~80 miles to North Hero in the rain and wind for a delicious cinnamon bun and coffee at Hero’s Welcome. This was my first training ride as I reach toward the coveted RCP Award (Randonneur Café Pâtisserie). Temps were cool on the way out of town, rain drops few. Wool layers worked well until the deluge started and then the plastic shell held off the chill for a bit. I followed the Lake Champlain Bikeways route from town up to the Islands, including a wind blown and dreadful stretch on a surprisingly busy Rt. 2. I brought the camera, only to turn it on and get an error for leaving the memory card elsewhere… so some blurry pics from the smartphone. This portion of the route is on the Celebrate Champlain 300k to be run July 26th.
The sap is running, and this weekend is the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend. We took a drive for some lunch and to stop in at a sugarhouse just off the Dirt Road Permanent Route. Fuller’s Sugarhouse is a family run business in the shadow of Mt. Mansfield. The family taps 6000 trees and often boils for 5-6 hours a day when they have a good run. We watched the process a bit, rubbed the bellies of the family dogs, learned about their osmosis technique for removing water prior to the boil, and brought home a gallon of syrup…
Had a great foggy and relatively mild (temperature) morning ride. Rolled out along the lake with my headlight beam glowing in the fog and then took off for higher ground hoping to get a good sunrise view of Camel’s Hump. Worked the flats and worked the terrain. The big mountains were clouded in – so I rolled back to the lake and listened to the last bits of ice crunching along the shore.
I’m done with the cold. Been getting up at the lovely hour of 4:30 am to get my miles in before turning into daddy or worker bee – and its been cold in the morning – with wind. Todays 27 miles was a freeze fest. True, I’ve ridden in colder weather – but when the sun starts to shine the body starts to expect milder temps. I can’t wait to ride in knicks and a wool top.
I met this tree just before I moved from the Finger Lakes region of New York to Vermont. (cross posted to my work website)
Out again for ride number two. After lunch the snow moved out for clear blue skies and a brisk breeze out of the north – northwest. I couldn’t resist a few more miles and did a short loop to enjoy the afternoon. I don’t think I combined enough to get in my metric… but it felt good to be riding in the sun. Deceptively cold for sure – and the breeze off the lake was brutal. I trudged home on North Ave. into a stiff breeze – totally cooked from fighting the wind this morning and afternoon. Climbing a short hill a ‘ding ding’ rang out and commuter man on a citified mountain bike dropped onto his aerobars, passed me, and gave a little wave.
Went out for an attempt at a metric this morning… but the weather foiled the plan. Managed a blustery, cold, and raw ride out of town and up around the bay before rolling back home. Probably 30 or so by the time we were done. The snow was blowing horizontally at times – and as soon as I rolled into the garage the sun started peaking through.
I’m very happy with Acorn bag. I need to add some pulls to the elastic chords that close the front and main compartment for easier access while moving – but everything else about it is working out great. A decaleur is in my future – I just need to see what will fit – as I’m pretty tight to the head tube now and from the looks of the VO it is pretty short. I might have to commission a local rack builder to rig something up for me. 33 days until my first 200k of the season, and 54 days until the NE Flèche.
My Acorn bags have arrived. Tonight I did a quick install of the Boxy Rando Bag on the IF. The bag is mounted up front on a Nitto Mark’s Rack. More pics and a review after I get some ride time in – and if I can find the time I’ll compare it to a friends’ Gilles Berthoud, a local shop’s Ostrich, and my Ortlieb. I’m still debating how to mount my eDeluxe. I was hoping for some sort of rack mount under the bag – might have to have something frabricated.
The saddle bag arrived as well… not exactly happy with how the leather straps mount to the Brooks saddle loops. The Acorn differs from my Carradice in that the buckles stay on the outside of the bag – so my initial install seemed a bit floppy. I’ll have to play with this – or have the bag modified to bring the buckles inside the bag.
The usual suspects have built a solid team for the Northeast Flèche 2009, have scouted, mapped, and controlled a route, and sent in our application. The ride is patterned on the Flèche Vellocio that has run in France since the late 1940’s. The modern ACP Flèches USA is a 24 hour team randonneuring event that takes place each spring with groups of 3-5 randonneurs embarking on rides of a minimum of 360 kilometers over a period of 24 hours. There are subtle rules about control points, brevet card verification for proof of passage, two hours maximum stopping time at any one control, and the need to document your location at the 22 hour and 24 hour mark.
The spirit of the ride is simple – head off into the day (or night) and keep moving as a team for 24 hours. Most routes are designed as one way ‘arrows’ targeting the regional destination where all teams meet. The Northeast rides have historically ended in Westfield, Massachusetts – teams from Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire all point their wheels to this location. Routes are devised by each team – so groups may try to get in as many miles as they can, while others ride the minimum required for certification (note that everyone gets ‘credit’ for the same 360k). All savor the time on the bike and the chance to tell the sometimes epic tales that come from being in motion through day and night in all weather over varying terrain.
We’ve called our route a ‘Green Mountain Ramble’. We plan to leave from Burlington and head south along Vermont Route 100 to Ludlow (passing through Waitsfield, Warren, and Killington). After dinner in Ludlow (and as night falls) we climb to Grafton and then cross into familiar territory at Saxton’s River and on to Putney where we will have a planned two hour sleep control at the West Hill Shop. As the moon rises we head into Brattleboro, cross into New Hampshire and flow down the Connecticut River Valley to Northfield, Massachusetts (for late night coffee at a friend’s), Amherst for breakfast, and then on to the finish in Westfield.