The VT 400k is this Saturday. We’ll have 9+ starters for a 258 mile loop around VT, taking in some of the nicest roads from Waterbury to Putney and back. I’ve been in prep mode – bike, route, cues, brevet cards, etc. The route is spectacular – scenic, hilly, twisty fun descents (after twisty climbs) and following some of my favorite roads in northern and southern Vermont. Our halfway point is the West Hill Shop, in my old stomping grounds of Putney. The shop is celebrating their 40th anniversary – so we’ll be able to drop in on good food and cheer as we pass the 200k mark.

I’m in fast (relative!) touring mode for this ride so I mounted up the Ortlieb bags on the IF.

Also had to recoat the Showers Pass jacket! So much rain here this spring…

Been tweaking the Fargo and using it for errands and early morning rides. Loving the ride so far, need to find a sweet spot on position for singletrack and gravel / dirt roads.

Greg’s 300k

Greg has a great post up about his first 300k… he took a ton of photos too (and I snagged these two from him).

Water water everywhere. This was Greg’s first 300k. He did his first 200k on last year’s Lake Champlain ride – pedaling his old converted mountain bike 130 miles in 95 degree temps. The reward for finishing that ride – his new Surly Pacer, which he used to complete the 300k.

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…

VT 200k

I certainly got my money’s worth on the VT 200k. 130 miles, 12.5 hours. A bit slower than I had hoped and planned – but I had a strong first half until something went awry with food intake and stomach. My plan was to ride a stronger second half – the route had the big climbing out of the way by Bristol in the first 40 miles. After the midway point I bloated up and had a hard time taking in water and fuel. I suspect it was some fructose in a bottle of juice I drank at the midway point. I struggled on – reduced to a pretty slow pace over any elevation change – but it was beautiful day to spend on the bike. Early in the year for me too, to take on more than a century in one sitting.

We had 9 starters, and I’ve yet to verify brevet cards – but I’m fairly certain we had 7 finishers. We had 1 DNF due to mechanical, and Greg turned around somewhere after the first control as he was having no fun climbing after a weeks worth of late nights getting a large project finished up.

I took a total of 2 photos, nothing really worth posting other than the line of cyclists at our first control, and a shot of the mountains from the top of any number of ridgelines we crossed. There were ample photo opportunities on the inbound leg – but I kept my head down and the pedals turning.


Seed starts are sprouting and growing. 360+ of peas, corn, beans, chard, watermelon, perennials, strawberries, and more. They are warm and cozy under artificial sunlight in our basement – as our garden is still under 6-8 inches of dirty frozen snow, with more to come – as we will be under a winter storm warning for Thursday and Friday. 6-12 inches of snow across northern Vermont overnight, more in the mountains. Sigh. The VT Champlain Valley 200k Brevet is April 9!

2011 Vermont Brevets (tentative)

2011 will be a big year for our local VT Randonneuring rides. We are running a full series here in VT to accommodate local qualifying for Paris-Brest-Paris. Tentative schedule for 2011 pending RUSA approval is as follows:

4/9/2011 Champlain Valley (route TBD)
200k Brevet RUSA / ACP

4/30/2011, Lake Champlain
300k Brevet RUSA / ACP

5/21/2011 Green Mountains (route TBD)
400k Brevet RUSA / ACP

7/15/2011 Montpelier-Maine-Montpelier (route TBD)
600k RUSA Brevet

10/01/2011, Fall Classic
114k RUSA Populaire
200k RUSA Brevet

ACP Brevets will qualify you for PBP.
Our 600k will be RUSA certified only – and is being offered as a ‘tune-up’ ride for PBP (or any stateside 1200km). It is also available for anyone interested in a challenging ride from Montpelier, VT to Maine and back via the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

We will be adding our Cafe Cruise as a RUSA Populaire sometime in early spring / summer, and are working on a Sunday ‘training+social’ ride series to leave from the Old Spokes Home beginning later this fall and running through the winter and spring – shorter rides in bad weather, with studded tires, and all – as winter allows.

Fall Classic 200k Brevet and 114k Populaire

Thanks for everyone who came out to ride. We had a setting full moon to lead ~30 of us out of town. Lots of hills, lots of color, 6 covered bridges on the 200k and lots of dirt on both routes. This is my favorite time of year in Vermont!

More later…