So this was suppose to be an easy day. Only 65 miles, right? Well, there was that little matter of the climb up to Killington ski area. Who had the bright idea to put ski resorts up in the mountains?
We left Montpelier at 8:15 in a large group of 15 riders. The majority of them I had not ridden with for very long so I managed to make my way to the back of the pack These were very fine roders, but I did not care for the amount of yelling that was going on. Each time a car was behind us, the call of "Car back" would be passed from me, and usually it can jump 1 or 2 riders before another rider will make that call further up the line. These people each had to yell it, and they yelled it like they were yelling at their kids. They also were yelling out obstacles (such as pot holes) in the road as opposed to pointing to them, which is what I am accustomed to. I kept my distance and rode with this group for 24 miles to the first rest stop.
There were some hills today, and because of the beating that my legs had taken yesterday, I really struggled to stay with the group. I would drop off the back of the group on the hills, and then catch up on the downhills. I knew that on the final climb it would be each man for himself, so I was happy to be attached to the group up to the 2nd rest area. There was an impromptu rest area set up at mile 40 that I was really looking forward to stopping at to rest the legs for a couple minutes... but Rolland had other ideas. We rolled right past headed to rest area 2.
Rest stop 2 is only about 10 miles from the end of the ride for the day. While riding I was seeing the signs to Killington. I knew we were close, but I also know that we had a 5 or 6 mile climb to get there, and the climb was substantial... about 1000 feet. At the rest stop we got our water bottles filled up, ate some food, but not too much, and the 5 of us headed out. We had already determined that this part of the ride was every man for himself, so I set off at a very slow pace and before I knew it the climb began. At first it was steps. A small steep climb and then it levels off a bit, then another, and another. Finally as I was getting closer to the hill became a steady steep incline. I rode until my thighs were on fire, and my halo headband was drenched in sweat (It was VERY humid today). The was a left turn that had to be negotiated on a hill after climbing 4 miles, so I decided that at that left turn I would stop and swap my headband.
At the left hand turn I stopped before taking the turn, leaned my bike up against the guard rail, took off my helmet, headband and gloves. I used some of my water to pour over my head to cool me down. I drank one of my bottle of water, had my last pack of sports beans for the day and took a deep breath. In the time that it took to do all that, my legs had stopped burning and I was breathing normally again. It was only about 2 minutes, but it was just enough to give the break that I needed. I put the dry (sorta) head band back on my head, put the goves and helmet on and I was back on the bike attacking the last part of the hills.
At the Summit Lodge I was able to get in line for the one washer and dryer that was available for us to use and I managed to get all my laundry washed and dried. I am pretty excited about that because if I had to hand wash anything in the bathroom sink tonight, because of the humidity, there is no way it would be dry by the time we leave to ride in the morning.
After getting laundry done, I had dinner, got this blog written and then it is off to bed for a good nights sleep. Tomorrow I think we go just under 90 miles to Ringe, NH. There are some climbs, but nothing as substantial as yesterday and today. I think I am out of the woods, and barring some physical ailment, I fully expect to finish all 7 days of riding. I am hoping that my legs have a little more strength in them than they did today. I'll let you know tomorrow night.