The VT Lake Champlain 300k is underway… and I’m a DNF.
My ideal Friday plan of working, wrenching, and prepping for the ride turned into a marathon session wearing my organizer hat. Due to our almost great lake being well over record flood levels (and still rising) I had to do an emergency recon of the course yesterday. This meant a bike ride to the airport to grab a car rental followed by a 188 mile drive around the course + about 40 bonus miles added on to scout alternates. The first half of the course was easy to re-work, but 140 miles into the ride we had significant potentials to strand / trap riders with flooded roads – and no easy way to either rescue folks and sag them back or provide realistic, dry, and safe alternates. After consulting the NY DOT and VT AOT and not being assured 2 key roads and a ferry would be 100% operational if water levels continued to rise – we worked up a solution to continue the ride on a modified out and back course. This is a bit sad as some of the more challenging (and scenic) terrain had to be left out – but it is a great compromise to keep everyone safe, allow us to continue the event, and take advantage of the great weather today.
Once we had a solution I needed to make it happen. Multiple course changes to avoid flooding had me creating new cue sheets and brevet cards from scratch to account for the flood detours. And I re-cabled the IF on Thursday – so I still needed to wrap the bars. My Friday went from modest and relaxed to frenzied and stressed. I think I finally turned out the lights at midnight. The alarm rang at 3:15 so I could be at the start by 4:15.
I signed 9 riders in, handed out updated cues and cards, and sent everyone off. I tagged along at the back hoping to make it about 30 miles in to one of my favorite cafe stops where I could eat, get some coffee, and have a clear(er) head to decide how to proceed. I made it to the first minor uphill, maybe 4 miles into the course, and my elevated heart rate was very noticeable. I then went into a wheezing asthma attack.
So, I rolled it back to the start and hung out in case any stragglers arrived, then made my way home to rest. Greg has since called in that he was just leaving our planned breakfast stop – and aside from the wind (it will be a tailwind in 15 more miles) – he was having a great blue sky day. Wil is a bit further up the course at the first control and he’s annoyed with the wind – taking longer to cover the 51 miles than he thought. The wind will likely keep blowing this morning which will mean a tail wind to the turn around control. Hopefully it will die down this afternoon.
I’m envious and a bit sad that I’m not out on the course – but very thankful I was able to make this go for everyone who put in effort to get here and ride our VT events. As I learned last season – riding and organizing doesn’t seem to mix very well…