Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Friday, June 27, 2014

Green Mountain Double Metric

The alarm goes off at 3 AM. John silences it. The room is quiet. We drag ourselves out of bed and begin the pre-ride rituals. I do love to ride my bike. I do love the long rides. But I do hate getting up at this hour.

I brush out and re-braid my hair. Then I apply sunscreen to my face and arms and slather on plenty of chamois cream. This is going to be a long day, better add some more. I check the outside temperature. It's 59F. Heavy rain fell all day yesterday and continued overnight. The dirt roads we'll be riding on today will be soft and full of mud puddles. Looking out the window, I see light drizzle under the street light. I put on my shorts, arm warmers and leg warmers.

I take a few bites of bagel and some sips of cold coffee drink.

My RoadID hangs from a chain that I wear like a necklace. My primary contact is John, but it also says, "If on tandem, call Susan". The ritual of putting on this necklace is new for me since last September, when I discovered that not all EMTs know about back pockets on cycling jerseys. I was rather lucky that my phone wasn't broken when I was thrown from the bike, since I couldn't come up with phone numbers or addresses without it! Once I explained that I was actually lying on my phone (and wallet and ID), the EMTs, who already had me strapped to the backboard, were able to retrieve the device and possibly ease some of my discomfort from lying on all that stuff. The deputies were then able to use my phone to contact my cousin. I think someone eventually would have found the card in my wallet with all John's info on it, but it likely would have taken a while longer to contact my local hosts. 

So before I got back on a bike again, I ordered a RoadID. The first few times I went through the process of hanging this thing around my neck, I thought back to that fateful day and paused... Each time I returned from a ride safely and took the necklace off to hang on hook on the bathroom door, I felt a sense of relief.  Now it has become just another part of the pre-ride ritual, after applying sunscreen and chamois cream.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DROVES 2014 - Day 3

Dirt Roads of Vermont Early Summer 2014

Photos from other DROVERS

from Steve and Carolyn
Day 1 and 2
Day 3

from Henry


Constantin arrived late Sunday night bringing yet another new set of fresh legs. But before he could climb away from all our tired legs that morning, Chef Henry cooked up some fabulous Dutch pancakes. 

The forecast for the day was classically Irish, and this one proved to be classically accurate. It was cloudy and showery and sunny and showery and sunny and cloudy and showery. Every time it started to rain, a few folks would stop and put on jackets. As it continued more people would stop and don jackets. Once everyone had stopped to put their jackets on, the rain would stop and the sun would come out. Then various folks would stop at different times to remove jackets. Once the last jacket was removed, it would start to rain again, on cue. Repeat this pattern for 6 hours and you have our day. This is classic Irish weather !

A bit grey at the barn this morning

Monday, June 9, 2014

DROVES 2014 - Day 2

Dirt Roads of Vermont with Exquisite Scenery - Day 2

We woke to brilliant sunshine, making it much easier to hop out of bed after a hard ride the day before, finished off with good food and drink and late night shuffleboard. We got the day started right with Neil's delicious Steel Cut Oats and some pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup.

Next up, Neil definitively showed off that he brought some fresh legs as he powered up the first climb and then every one after that. Fortunately for him, the exquisite scenery distracted us from knocking him down and beating those fresh legs with our pumps. 

Burke Mountain, rising above the clouds

Friday, June 6, 2014

DROVES 2014 - Day 0 and 1

Dirt Roads Of Vermont with Exquisite Scenery - DROVES-eve and Day 1

When we first started doing DROVES a few years ago, we did a point to point ride starting and ending near Ludlow, VT, with two overnights at the same inn in the Waitsfield/Warren area to allow for a middle day of unencumbered riding or even a rest day. Our initial route was inspired by the many dirt road deviations we had taken over the years on another mid-summer weekend ride in Vermont known as TOSRV-East (standing for Tour of Scenic Rural Vermont, or seemingly more often than not, Soggy Rainy Vermont and on at least one occasion Scorching Roasting Vermont). And for those for whom this acronym is familiar, yes, TOSRV-East ride was inspired by the more widely known AYH TOSRV - Tour of the Scioto River Valley. Anyway, some 30 or more years ago, the Boston chapter of AYH starting running TOSRV-East run along the 100 miles on Route 100 between Rawsonville and Waterbury, with hostels at each end of the ride. It stayed the same for many years, but a few years back, some route changes were made as various hostels closed and Route 100 got to be a bit busier, and some of the regulars just wanted to explore a bit more of Scenic Rural Vermont. John and I did the ride many times, but often would go even further off the beaten path and try out another dirt road diversion, sometimes enticing a few folks to join us, until one year when we only criss-crossed the planned route, and literally rode less than 5 miles along the official route!