This has been in the works for a while. I don’t want to take up too much time as you all have a lot of reading to do here. Rodger has an opening ramble then introduces us to the whole crew. Rob added his two cents worth and Xyxax wrote a perfect final report so don’t stop until you read his. I had a report from Tim that gmail has hidden from me. Damn you gmail! I’ve added some captions in the photo album and Steamy has given me a few more as yet to be added. Maybe we can put some names to faces.
These nut cases rode too many kilometers, we owe them the time to read the report.
yours in Cycling, Gianni
It’s been said before but it bears repeating. There is one profession Frank and the Keepers will never succeed at. Dealing cards at any casino in Vegas. Ok, so maybe no one has ever said that. Regardless, Frank and the Keepers house does not win. It never even shows aces to which they collect insurance on a lost bet. No, the winners are those that sit down at their tables. Split kings, get two aces in return. That’s how life is when you’re a guest of Frank & Co. Scotch sir? Yes. 3 fingers. Thank you. To date, they have orchestrated a perfect string of Cogals. Those are freakishly good odds. Even better than internet dating.
Looking back at older articles, little if any feedback was left, with but a few reaching double digit replies. A handful of times I’ve even seen them with abysmal responses, hovering around my SAT score of 4-ish. It’s not for lack of genius and honesty, it just took a while to engage and bring out the hundreds of posts we see today. African elephants have a gestation period on average of 660 days, human babies around 260. Surely, as the Velominati is Frank’s lovechild, he too took great time and care in raising his dot com up properly. The point is, greatness does not happen overnight, is oft under-appreciated, and at worst misunderstood entirely (The Rules anyone?). Such are the pains of wanting to share your passion with the world. For this, we all thank you fine gentlemen.
The Connection Is Made
Ever see that episode of Springer where he’s (running for mayor) has a few strangers on the stage and they are waiting on a piece of paper to be delivered by the big bald security guy? While the audience is silent and big Steve walks out, the guests on stage get even more nervous until BAM! Jerry announces that they are brothers! The audience goes nuts while the (now) brothers are worked into a frenzy of sobs, tears and hugs. What we’ve just witnessed is brothas from anotha motha realize they have a connection outside of what’s written on that piece of paper. And so to, thirteen times over, did all the Cogal attendees come to the same conclusion over two spendid days in Vermont and Massachusetts.
What Rhymes With “Bad Idea”
Success comes with a slogan, a jingle, something easy to remember and even easier to share with your friends. The premise is doing 200+ miles (321km) north to south on Vermont’s Route 100. Unfortunately for us and you the readers, we are not in marketing or advertising. Being the simpletons we are, the Cogal was dubbed “2much on 100”. It lacks charm, warmth, sex appeal, wit, even clarity. What it wouldn’t lack is the absolutely perfect group of strangers to tackle it with and make it a reality. Oh no, this wasn’t your brother in-law’s pyramid scheme. This was one Buck Rogers, trying to convince other nutjobs that it was indeed a great idea, and more should join in. We all know a con when we see it, but this was different. Afterall, some stranger on the internet told us so. Easy peasy.
With Great Lists, Come Great Laughs
The Lexicon highlights all that is serious, and alternatively all that is silly about cycling. For every Velominati present, a Pedalwan. Hypnotically Magnificent Strokes while I myself managed to pedal in figure 8’s, go figure. Razor sharp tans to incidental tri-bands. I’ll see your Black widows and raise you White ladies. Our contingent had it all, brought it all, and we shared it all. Oddly, stroopvvafels failed to make an appearance. But I did munch on these bits from Trader Joes, similar to stroopvvafels, but most definitely NOT sharing anything other than a loose connection in name only. Foregoing the traditional “ooohs” and “aaahs” that preclude the riding, we had to see each other’s steeds whilst grinding out the km’s. Getting up with the roosters at 4am to eat and sort ourselves and gear/nutrition out didn’t leave us with much time to point out Rule violations. Truth be told, if you showed up to the Cogal, one could trump any rule violation with massive amounts of Rule V. And that’s all there was to it.
While we may have suffered, it was nothing compared to what Hurricane Irene left behind for the residents of Vermont. There were towns scattered along the route that took an absolute beating. Foundations washed out, sidewalks buckled up, landslides wiping out entire hillsides, multiple bridges tossed down the once gentle streams. Everything many of these folks ever knew or relied upon was gone in a matter of days. Being that I can not save the world, what I could do was stop in to general stores and family shops to grab food and drink rather than call up the SAG. I could not put a price on the 2much Cogal, and for everything I was to take away from the trip, there’s no way I would be able to put that amount of money back into their communities even if I bought up every last bag of maple syrup beef jerky. This was my small token of gratitude. This was my way of saying thank you for the memories. Thank you for the resilience you show by sticking it out in tough times. Thank you for giving me plenty of room on the shoulders while I slowly absorb all your state has to offer. Thank you for ringing the cowbell as you pass by us. It was ugly, busted windows and barns being propped up by re-purposed lumber, but it served a purpose. I’d like to think that as ugly and unspectacular as my cycling was after 200km, it served a purpose, though extremely less romantic in scale.
Poetry Is Not Dead
The likes of Dickinson, Frost, Hemingway, Geisel. What could they share with Merckx, Voight, Coppi, the Velominati? One could draw parallels until blue in the face. We have rhythm, timing, form, visual presentation, and the list goes on ad. nauseum. English poet Christopher Logue succinctly wrote “poetry cannot be defined, only experienced.” Taking liberties without completely ruining the effect, cycling and poetry could arguably be interchanged with nary a change in meaning. Pen to paper, legs to pedals, the process is maddening, and our own results, glorious.
@2000dB, @Sparky, Tim
This trio upon entrance into the restaurant seemed to have surely stumbled into the wrong place. 2000dB and Sparky looked like they would be more apt to have a poster of Kim Kardashian than Eddy Merckx. That is to say both looked very young, and perhaps they dared each other to do the ride in study hall, right before lunch period. 2000dB’s father and Tim are wonderful friends, with Sparky and 2000dB best of friends. Tim would be Doc Brown, and 2000dB would naturally be Marty McFly. If the Delorean was running, Tim would be going back to the past to tell 2000dB how much suffering was ahead and try to talk him out of it. Tim drove the boys down from Montreal, and did one bang up job as a SAG driver. Had he told me he was a director for a cycling team up north, I’d have believed it. We speak of cycling sensei‘s, but what 2000dB and Sparky had was an honest to goodness Life Sensei. Envious of that, I am. Had he known The Rules, I’m sure he’d have caught the white bib shorts transgression. Violations be danged, these boys rode hard. They pushed on the front for the 60km and made it easier for all of us to get into a rhythm. We did separate down the line, and when I joined back up with them, was only able to make conversation for a bit before I lost their wheel. Don’t be fooled if you ever run into these guys in Montreal, they’ll rip your legs off and be kind enough to sew them back on for you.
Fantastic name, only half accurate. The captain is an incredibly intelligent individual. When I learned of his profession and what brought him across the pond, I was struck with that deer in the headlights expression. Perhaps it was the fact we had a long day in store for us, but my feeble mind could not comprehend much other than “wow, he’s really smart, and fast. Maybe I should fall back so I don’t sound so infantile in conversation.” I was still shocked at a comment he made while we loaded up at Porches. While all us regular joes put spare wheels in the van, Captain Kidders carries over his wheels in some nice bags. Supposedly, bike shops give away wheel bags in much the same manner as shops in the states give away bidons. Curse your great swag and wonderful accent!
When you hear Gentle Giant, don’t think of the moving company, think of xyxax. He had possibly the earliest start on Wednesday, taking a train from NYC to Jersey, prior to meeting us at Porches. @Cal swung by his place earlier in the week and was transporting his bicycle for him, Merckx bless him. When we loaded his Gunnar into the utility van, there might have been 2 inches to spare between his saddle and the ceiling. The amount of seatpost showing is longer than my…left arm. Make no mistake, it is a big bicycle, for a big cyclist, with big heart. Xyxax carries a sense of calm with him no matter the situation. There’s no nervousness or urgency, but one is assured the task at hand will get done before you expect it. That’s no surprise given his field of work. Never ruffled, never roused. Extremely insightful and with large reserves of V, it is only fitting he is my Rule V nominee. Incredibly kind to a fault, he is the charming gentleman you want at every Cogal, or dinner party. When I would ask the SAG drivers how xyxax was doing and if he was in good spirits, they’d report back that he was still on the road, and coming along nicely. Of course he was.
He’s not on the forum, but did email me a few weeks prior asking if he could join in. I’m never one to turn down good company and gladly welcomed him along. I remember his biggest concern was that the Velominati were all these pretentious d-bags. Not having any solid evidence to the contrary, I simply said “we’ll find out”. Suffice it to say, the “d” word never came up again. Kurt rode on the front taking long pulls. He’s small in stature much like myself and the Montreal duo, but man can he go. On the drive back to Boston, I learned he had a tube that exploded shooting the tire off the bead. That woke him up I’m sure. He does some racing so knows how to push himself to the edge, crack, and recover, and do it all over again. Handy skills to have on a Cogal like this. Due to some extra time on his hands on Friday, he decided to take a spin up Mount Greylock, just because it was close by and after completing over 340kms, he wasn’t quite tired enough to sit around and lounge.
I’m always amazed at folks like Spags. When you’re in his company, you eat humble pie. He has so much going for him, yet he never speaks to you in a condescending manner, or even tells you what he’s got on his plate lest he appear braggadocio. Spags is training for some quadruple Ironman or something equally as crazy, and it shows in spades. I was lucky early on and got into a 4 man paceline amongst him, @Tim, and @Buck Rogers. When he’d pull, we’d crank right along at 41kph. He’s on the front, effortless, as if he were on a stationary watching Saturday morning cartoons. Spags is such a great wheel to sit on, I’d often feel guilty for how easy he made it for all of us. When we hit the first little climb out of Waterbury, those 3 took off with ease, and I was back in reality. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. That would be the last I saw of them until back at Porches. If you do decide to race motorcycles Spags, take it easy on everyone. At least let them think they have a chance at winning before you drop the hammer. And thanks for the extra hand. After he came off the front, I needed a quick bite or I’d burn up down the road sooner than expected. While I tried to tear open the wrapper and still stay on a wheel, here came Spags with a guiding hand on my back to make sure I didnt fall off. You see the photo thousands of times, but until it happens to you, you’ll never really appreciate that situation.
If sitting in on Spags pulling wasn’t fun enough, I also had the huge pleasure of being 3rd wheel behind Tim (Popeye’s brother) when he was on the front. He’d carry us along over flats and rollers with nary a change in cadence. I’d see out of my peripheral that we were buzzing along around 43kph or so with little to no effort. The 16km we did together were incredible. The road literally disappeared and no unnecessary energy was expended. Tim is old school cool to boot. Great kit, magnificent stroke, and a culinary wizard. The rice cakes he prepared pulled me out of the darkness a few times. If there were 100 Tim’s at your disposal, one could likely conquer the modern world. Careful when you shake hands, it might be my delicate digits, but he’s got the grip of a gorilla. I wish I could expand on Tim’s qualities, but he was too fast for me.
We had two Charles in the group. A Chuck, and a Chip. I did all I could to try and remember their names correctly to little avail. This Charles met us at rendezvous spot #2, South Burlington, VT. As luck would have it, his dear wife also had reason to be in the Northeast Kingdom, so it was hard for him not to get strangled into this. First glance at Chuck and you see a rock star. Shaved head, goatee, a man large and in charge. He’ll likely smack me around for telling all ya, but he is as comfortable in the saddle as he is at quilting conventions. Just a few days before this Cogal, he did the Savage Century down in Delaware and from his Strava recording, it was a beast of a route. Lucky for him, he’s been turned onto Sportlegs. It looks suspect when we are at a small town general store buying maple beef jerky and he pulls the little ziplock of white pills out, but they seem to do the trick. We leapfrogged eachother throughout the day, and somewhere along the lines of me stopping to take pictures and him all hopped up on magic pills, took off for good and did a good bit of cycling in the dark with no lights and no glasses or contacts. He was dedicated to seeing it through, and when Lady Luck told him he pressed on long enough, he obliged and bid the mountains farewell. In the real world he plays a Solutions Architect. If he didn’t see the problem with this crazy ride back in January, I can only hope he brushes up on his guitar licks. Or his quilting skills.
Another duo of excellence coming all the way from Pennsylvania. QC and his father Marty really put on a show for everyone. We share the same sarcastic sense of humor, which was evident while we walked into the restaurant. Here we were 1.6km from the Canadian border out in no man’s land, and he was mentioning Japanese cuisine and how likely it is to be on the menu. Not many others were able to hear this gem of a joke, but I knew immediately we’d get along like a song. I underestimated the number of people who would show up, and were over the Inn’s capacity by 4 people. Marty was incredibly gracious and found another bar/restaurant/inn up the street a few miles and took care of a room for myself and Buck. It was kind beyond words, and we are both thankful for the generosity Marty. Come Thursday, the trio of Matt, Marty, and Tim were operating like the real deal. Marty would position himself at tricky intersections or upcoming turns, pointing and waving us all in the correct direction. This sort of guidance went on all day long. I’d learn later Marty would get to areas that were deceptive in length, and cheer the guys on giving them a sense of false reprieve. Clever and effective. Mental warfare at its finest. Coincidentally, many of us had a bit of Quattro Creep gracing our faces. Not in that way. He did work with the hinges on our sunnies. For training, he’d do about 2 club rides and then go off solo each day over the weekend. It was evident in the way he handled himself and his bicycle. Smooth operator, this one.
I could go on and on about Buck, but I’m sure many others have, so I’ll recap a few moments we had together. First, I think he rope-a-doped us. He had a knee issue after doing Paris-Roubaix and was doubtful he could do the Cogal. Last minute he changed his mind and come Thursday, proceeded to diagnose and properly prescribed himself massive amounts of out of the saddle climbing. That seemed to have kept the pain away until Friday, whereupon he awoke to basketball sized knees. By way of good chance, I was able to be a guest of Buck’s. Steampunk needed to get back to Canadia, so I drove a bit after the Cogal, and switched with Buck, who drove the remainder. Buck’s wife, Merckx bless her as well, didn’t bat an eye when the 3 of us wandered in at 0330. I promptly passed out and awoke to the VMH preparing bacon and pancakes. The best maple syrup in the land also found its way onto my plate. While Steampunk carried on a dialogue with Buck’s wife, I found myself much more at home playing with his 5, yes 5, fantastic kids. One of the little boys brought out his tackle box full of fishing lures and shared his story of the fish he’s caught so far this summer. Needless to say, he’s only one fish behind Buck. Not too shabby when daddy won’t let them use the good spinner baits. Buck has his hands full, but he also has insane amounts of energy. If anyone is prepared to bring up 5 kids, keep his VMH happy, and jet-set across the world, it’s Buck.
Yet another clever ploy to disguise his material self. There is nothing punk about Steamy. On the contrary, he is a well respected academic in a field I know little of. He speaks in a very thoughtful manner, and I do not think he’s capable of a negative thought. Throughout our two days together, it was never about him. He would surge up front and let us know what was happening in the rear, and likewise he’d drop back and keep a paternal eye on the goings on. As they say, timing is everything and Steamy delivered at such an awkward occasion, it has to be brought up. Chip was doubled over with tightening muscles, and standing behind him was Steamy. As Chip is relishing in his pain, Steamy asks if he can help him pull anything. Innuendos aside, it was just the comic relief I needed before the sun set and I’d be at the mercy of the star filled night sky. I also was gifted a Domestique cycling cap and a bottle of vino. It goes without saying Steampunk is a class act through and through, both on and off the bike.
The jury is out what MJ really does. It’s also uncertain if he’s related to Mother Teresa. This guy, unable to ride the Cogal with us, stepped up and volunteered to drive the sag. I kid you not, by the time I returned the van on Friday, we had racked up some 2,253kms.
That means in layman’s terms, MJ was EVERYWHERE! Such a wonderful and selfless person, MJ was upset not because he couldn’t do the ride, but because he wasn’t able to receive cell phone reception in spots of Vermont, and worried there might be Velominati out there that needed his help. I punctured pretty early on after bombing through the pothole laden beginnings of Rt 100. Kid you not, I put my hand in the air, looked back, and there was MJ running towards me with a spare wheel. I couldn’t make this stuff up. He was on the ball. Without the trio of SAG support we all received, this Cogal would have an entirely different tone to it. I guarantee it. We were all blown away. Plus, he didn’t crash my van and also gave me back my debit card having only charged 1 endless tank of gas, and 3 stops at strip clubs. Yes, he’s that trustworthy.
Somewhere along the lines the conversation turned to Stroopvvafels. If there was any 1 person to blame this on, it was Cal. So passionate and debatable were these little syrup filled pancakes, that @frank himself unleashed a fury on their Trader Joe’s counterparts. If memory serves correctly, and likely I’m wrong, but Cal and Captain Kidders are professional colleagues. I’d make a wager that whatever time they spent chit-chatting over the watercooler prior to Thursday drops considerably from this day forward. The fastest way to workplace animosity isn’t talking politics, but to invite them along to a Cogal. Being the caring and sharing person he is, Cal also did the transport of xyxax’s steed. Clearly he knows the way of the Cogal, he came prepared for the Bus, cooler and ice in tow. Regarding his wheels, man those things even sound mean. Every time he’d pass me, a cacophony of whizzing and hissing would precede him. The last I saw of him, he went and pulled a Seattle Cogal move, flying by off the road, kicking up dirt, gravel, and cow poo.
If I had a daughter, I’d want her to marry Rob. Not a guy like Rob, but the one and only Rob. Having read a few articles on him by Gianni, it was like meeting a legend. Leaving the steel back home, Rob was trying out a Colnago from his shop that was thought to be a good match for him. I made a comment on how lovely a frame it was, and inquired as to the model. Rob, in that smooth as butter, panties dropping voice of his, simply said he did not know, but that it fits him well and he enjoyed it on the last ride. Had any other person told me this, I’d immediately think he was a tool and too good to remember such information. But when it comes from Rob, you begin to understand it’s not about the marquee name splashed on the tubes, or the Campagnolo gruppo she was adorned with. The bike fit. Period. Rob is going to be fast on anything. We sat opposite each other over dinner and had great conversation over Boston, bicycle lanes, everything. He is a fascinating story-teller and his eyes light up to this day over his insane journey through the carbon monoxide heaven known as the Callahan Tunnel. Rob isn’t all talk however. The guy can put down serious power for great lengths of time. For a moment, Rob, @canuckchuck, and myself worked our way through the valleys. He had lost time due to a puncture and subsequently lost touch of the main group. After a quick food stop, he made it clear that he was going to catch them one way or another. We would rotate through and after a bit my legs just didn’t want to keep up. Rob was on the front and I looked up to him on my pull and waved him on, telling him I wasn’t able to hold his wheel any longer. Rob looks back and calmly says “come on Roger, I need you”. I was never able to do more than sit his wheel for a few more km’s, but what a memory. Here is Rob, champion of everything he attempts, and he tells me I was of help to him. Again, words can not describe what that does for your psyche. That comment alone delivered me short of 320km.
Co-conspirator to the Cogal, he had a series of unfortunate events that wrote the 2012 ride off. That didn’t stop him from contributing to our overall success, however. If you’re in the Pennsylvania area, chances are he’s helped you plan your days and weekends. Whether you are going to barbecue, wear a sweater, or pack an umbrella. He’s the man behind the scenes putting together weather forecasts. Much to our surprise and delight, a few days out he sent us an email with a rough guide on what to expect for Thursday. Come Thursday morning, he had created a video forecast, going into all sorts of weather-related terms and cool charts and patterns. Not being able to see it until I arrived home yesterday, it was wonderfully detailed and pin-point accurate. It could have rained cats and dogs and I’d still be appreciative of the video. We cyclists rely on weather reports just as much as everyone else, and to get a personalized report for our occasion, I’ve been told we are in very exclusive company, F1 and America’s Cup teams being the others.
Tobias Funke on @roger
Early on, if a gap opened up, that roger would fill it. As the day wore on, no matter how hard it got, he would grit his teeth, bite into that imaginary pillow, and bear it. I’m not sure if he’s ever rode something this long before, or if he’ll pop prematurely, but boy can he spin.
Three things worked to make this the most incredible day. A mild winter, training started in February and by the middle of June I had done more imperial centuries than the total for the last 20 years. The Rodger inspired organization and Matt, Marty and Tim sag. Without them this could have gone wrong in so many ways… The day was perfect, a cloudy start gave way to the best possible temperature and mostly tail winds.
The First 100 km is on very rough road and there were two flats, mine was the second at 100 km and by then we had broken up into a group of about eight that left me on my own and a faster group ahead. I chased and caught Xyxax on the first climb, then Rodger and Charles before the Killington climb. The (now) main group of six or so had stopped for food after Killington but I had just eaten thanks to Tim so I kept on. They passed me before The Ludlow climb and then we would play leap frog as I was going 2 – 3 km slower on the climbs but would join or pass when they stopped for a sag break. Buck and I ended up ahead after the last stop where we had discussed taking a “short cut”. My thought was that Rte. 100 and Rte. 9 did a jog to the east and then 100 went southwest joining Rte 8 to North Adams, so I had seen that If you went west on 9 then south on 8 it would rejoin 100 for the last 20 km but save 10 km. That short cut became the “Epic” part of the whole ride… Buck had stopped for pizza and I set out on 9 west along a river, after 8 km of flat I see this ridge to the south with huge turbine windmills. Thinking to myself that they are in the direction of North Adams, I hope I do not have to climb up there, right away the road goes left and up. At 4 km it hits Rte 8 and that is where Buck rejoined me, we still have 4km to the windmills. That climb had not 1 but 2 truck emergency run outs… I do not know the % but I was standing for all of it. From the top it was a screaming 4 km back to 100 and 20 km all down hill to the finish, where buck and I did the Lemond/Hinault hand thing, the hot tub and a great meal at 10pm. A week later the guns felt great but the body has been slowly recovering. Would I do this again? No, but I am really glad I did it. There are two reasons I would not do it again first I can not at this stage in my life take the time to train for it and second this day and ride was so perfect that any other attempt will have a tits up situation, weather, getting lost no sag etc. etc. that I do not want to risk the beauty and perfection of this group and day with a day that would easily become epic for all the wrong reasons!
I can imagine that reading 13 or so “takes” on a 200-mile ride might produce an impressive Strava Suffer Score, so I will endeavor to be brief. And I will fail.
First, and I hope this is repetition, I will most remember the selfless acts of kindness, big and small, that made this ride amazing, demonstrating what separates the Velominati community from people who just ride bikes: Roger building the ship and setting it sail; Chip and Paul getting bike and rider to Vermont and back; King Clydesdale for the video (!) weather report the day of; Rob, Tim, and Brian‘s efforts to haul me back into the group (sorry guys); and the true Guardian Angels of the ride: Matt, Tim, and Marty (plus Michael and Chip after they’d finished) providing yeoman SAG without which this would have all gone Peter Tong.
The group was a delightful variation of personalities, as were the bikes. I thought Rob would join me in having the only steel steeds on the ride, but he showed up sporting a snazzy Colnago and spent the rest of the time referring to me as “Doctor Obsolete.” Brian, he of the backwards triple Ironman in the pike position, advised that smiling through the hard times would get me through to the end. It worked a treat and I’ve got the tooth bugs to prove it. Buck Rogers burns more energy having a quiet cup of coffee than I did on the entire ride. When I met up with him and his family in Paris, he actually dropped me on the walk back to the Metro. Tim rides like someone who builds his own house and adds an indoor climbing wall. He and Brian had finished the ride and had a family (not together) before I rolled in. Sparky and Vincent, les jeunes assassins Quebecois, and Erik spoke with their legs, were young and creative, and who wouldn’t be jealous? Paul spoke of his experiences riding up the Tourmalet and Alpe d’Huez. I concentrated on remembering his face because I knew I wouldn’t see it again until the car ride home. Chip stole my bike but then gave it back. He finished top 10% of 2000+ riders in the recent NY Grand Fondo. I did that face thing again. Shaun won the award for climbing, descending, and tempo-ing better than his weight, your weight, whatever. A true beast. Professor Michael Steampunk belied his sometimes-gruff on-line personality by being the most gracious and least lucky, betrayed by his innards. Dear CanuckChuck pretended to be slow for awhile before bolting on to capture 200 miles, several beers in a random Vermont bar, and a joyride in a local’s pickup truck. And Roger, le Patron, was at his best when explaining to Norman Bates’s mother at the N. Troy B&B why 9 expected riders had morphed into 15 or so. “We ain’t got enough showers for Normie to kill all y’all,” she protested in a completely incongruous southern accent.
As for the ride, here is my version via Strava: http://app.strava.com/rides/12047201 . In short, I spent about 3 hours trying to hang with the group, who did their best to accommodate, and then bid silent adieu, opting for a more comfortable pace that might get me home.
High point: From km 130 to 170, a section that was flat to downhill in a beautiful valley, pushed by the sun at a pace that inspired confidence. I’m going to make it!
Low point: The unanticipated climb into Killington (km 180) that soon followed, arriving over-heated and under-fed, slowed by my second flat of the day. Crevaison! I gathered all possible needs from the van and set SAG free from the tyranny of the laggard, promising to write. I’m not going to make it.
High point: after descending from what I thought was the second of the two main climbs, stopped in a store to refill my bottles. The clerk lady confirmed that it was “all downhill from here”. I think I may have giggled and considered kissing her bleach-burned head. I’m going to make it!
Low point: After 3 more km of descending, hitting the right turn where Rt. 100 separated off and commenced the long gradual and then abrupt Mt. Snow climb, my average speed decimated amid mutterings of “Who the FUCK put this climb here?” I’m not going to make it.
Soon, the SAG Van of Angels arrived, fixed me up with lights, and sent me off again with an encouraging, “It’s still a long way to the top!” But by then, with darkness settling, my pre-set 16-hour limit approaching, cell phone coverage poor, and other riders still scattered on the route like loose change, I decided to get over the summit, reach 300km and call it a day. And there we left it, picked up eventually by the indefatigable Boys of Good Cheer and whisked to a post-ride midnight meal at Mickey D’s.
It was a great ride, a hard ride. It was not Oprah on a hybrid. My deepest gratitude to all.