Another wet one.
The weather stars stayed out of alignment for the 2011 100/200. The traditional date would heve been Sunday, and if we had waited that 24 hours we would have had dry, sunny, cool conditions with a stiff tailwind. As it was, we had to settle for some wet riding. On the plus side, the wind was out of the west and was rarely an issue, and the overcast kept the heat and glare down and if we had gone a week later, as we had originally planned, we would have had a really rough day. While most riders would have prefered drier conditions, almost anything is better than a headwind on this ride!
A motivated group of riders met at the Canadian border at 5 am for a wet start in a light drizzle. Unknown to us, a group of three had started a couple hours before. A thunderstorm had just moved through, but the rain was tapering off at the start. By the time the riders reached Hyde Park, the roads were fairly dry. The riders headed out en mass, but very quickly split into two groups, with the lead bunch setting a brisk pace all the way to the first stop in Waterbury. Usually, riders will meet up again at this break, but, sadly, the lead group of eight had set such a blistering pace that the ride had permanently split.
The lead group maintained its strong pace throughout the ride, though this did not translate to an early finish. The bunch broke apart a little before the halfway point in Rochester, regrouping at the break. "Adventure junkie" Dr. Danger left the ride here, having a prior commitment in the afternoon. We think it's a positive reflection on this ride that a guy who has braved the guns of Somalia put the 100/200 on his itinerary. The pace really cracked the bunch on the Killington climb, with John Gaydos dancing up the mountain as if it wasn't there, and the others finding their own pace up the slope.
Two groups formed after the stop at the bottom of the Rte 4 descent, with the larger, lead bunch happily hanging onto John's wheel pretty much the whole way to Ludlow. We took a longer break here, across the street from our planned break location, the small town green, which had been taken over by a wedding. Several riders were seriously thinking of throwing in the towel, but everyone talked themselves back onto their bikes. John Gaydos peeled off here, riding over to New Hampshire to visit a friend. Although the groups had rejoined at the break, they set out separately to attack Terrible Mountain, quickly breaking apart into ones and twos on the steep climb.
Terrible Mountain starts out with a steady, easy climb before kicking up with a steep section that really puts the hurt to riders who have already pushed themselves for eight hours. What makes it earn its moniker, though, is the longer, less steep climb that follows a false summit. It's only 10 miles from Ludlow to Weston, but it's tough enough to deserve another break on the shady town green in front of the Weston Playhouse.
The climb out of South Londenderry picked off another rider, whose legs told him that the upcoming 12-mile climb would have to wait for another day. Claps of thunder urged the remaining riders ahead in the vain hope that they might beat the oncoming storm, but this was not to be. By the time riders turned onto the long Mt. Snow climb, the rain was coming down in earnest; in the midst of the climb, the sky opened up and the deluge made the road into a river rushing around the skinny tires. The lead riders were even pelted with hail! We often describe the Mt. Snow climb as the final hammer that falls on those riding the 100/200, but this year that hammer seemed wielded by Thor, himself. On the climb, we met up with a father and two sons who had started at the Canadian border at 3:30 am, two hours before the rest of the riders. What a great Fathers Day gift! Mercifully, the rain stopped just before the summit, where the riders were welcomed by cheering supporters. It was time for the second change of riding clothes of the day, and a jubilant, high speed run for the border.
Joe had already received the award for the Best Descender, and he enjoyed the winding, 9% descent into Readsboro as his 56th birthday gift. A group of four finished together, with other riders finishing sporadically after, the last crossing the border around 10:00.
One wonders if a slightly slower pace and shorter breaks might not have kept the group together better and allowed more riders to finish. Every running of the event is unique, though, and everyone on the ride adds their own part to its personality. There really is no DNF category for this ride--people give it their best shot and each result is one's own success. Many people set personal records on the 100/200 and we hope they all come back the next year for another run at this Vermont classic!
Note: at least three riders couldn't manage transportation for the ride and opted instead to tackle complementary rides in Connecticut, NJ and PA. Could this be the start of something new? Perhaps a National 100/200 Weekend?
The 2011 stats:
- Starters: 20
- Finishers: 10
- End time (approx.): 9 pm
- Ride time (approx): 11:45 hrs
- Ave speed: 18 mph (29 kph)
- High temp: 83 F
- Total distance: 212 mi (340 km)
- Most Valuable: Our wonderful support people!
- First Finisher: Stuart Stevens
- Fastest Finishers: Jeff Warner & Jeff Wehrwein
- Best Descender: Joe Brown
- Most Miles in Lead: John Gaydos
- Most Spritied: Todd Bergstein
Photos of the 2011 ride are posted online at http://picasaweb.google.com/sbarner/2011100200 The ride comes early in the year, arriving before many cyclists are in condition for a hilly double-century. Start training now and plan to join us next year. You'll be rewarded by being in amazing shape for the rest of the season!
Previous Year's Ride Reports