Distance: 79 miles
Weather: Low to mid 80’s partly cloudy
Today was a long day, but a good day! Riders had a lot of climbing but mostly through tree covered streets so the warmth of the day was less so. Although the weather channel had forecast thunderstorms and rain it did not show up until well after the last rider was into the hotel.
Just one hour out of the hotel we crossed into our last (or second to last if one goes to Maine) state, New Hampshire. The terrain was rolling as we passed through Keene, a cute town with plenty of cafes and other interesting stores. Just out of Keene riders climbed some short steep hills that were on the order of 13%, maybe the steepest grades of the entire trip!
The climbs became less intense towards our second sag stop, which is also the second to last, in Francestown, NH. We have been holding our sag stop in the town square for years, and this year a local woman came out to tell me that the buildings surrounding the square have been put on the National Register of Historical Buildings and that they will be rehabilitating them. Glad to hear that, they are beautiful buildings!
Many of the riders were in a hurry to get in today. We had our End of the Ride Celebration at dinner tonight and many had guests coming to Manchester to attend. The celebration consisted of a BBQ dinner and a chance for each person on the trip to comment on their experience. The staff had a small gift for each rider along with a “sag stop in a bag” to take with them. As a special thanks for helping to unload luggage almost every day, John and Tom were presented with a small token of our gratefulness.
As most AbB alumni know the most coveted award of the trip is something that cannot be purchased, THE MAP. The Map has been with us through the whole trip. Each day Jane would extend the line representing the route we had travelled and hang it on the whiteboard. We now only have a bit to go….maybe a half inch! The staff elected to award the Map to someone who exemplified the spirit of the trip. Although EVERY ONE of our riders deserved the Map we only had one and we unanimously decided to award it to Sim. Congratulations Sim! You made the ride better for everyone on it, thanks.
Tomorrow we will finally see the Atlantic Ocean but first we must get some rest. Goodnight!