Mileage: 79 miles
Weather: Humid to wet all day long. Upper 60s to start. Mid 70s to end. Rain in the middle.
Highlights of the day:
Forecast showed rain with scattered thunderstorms most of the day with percentages in the 70s-80s. Fortunately, it was only cloudy when we rolled in the morning until the first SAG and then the rain found us. It went from a light drizzle to a steady pour in Bennington. I guess one could spin that the rain kept the riders cool on the climb up to Wilmington? The rain stopped for most of us at the 2nd SAG and into Brattleboro. Thunderstorms rolled in around 4:30 but all the riders were in by then. So the doom & gloom forecast on weather.com never really got as bad as they predicted. We’re ok with that.
We had another alumni visit us today. Paul, who has been across twice on North and rode a section of Challenge, met us at the first SAG. He brought with him homemade coffee cake. It’s not just the food, we love the opportunity to catch up and chat about past rides. I think the alumni appreciate it as well because unlike family and friends, who can only manage 10 minutes of our tour stories before their eyes start to roll, we can chat all day long. Well, maybe not all day but at least for the duration of a SAG stop. Thanks for stopping by Paul, we look forward to seeing you again next year!
We crossed the Hudson River today, seems we’ve finally made it back east. Roads used to be a bit rough in New York but most of Rte 7 has been repaved and it is beautiful. It was so nice we could actually 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.
With the rain coming down, I don’t think any 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. Instead, they pushed on to tackle the big climb of the day. The route out of Bennington has an 8-mile climb towards Wilmington, VT. It is mostly gradual at 4% with a few short kicks up to 8%. The riders ate up the miles with their strong tour legs. Breathing hard? Yes. But most were still smiling as they headed towards the top.
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. For those of you who have done North or Challenge before, we had one minor disappointment. The giant Adirondack chair (and the opportunity to do Edith Anne impersonations) is no longer available at the visitor center. Sigh… Pictures were taken of the surrounding mountains and the riders headed down into Brattleboro. The descent isn’t technical but some rough shoulders & traffic can make it challenging. 14 mostly-downhill-miles into our hotel and we only have 2 more riding days to go!