VT 300k Underway

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…

6 Responses to “VT 300k Underway”

  1. wil says:

    Mike, you did great and your efforts to ride were admirable. It was a great day out. The wind is good training. Thank you for helping me push to my longest single ride to date.

  2. mb says:

    Thanks Wil, it was a gorgeous day save the wind, and I’m glad I was able to salvage the ride for everyone who came out. We had 2/3s of the field in from out of state – all of them working to qualify for PBP. While I was sad that I didn’t ride, as an organizer I really felt I needed to take care of my riders first, and with the flooding I had safety on the mind all day. I even drove out to scout out where the back of the pack was to make sure riding waters didn’t strand anyone!

    Everyone who started (save me) finished – including the gent who shredded his tire @ mile 50. Front of the pack was in @ 5pm, back of the pack just before midnight. Everyone that came in had a smile on their face…!

  3. jim says:

    I’m so glad everyone finished, and Mike you did the right thing.

  4. greg says:

    Thanks again for all of your work getting the Vermont brevet scene going Mike!

    Looking in my crystal ball I see a possible future where others in Vermont take up more of the slack so you can enjoy riding! Central Vermont dirt populaire? Northeast Kingdom Fall 200k?

    I’m sure Anthony and I could do some routing and organizing. Imagine if you could just show up and ride!

    Anyway, it was a great experience and a great bunch of folks.

  5. Steve says:

    Thanks for doing all of the legwork required for these rides. I’m disappointed that they happen so early in the season. There’s just no way that I’d have been ready to ride 300k in April, even the end of April. I’m sorry that it’s being driven by the need to accommodate a schedule that a very small percentage of riders will ultimately see to its end: PBP. Is the intent to grow ridership around here, or to train for something overseas? It’s puzzling to me.

  6. mb says:

    Steve,

    Thanks for the comment. This being a PBP year we are trying to accommodate the schedule required to qualify for Paris. 6 out of 9 riders on the 300k were trying to qualify. Of the 3 that weren’t planning on Paris, 2 had never ridden a 300, and for one rider this season has seen his first 300k and 200k, along with his first century.

    We have a great fall ride at a reasonable distance, and next season we will be back to a spread out schedule.

    And yes, we are working hard to grow ridership here in VT.

    Hopefully we’ll see you on the road!

    Mike