhead start to creak as others woke up and started to stir.

David made us all envious with the smell of his wonderful asparagus omelet. And soon folks were buzzing about gathering warm clothes and rain jackets. GPS's were loaded with the route for the day and not long after we had a crowd gathered out front impatient to get moving.

John's new Seven was about to make its debut and be put to its first test. Constance Winters was busy snapping lots of photos of people circling about waiting for the start.

Cristine, Dominique, Ted, Jake, Emily and I rolled out first. John and David were heading down into town to meet Matt and Mo. We figured they would go blasting past us in short order. Constance had planned a slightly shorter option, but was quite happy to get photos first and start after we rolled out.

As usual, we left town climbing steeply with no warmup. By the time we reached the top of Darling Hill, everyone was sufficiently warm! Next up was a little climb up past the college and onto the rather incorrectly named Couture Flat. Of course compared to the long climb to Stannard Mountain, maybe it was flat. We spread out along the climb, but Ted and I rode side by side chatting away most of the way. When we first spied snow in the grass, we were delighted. Imagine our hysteria when we reached the top, with several inches on the side of the road!

Despite wearing winter boots and having much greater body mass to stay warm, Ted chose not to wait around at the top and get chilled. Wise man, that Ted. I pulled out my camera for some photos and got chilled.

The descent was properly cold, and the road was often partially blocked with trees downed by the weight of snow on the leaves. When we all regrouped at the bottom, we were ready for another climb, just so we could get warm again. Vermont did not disappoint, and soon we were climbing up a section of the Bayley-Hazen Road. And while this helped thaw us a bit, no one was stopping to peel off excess clothes. Nor was anyone interested in stopping for photos.

The shortcut had eliminated the store in Craftsbury, so we'd all brought bars and snacks to eat, although it was hard to open them with heavy gloves, and I finally suggested a very quick break so folks could ingest a few calories. The new roads past Shadow Lake were lovely. It is hard to go wrong in this area. We had nice views of several sets of wind turbines. Then we finally found a store near Wheelock, but knowing we had a brutal climb coming up immediately after, we all opted just for a quick drink. My chocolate milk was fabulous.

We did start to wonder why the others had not caught and passed us yet. We got our answer soon when John came riding toward us as we approached the next summit. Technology had failed them, and the new route had not loaded properly on any of their devices, so they decided the best way to break in John's new brakes was to descend Radar Road - after climbing it, of course.

Radar Road is gated, so no vehicles had driven on it to help melt the snow, and they had a great time making tracks through it, until it just got too heavy to maintain traction. But the new brakes proved worthy on the descent.

Upon returning to town, David and Mo grabbed their mountain bikes for some shredding in the afternoon, while John had lunch and then rode out our route in reverse to meet us and get some photos.

Constance came in shortly after we did, again glowing with excitement, and with a camera full of photos.

We had hoped to go out to our favorite local restaurant for dinner, but when we phoned for reservations, we were greeted with the bad news that it was now closed. Having no energy to cook, we eventually found pizza in Lyndonville, and then came back to the barn for ice cream and nightcaps.

Nothing quite according to plan, but what fun would that be?


  1. I've never ridden on snow, always have the feeling that it would be very slippery.

    1. This kind of stuff wasn't slippery at all. If it gets packed into ice, then it can get slippery. And of course, there was no need to sand the roads :-)