Another Top 5 day in my history of riding a bike! Weather...spectacular, scenery...spectacular, company...goofy as usual!
We left the hotel in Amsterdam this morning with about 15. Our plan was to ride hard on the connecting legs between towns and then take it easy and recover once we were in town. Our first hard effort seperated us from the group...Judd, me, Shane and Rob. We kept the pace up the first 16 miles into Milton, NY, where we slowed for some "recovery sightseeing". Then cranked it back up until we got to Ballston Spa. This is Saratoga County...big time horse country. Beautiful rolling hills of the greenest grass I have ever seen. Plenty of hills to make this a workout! We stuck with the plan til the first SAG at 40 miles...when we lost Shane. Shane is one of the ride leaders...and sometimes has to interupt his ride with official duties. He's great to have along as the 4th guy gives you a longer break between pulls at the front. The town of Hoosick got Rob and I started on another laugh-fest that lasted for miles! "Hoosick?"..."I'm not sick...you sick?" A modern day Abbott & Costello...ha! Rolled thru beautiful Bennignton,VT and then the "10 mile climb". Rob is a climbing machine...so the agreement was we'd regroup at the top. When I got to the top, Rob was waiting and we decided to have a little fun at Judd's expense. We hid behind a house just off the route. (Thanks for the idea Beasterling!!) Once he passed us we slipped in behind him. It was clear he was not happy we had left him....but pretty funny once he knew what had happened!! The climbs today were really tough. It's one thing doing 122 miles on legs that have been working so hard for so long...it's another thing to add in a couple thousand feet of climbing. Today we had a a bunch of small tough climbs, the 10-miler, a 4-miler and a couple 3-milers...and it got pretty hot just to make it interesting! Some screaming descents to help cool us off. We stopped at a bike shop in Brattleboro...a hopping little town that seems to love the outdoors. Lot's of kayaking, mountaineering, snow skiing & boarding and bike related outfitters. Looks like a fun place now...not sure I'd be able to handle it in the winter! Had a locally made root beer while Rob changed out a broken water bottle cage. We crossed into New Hamshire to get to tonight's hotel in Keene,NH. Tomorrow is the end! It will be another tough day. Some 15% climbs right out of Keene and then rollers most of the way to the Atlantic.
Today was great day to reflect on this trip. It's late and I have another 130 miles to ride tomorrow! So, I won't wax on too philosophically. We rode hard to test our legs...and we are all much stronger than when we started. I know I have become so much more aware of things around me...the sound of the water in the stream next to the road, the fresh smells that came from the Hudson Valley forest...the color of the sky and the amazing green of the hills. It has been a truly amazing experience! I am thankful to be blessed with the health to accomplish this journey...but mostly, I am grateful to my incredibly supportive and beautiful wife, Katie! Without her encouragement and support I would never have been able to do this. I love you Katie and can't wait to see you!
Shane, Rob, Judd and I...on our early get-away today!
Downtown Valley Falls,NY
We crossed the Hudson River and entered the Hudson River forest. A breathtakingly beautiful ride along the river...shrouded by trees.
Some really beautiful scenery today!
My good buddy "A.J." from the UK. This guy has powered his way across the USA...completely by himself! Most of us have ridden in small groups that make battling the headwinds considerably easier. A.J. just churns out the miles...and he does it on a 30lb bike!! He's my hero!