We didn't get a tailwind like last year, but the SW wind wasn't much of a problem, either, and we beat a wet heatwave that settled in the day after the ride. The start was damp, with a light mist and wet roads, but things quickly cleared and riders stayed pretty dry if they kept out of the spray of others. As usual, groups coalesced early on, with the lead riders perhaps setting a record for the time to get to Waterbury, and a number of riders turning in five-hour centuries by the time they got to Rochester. Temperatures in the afternoon got up to the low 80s, but the breeze kept riders cool on the climbs and dehydration did not seem to be a problem.
It was rumored that the three riders who showed up in the fictitious National Rural Letter Carriers Association Team kit were actually pro racers trying to duck the UCI ban on participation in unsanctioned events by masquerading as riders for a reincarnated version of the famed US Postal team. However, according to their website, it was part of a fundraiser for the NRLCA. We're not sure we believe it, though. One of the riders crashed on the temporary bridge in Readsboro; did you notice who didn't show up at the Tour de France this year? Coincidence? We don't think so!
We needed to detour around road construction in Warren this year, and that detour introduced a couple of good climbs and a few miles of dirt. Luckily, the road grader hadn't passed by recently and the dirt was hard and fast. Sadly, one group of riders was led astray by an evil GPS and found themselves climbing Lincoln Gap--one of the steepest climbs in the US. Ouch.
The earliest rider to finsh crossed the state line just before 6 pm and his riding partner finished about 20 minutes later. A larger group finished well over an hour later, proving the advantages of keeping breaks short. A couple of riders overshot the turn onto Tunnel Rd in Readsboro and made the long climb out of town on VT 100 before realizing their mistake and turning back. The last riders had to rest after the Mt. Snow climb and actually finished Sunday morning.
The sad part of this year's ride was that we had our first accidents since the ride started in 1985. The bridge at the beginning of Tunnel Rd. was being reconstructed and the temporary replacement bridge was decidedly un-friendly to cyclists. It was a pitched, wood-deck bridge, which was bad enough, but its bed was also raised above the asphalt approach and, worse of all, the top planks in the center of the bridge were omitted, leaving only those that autos would need on either side. This made it especially tricky once it got dark, and three riders fell, with two getting banged up and the third going to the hospital with broken bones. Not at all how one wants to end such a great ride.
Congratulations to all the riders. Let's come back and do it again next year!
The 2013 stats (these are very weak numbers, as befitting a ride without rules):
- Starters: 50-ish
- Finishers: 25-ish
- Earliest finish time: 5:58 pm
- Fastest ride time: ?
- Fastest average speed: ?
- High temp: 82 F
- Low temp: 58 F
- Elevation gain: 11,500'
- Highest point: 2,400'
- Total distance: 212 mi (340 km)
- Most Valuable: Our wonderful support people!
- First Finisher: Brett Collin
- Fastest Finisher: ?
- Lanterne Rouge: Rachel G.
- Longest Blue Streak: North Shore 4Cs Club
- Most Impressive Comeback: John Cotter
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