2017 Ride Report

Rain + Tailwind + Cow Bell

We moved the start up a half hour this year and that seemed to work out okay. A number of riders arrived close to the start, but we rolled out only a few minutes after 5 am. It rained overnight, continuing through the morning, but the temperature was warm enough that the drizzle was more of an annoyance than a problem. Riders were jockeying for the magical position that provided a drafting benefit while staying out of the rooster tails thrown up by those up ahead. The clouds were breaking up by the midpoint in Rochester, though some riders got wet again before the rain finally exited for the day.

As the road quickly dried up, riders were treated to a favorable NW breeze. On this route, a wind out of the west swirls around in the north-south valleys through which we ride, but if the breeze tweaks a bit to the north, it generally becomes a tailwind. This was much appreciated! Most riders finished and feedback at the end was universally positive, so we'll count this year's ride as a resounding success. 100 miles of dry roads and tailwind can do a lot to help you forget 100 miles of rain--especially if you've brought a change of kit and some chain lube.

We had a first of what we hope will be a trend, and that was a pair of female riders who were supported by their spouses. They were sporting team jerseys for their generous sponsor, Gus' Bike Shop in North Hampton, NH. As an unexpected extra, several riders finished as Readsboro was hosting a fireworks show. What a great end to a long day!


RIDER FEEDBACK

Marcia B: The fireworks could not have thought of a better end to an epic day.


Dale P: Awesome job with this ride, I still cannot get over the uniqueness of it. Thanks for the food and water and transportation.  I'm amazed at how it all came together for me without my own support.


Bill D: Thank you again for a well-run and memorable 2017 200 on 100 ride. It was a pleasure from start to finish. While I would have preferred no rain, I benefited from a tailwind from Killington to Ludlow that was a turning point for me. I'd say the weather in total was favorable.

This was my first double century and I was uncertain how I would feel and perform during the second 100 miles. I felt stronger and more confident as the ride progressed, and I was thrilled to cross the MA finish at 8:21 p.m.

As far as words of wisdom for future riders, I do not think I could have finished the ride, and definitely not before dark, without sag support from my wife plus neighborly support from some other teams.


Adam A: My son Zach sagged for my friend Rob D and myself. Our total mileage (which included a short ride from North Troy to the start as well as bypassing the optional Lovers Lane short-cut) was 211 miles, and we crossed the Massachusetts line around 7:30. Rob and I have ridden several long epic rides together (for instance B to VT), and were looking for a new challenge this year. The concept of an organized yet non-commercial ride that spanned the entire length of the beautiful mountainous state of Vermont in a single day appealed to us as perhaps an ultimate challenge. The rainy start did not dampen our spirts, and rather added to the sense of challenge, and we were rewarded by fantastic weather when it really mattered during the big climbs. Terrible Mountain is aptly named, and tackling Mount Snow soon afterward was intense, but this made completing the ride that much more satisfying. It was great to meet and keep company with the other riders, and it was a big boost to have Zach and the other sag drivers cheering us at the top of the big climbs and the finish. The experience certainly lived up to all our expectations!


Fernando B: Congrats to all the riders and support drivers. It was a long but rewarding day. First, I want to take this moment to thank you and Jeanne for putting this ride together.  It can’t be easy, and I’m sure it take a good amount of time, and I know I really appreciate it.  We also love the cow bell!  I think we’ll keep it in our condo at Sugarbush so we can ring it when we bike up to it. 

I would like to also mention the support drivers.  My ride would not have been as enjoyable if I had not had the support and friendly face throughout the day.  It was also comforting seeing the other support cars through the day.  So thanks to you SAG drivers, and passenger!   

I was up throughout the night before and I kept hearing the rain tap on the roof of our Inn, so I was worried and hoping that the skies would clear before the ride.  Unfortunately, that was not the case!  However, while I did not love the rain that we got for the first half of the ride, at least it was warm!  It would have been miserable had it been cold. 

So in the first  half, the rain and road grime took a toll on my bike as the chain lube all washed away, and fine dirt and grit got everywhere.  Of course, I did not know how bad my chain was until the sun appeared and fried the roads—and my chain!  It was loud.  I finally got some lube at the Killington gas station and my ride was much quieter from there on.  

The second half was certainly much better weather-wise, as we all enjoyed the sun and dried roads.  Too bad the hills kicked it up at that point.  I know the hills got the better of me, especially Mt Snow, ending at mile 180ish.  When I got to the top my wife asked me “what do you need?” and I simply replied, “I have no idea.”   I was not bonking, but I definitely was not able to think completely straight.  After a few minutes I realized the burrito purchased in Ludlow might be a good choice, and it was.  It carried me through the rest of the steep but short hills, and the great descents.  (BTW, the Mexican place in Ludlow is not recommended, unless you keep it simple, just a rice burrito, like I did)

Looking back, this was an epic ride.  I have done a few doubles before, but with less climbing, and all ending after mile 140, it make a difference when the big climbs come late!  But the challenge was worth it and I hope to do it again next year!

Lindsay McG: Andy and I set off at 5am hoping for an improvement on our 2016 time. Andy made a solid 90KM effort through the storms and in the end, I arrived 3 hrs ahead of the schedule achieved by the “2016 Ridiculous 6 on a different stop strategy”. It was quite a different experience this year to last, the stops shorter and the pace higher. The ride wasn’t so enjoyable at the time, but is much more enjoyable now - on reflection. I significantly improved my times for both the big climbs, Vermont had in store quite a few climbs that I had erased from memory..... The Vermont scenery was stunning with the depth added from the changing weather – dark and stormy, shortly followed by sunny and humid – steam rising from the road, beautiful. Sara supported Bill a few times, we rode together for a while – we met you when you arrived with your deck-chair at the border ready for the back-shift. So thank you once again for a great event.

Lindsay's video!


Nicholas D: Just a quick note to say thank you for organizing this wonderful memory. My group of 5 set off on Saturday morning at 5am, and by 10pm, only 3 of us were left crossing the line bruised and battered. The underestimated grind of a 5 mile climb with upwards of 20% gradients after 140 grueling miles of rain, dirt, and heat broke the bodies of many. At mile 100, the pouring rain finally came to an end. At mile 180, I wished I had taken the advice and used a compact crank with a 32-tooth cog. At mile 190, I was wrapping my knee with an ace bandage to alleviate the pain from climbing. And finally, at mile 210, we were smiling ear-to-ear.

If cyclists are coming to this event looking for finish line banners, streets lined with spectators, sponsored food, expensive price tags, 1000’s of competitors, and a special kit, then this ride is not for them. This ride is purely a test of will and determination. It’s well suited for those who beg for life challenges and enjoy testing their mental and physical limits. Yes, I’ll be wearing a knee brace for a few more days, but it was damn worth it. See you again next year (maybe)


Dan H: The cowbells were a great idea (my son is still ringing his), the lights made the early going much safer, and I definitely benefited from riding with you and seeing how you kept your breaks short.

I finished at 7:40, even with some extra time spent recovering at the top of the Mt. Snow climb and then a flat tire in West Dover.  I'm very happy with that.

I'm typically a fair weather cyclist and don't go out in the rain if I can avoid it.  The 100/200 didn't give me that choice, however.  But I found riding in the rain this time not all that unpleasant.  It was warm and muggy enough that I was comfortable in just a jersey and arm warmers.  One couldn't draft closely because of the spray coming up from other riders, but there was no wind or a slight tailwind, so drafting wasn't too important.  Getting to Rochester in five and a half hours under those conditions gave me lots of confidence for the second half.

Changing into a fresh, dry kit in Rochester made a huge difference.  I hadn't done that before.  It made it easier to get through the "ugly middle" feeling refreshed.

Terrible Mountain didn't seem too tough, but Mt. Snow really drained me.  I felt completely spent at the top, just hollow inside.  I started feeling better after a break and some descending, but it was the flat tire in West Dover that completed my recovery.  10 minutes of guilt-free sitting still and changing the tire was exactly the extra rest I needed to get back to a good state.  I zipped to the finish feeling pretty strong.

I had trouble keeping any food down after the ride, but after a night's sleep I felt fine.  I was a bit tired the next day, but not sore.  I'm looking forward to using my early season fitness on some long rides this summer.  If it ever stops raining.


Tom. S: That was my first attempt at a ride of over 100 miles and I am gratified to have finished and still be able to cut the grass today! Thanks to everyone, especially all the bell-ringers along the whole route. Definitely appreciated at the top of the Mt. Snow climb!!


More feedback and photos on the 100/200 facebook page!


2017 stats

  • Starters: 28-ish
  • Finishers: Most
  • First finishers: Ed, Zane & Dan @ around 5:30 pm
  • Last finisher: Sometime before 11 pm
  • Fastest Finisher: Ed A. @10:34:55
  • Elevation gain: 11,000' / 3350 m (elevation ranges from 10,500 - 12,500', depending on whose GPS you're reading)
  • Highest point: 2408' / 734 m
  • Total distance: 209 mi / 335 km

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

2017 Links


 
 

 

Gathering in the dark drizzle

Things are pretty quiet at the border at 4:30 am
(photo: Fernando B.)

The lineup at the Canadian border

Neither rain nor flats dampen the fun
(Photo: Lindsay McG.)

The story of the morning--sun & rain

Descending Granville Gulf

Cruising toward Hancock


The edge of the front promises dry roads ahead
(Photo: Nicholas D.)


Clearing skies in Rochester
(Photo: Andrew H.)

Cresting the Mt. Snow climb

 

Please tell me this is the top

 
   

Moral Support on the big climb
(Photo: Sara McG.)

The funky state line marker is looking pretty sad
(Photo: Barrios O'G..)

Rolling across the state line

Fireworks in the background (Photo: Marcia B.)

Gus' Gals cross the finish

First ever--the guys SAG for the girls!

 

Elevation graph

GPS elevation graph, courtesy of Chet Huang

 
 
  Last edited July 25, 2017