Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

DROVES 2015 - Day 1

For many years now, we have spent Memorial Day weekend ascending and descending the many exquisite dirt roads of Vermont. This year would be no exception.

Megatron, The Barn cat, has to inspect everything.

We've been staying at the Burke Bike Barn since it opened in 2011. The first time we stayed, we fell in love with the place. So much so, that I booked it for Memorial Day and Labor Day for life. I'm not sure that Doug, the owner, thought I was serious at first, but we've been going up for these dirty climb-fest weekends at the beginning and end of summer ever since, and we aren't about to give up our reservation for the future.

The Bike Barn is exactly what it says it is. It's a big old barn that's been converted to comfortable accommodation for cyclists in the center of one of the best biking locations on the planet. We usually have a dozen folks staying at the barn, with frequent drop-ins for rides by folks who live or are staying nearby. At this stage, it all works like clockwork. We have a few routes, covering a variety of distances. Depending on weather, mood and other arbitrary factors, we will decide which route to do. The one thing all the routes have in common is lots of smooth-packed, quiet dirt roads and maximal climbing per mile. These are quality miles, such that even a 30 mile ride will not leave any sane person wanting more.

We have great potluck meals, along with a serious sampling of craft beers. It is not a weekend to be missed.

This year, we had the slight monkey wrench that I'm just not as strong as I'd like to be. But thanks to Captain John and EPO-Orange (the big Orange Co-Motion tandem), I could enjoy all the rides. I am starting to think that activity is the best thing to combat feeling bad. I've actually increased my activity level after each treatment, and each subsequent treatment has been better. 

For the first day, we headed north to Lake Willoughby. Traditionally, since it's a shorter ride, this has been our Monday ride. It's a gorgeous but seriously challenging ride, and many folks have missed it by leaving early, so we decided to do it first this year.

We woke to freezing temperatures, literally. With a short ride planned, we were able to stall a while to let the frost melt. Around 10AM, we all bundled up in the warmest clothing we'd brought and headed north. It never warmed up, but sunshine made up for the crisp temperatures. Down vests were appreciated at lunch and on the descents. Beginning of summer, eh?

We had a high smile-per-mile ratio.

Lake Willoughby awaits.

Whatever goes up must also go down!

Megatron welcomes us back to The Barn.

Once back, those who really hadn't had enough, headed back out to climb Burke Mountain and catch sight of the last on this winter's snow, along with the great views from the top on a clear day.

That's Willoughby Gap in the distance.

The climb up the fire tower added insult to injury!

Don't look down!


1 comment:

  1. Great rides and a friendly cat. Who could ask for more?