Mileage: 79 miles
Weather: Some rain & low 60s to start. Low 80s to end. Winds out of the SSW.
Highlights of the day:
Today is one of my favorite days of the tour. Really. I mean it. I’m not sure if I’m excited to be back in mountains or with people who start dropping their R’s or both. I am sure that I think it’s beautiful, challenging, and a lot of fun.
The weather looked a little threatening first thing this morning so we delayed our departure. Early rollers were rained on a bit. 2nd loaders felt a sprinkle or two as they were loading their luggage but that’s about it. No complaints. The clouds hung around for most of the day and kept the temperatures down. That is a very nice thing for a route with lots of climbing.
We crossed the Hudson River today, we’ve finally made it back east. Lots of newly paved roads in this part of New York meant that we could look up from the road surface and enjoy the scenery. Rolling hills. Green and lush. We crossed our 11th border into our 12th state. Vermont. We are back in the mountains, the Green Mountains to be exact.
Some riders stopped in Old Bennington to visit the Old First Church, the oldest Protestant church in Vermont, and browse through the cemetery in search of Robert Frost’s grave. After a little history, it was time to tackle the big climb of the day. The route out of Bennington features an 8-mile climb towards Wilmington, VT. It is mostly gradual at 4% with a few short kicks up to 8%. If you put the strong legs these riders have developed with a cool day, you get a really enjoyable climb.
Out of Wilmington, the riders went up a shorter 3-mile climb to the top of Hogback Mountain that boasts a “100-mile view of three states.” Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. There was also a specially painted giant Adirondack chair. It’s been there for several years but the paint job is new as part of Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce’s “Mountain Chair Madness.” It’s part art, part fundraiser, and part just fun.
After all the work, the riders were rewarded with a very nice descent into Brattleboro, VT. It is mostly down hill for the better part of 14 miles. Non-technical. Just fun. A very nice way to end great day on the bike. Now it’s pizza party time!