Flash back to almost two years ago in my freshman year at app. I was in my dorm room some Wednesday night sometime in the spring semester and as most underachieving college students, I was bored out of my mind. It was then that I decided it was due time to plan a day by day of a rough outline of the route that we're on right now. Interestingly enough one day of that planned trip stuck out like a sore thumb and terrified me, that day was today. Oh and one more thing, Brian and I planned on doing more mileage than I predicted two years ago in unprecedented heat.
The day began like all tough ones, in the middle of the night. I was setting my phone down and slammed my head on the bedside table and cut my head open (don't worry mom I'm totally fine, me no concussion have?). Following this incident and the minor self preservation that ensued I turned it in for an early wake up at 5 the next day to beat the worst heat of the trip.
Brian and I quickly made breakfast, and before we knew it we were flying out the door to ascend our first pass. The first two kilometers of the climb were a brutal pitch that woke us immediately up. This knocked me out of my high range gearing for the first time since North Dakota so that was a massive upset for me. But that was but a precursor for the day.
After slowly chugging our way to Middlebury Gap Brian and I were treated to a ripping descent, 12% grade over 2 miles. This lead to the best breakfast of the bike trip. Like I love to say, breakfast is so nice I have to have it twice sometimes. I devoured some pancakes covered in walnuts, strawberries, bananas, and of course a healthy waterfall of Vermont maple syrup. This section of the day was enough to make up for the trials and tribulations of the climb and early wake up.
The next forty or so miles were following a river through picturesque New England farmland through green mountains and lush forests. After hitting a few rolling hills the heat finally settled in, right before the second pass of the day.
The second pass was about half the elevation of the first but nearly ten times the difficulty. It was constantly changing pitch somewhere between 14%-16%, this is just enough to destroy any flow you may have while climbing. Also the heat was so brutal that my ice cold water that I just filled up reached a boiling point before I even put my first few pedal strokes into the climb. After we submitted to the pass there was a lackluster descent that lead to two more frustrating climbs in even worsening heat.
After seeking refuge in a freezer aisle of a grocery we reluctantly got on our saddles to grind out seven miles across the border into New Hampshire and to our campground.
After setting up our campsite Brian and I ran around like chickens without heads trying to find a place to cool down indoors with no success. After a while we surrendered to the camp pool filled with screaming children and their parents. Even now in the fading light were both hoping for cool weather rest.
Vermont is an unfortunate case, it was so beautiful, welcoming, and interesting but also so short! I'll remember each greuling spin of the wheel here fondly for the people and the scenery around us that made it something special.