Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Vermonster 2017 - Day 2

Vermonster continues, now with 8 riders. Dave and Nancy planned to join us for one day. They had just returned from a tour in Japan, and had literally reassembled their bikes the night before. Injury had prevented Nancy from riding last year, but this year she planned to take advantage of her fitness from the recent tour.

Daniel joined Kait and Caleb on the train up Friday night. They had a mild evening to enjoy a short but hilly ride from Montpelier up to Waitsfield.

The route profile for the roads John, Jamie and I took from Burlington looked pretty benign, meaning we all had relatively fresh legs.

But now we would face some proper (SadiB) Vermonster terrain, rolling up and down along a ridge, before a climb to the highest elevation for the weekend, then a long fast descent followed by some choppy climbs to finish the day. Now I am allowed to say this, today, a month and a half after the trip. At least we had better weather than last year! So  folks could enjoy the magnificent views along the ridge, and have fun playing with cute farm animals.

This section of the route was suggested by Dave. It was a bit rougher than the pristine dirt roads SadiB had picked, but it served to properly break in Daniel's brand new bike. When you have a new bike, you need a good story for the first scratch.


The contrast between this year and last year was pretty remarkable. I think I prefer the bluebird skies and warm temperatures.

This farm has featured on many of my routes in Vermont. No one can ever just ride by it without stopping to check out the babies. This year we spotted dozens of kittens, baby lambs and pigs, ducks, geese, alpacas and goats.

Hey, where's the snow? When we reached the gap and I announced it was time to bundle up, this meant put on your wind vest, as opposed to put on every bit on clothing you've got with you! I think Kait really enjoyed the descent this time around.

Lunch in Bethel was at the same café as last year, but with much less drama. We asked the proprietor if he remembered us, a group of frozen wet cyclists asking for soup. In contrast, cold drinks were popular this time.

We rolled up and down a few choppy hills before a long descent into Woodstock, where we filled Caleb's panniers with beer. Josh and Jenny were hosting us for the night and had planned a cookout and said we should not bring anything, but we hate showing up empty-handed.

Now I've joked before that all my Vermont friends live on top of mountains, and it is true. We had a good steep climb to end the day, but then we were rewarded with beer and cheese and sausages and pie. It turned out it was Josh's birthday. His brother and sister-in-law joined us for a proper party atmosphere. Afterwards, we filled every bed and sofa in the place and tried not to have nightmares about the 9000 foot day coming up tomorrow.

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