Day 47 – Troy, NY, to Brattleboro, VT, 73.7 miles (scheduled), 90.09 (actual), 5,289 ft of elevation gain (scheduled), 6,010 ft of elevation gain (actual).
Once again the weather played mind games with us; we were not sure if we needed rain gear or not, and the temperature was forecasted as rather chilly. I decided to begin with leggings and my waterproof jacket, figuring I could take them off if necessary. And right out of town, we started our first climb – a fairly long, steady climb, so the jacket came off as my core temp increased. In fact, according to the Garmin bike computer there was a total of 8 climbs today,. The most challenging was a 9.5-mile climb of 4.4% grade, that just seemed to go on, and on, and on. At one point the Garmin was indicating an 11% grade on this climb, (as occasionally there’s a steep section that does not make its way into the overview of the climb stats). This was also one of those climbs where you cannot see the top of the mountain, due to the low overcast clouds obstructing the top (ie. what pilots would call a “low ceiling”). Regardless, we got it done. Then, after a respite of flat roadway, we ascended to the top of Hogback Mountain, a 2,300+ ft climb. And, since we’d done some climbing and were now in the fog, it was quite cold and rainy. As we neared the top of HBM, we discovered the road was in the process of getting resurfaced, and the crew had ground the old pavement off, but had not laid the new surface down. So we finished the last 1.5 miles to the peak on a very rough surface. There was a souvenir shop there, and the bike tour company was having all of us stop as they were assessing an issue with the road ahead. Apparently, the repaving project had made the road beyond the souvenir shop too dangerous for bike traffic. We waited for about 45 minutes in the shop while an alternate route was located (at least it was warm in the building!). Finally, the tour company had located an alternative route which included descending back down the mountain road we’d just climbed, and once at the bottom, take another route around the mountain – with it’s own set of climbs.
The whole process added about 16 more miles to our day, and we arrived at the hotel much later than planned. Fortunately, the rooms at the hotel were ready and the showers were good and hot.
Tomorrow is our final day of “hard core” riding; we make a 92 mile run to Burlington, on the outskirts of Boston, then Friday morning, the 18 mile sprint to Revere Beach! The super awesome thing is Amy and the boys will be there to meet me when I roll in tomorrow afternoon! Can’t wait to see them!