We had a successful running of the first RUSA sanctioned 200k and 300k brevets in Vermont this past weekend. 9 riders started the 300k and 21 riders started the 200k. I was running on 3 hours of sleep – so thanks to everyone for patience at the start. A larger turnout than expected had me juggling multiple forms, sign in sheets, checks, and trying to make change – all at 4:30 am. I’m sure I made some good pre-ride theater.
The ride started with a cruise through Burlington to the Local Motion Bike Ferry – 11 miles away at ‘The Cut’ in the Colchester causeway. Our pilot was waiting for us with a smile – and we ferried everyone across in just under 1/2 hour.
The first 45+ miles of the route is about as flat as you can get riding in Vermont. We cruised past orchards, vineyards, and eventually over the largest obstacle in our path – the bridge to NY. Our first control was at Lakeside Coffee and staff greeted us with a knowing smile. A quick breakfast and recharge was had and we headed out for another 35 miles of flat(ish) roads south and through Plattsburgh, NY. Pacing ourselves on NY state’s very smooth roads and passing marinas full of sailboats we noticed the temperature started to resemble ‘HOT’. Even the breeze started to feel warm.
Our small group – now collectively the Lanterne Rouge of the 200k – made a quick stop for fluids and salty foods – then pressed on into the terrain of the Adirondack Park. Up we went – to a not so secret control / resupply stocked and staffed by our pre-ride volunteer and his wife. More ice, liquids, V8, and salty foods were consumed. Our group decided to split up at this point – two of our five cut the ride short with a trip across the Burlington – Port Kent Ferry. They happily took a DNF on their first brevet settling instead with a century – their longest ride…. ever.
Three of us pressed on – up and down and up and over Highlands Rd. which seemed to have an infinite amount of miles of double digit grades. Temps reached into the high 90’s and on this very quiet road we rested and slow climbed in the shade of the opposite lane. Our group felt the heat and we stopped prior to the Charlotte Ferry control to restock on liquids. After 2800′ of climbing in the last 22 miles the ferry ride was a welcome break. The cool breeze created as we motored across the lake was welcome – and we rolled out from Charlotte in good but tired spirits with enough time cushion for a mechanical or food stop. We had neither – and slogged on in the heat to the finish – even getting passed by roadies returning to Burlington on Spear St. pulling twice our speed. Greg and Chris finished their first 200k rides, and Greg finished his longest ride – ever.
After a quick bite I put on my organizer hat on and set up for returning 300k riders. We had 7 riders still on course – 1 300k rider finished before we knocked out our 200k and we had 1 DNF due to switching to the 200k course. 300k riders rolled in about evenly spaced for the next 3 hours, and all riders were off course by 9:45 pm.
Unofficially it looks like we had 14 finishers for the 200k (with several riders indicating this as their first brevet!) and 8 finishers (+ our pre-ride volunteer) completing the 300k.
Thanks to Anthony and his wife for baking in the sun and giving up their Saturday to staff and stock our not so secret control atop the climb in NY, and thanks to the Old Spokes Home for hosting our start and finish.
Our next event is the hilly and scenic Fall Classic 200k – with lots of dirt, climbing, covered bridges (5!), and early fall Vermont color. We’re hoping to add a 100k option for those looking for something shorter or to ride with family and friends… keep a watch on this website or the RUSA calendar.