Vivian and Josh awaiting the 6:00AM start at the Old Spokes Home. These two are remarkable riders and were first to finish.
Looking back across the lake at the Green Mountains
Evening with about 170 miles complete
My newly spray-painted 1984 Fuji Touring Series IV. I love this bike.
My completed brevet card
This ride circled Lake Champlain counter-clockwise -- again starting in Burlington at the Old Spokes Home. It was fun to see some familiar faces there as everyone assembled for the start.
As I wrote previously, riding the 200k was a great confidence boost: I wasn't sure going into it if I'd be able to complete it, much less finish in good time and in reality did so without too much pain or suffering. Going into the 300k was a similar experience: Could I do it? Would I finish with time to spare?
The answer, again, was yes. In fact, the ride felt much like the 200k except the distances were just longer. Mentally it is something of a burden to be staring a cue sheet that has 80 miles or so between controls, but, as always, it seems breaking everything into parts is the solution. Look forward to the right turn on Rt. 22 in 9 miles, look forward to the potentially hazardous metal bridge at such-and-such a point all help to create mini goals the chip away at the bigger picture. There are also the stops in various towns to refuel and get more water that help break things up.
I find my experience on long distance rides alters my experience of time and distance in a really wonderful way; despite the relative slowness of a bike compared to a car, everything still keeps moving and changing and every mile covered is another mile closer to the next control or the end itself. Great distances slip away without feeling it the way one might if one were to drive the route while trying to imagine the experience on a bike.
Fellow rider Anthony rode with me most of the way up through the islands to Rouses Point--nearly touching the Canadian boarder--at which point he took off to catch the lead group and I began a portion of the ride on my own and noticed that I was just a little bored being on my own and knowing I had a long, long way to go. No sooner had I started to feel this then a few Canadian riders started to close in on me and provide some distraction for the next 10 or 15 miles. They kept passing me and I kept pedaling away. They'd stop, and I'd pass them, etc.. almost all the way to Plattsburgh.
Nancy and I did a cyclo-camping tour around the lake a number of years ago so I was familiar with the terrain and wasn't surprised when the hills started south of Plattsburgh.
Around Keesville I happened to pair up with a fellow named Les who was riding without an odometer. Navigating the route from the cue sheet without an odometer would be somewhat challenging, so he stuck with me and it worked out well. Later on a fast downhill he then lost his cue sheet (which had been taped to his bag) and at that point he would have been completely unable to follow the route. If we had been mismatched riders I would have resented his relying on me for the rest of the course, but we were a good pair so we rode the rest of the ride together. It is always nice to have some company through the long miles.
The New York side of the ride offered stellar views across the lake of the Green Mountains and a few lovely summer homes around Essex. There was also a bit of time in the hills that offered just a hint of the Adirondack feel.
Upon entering Vermont we had another 60 or so miles to go before the finish and we plugged away, enjoying the cooler temps of the evening and the beautiful sunset over the lake. Mike Beganyi again organized the event and was there to offer kind words, food, and drink at the end. Mike puts in a lot of effort and time to make all this happen and I feel much gratitude to him for facilitating such a great experience.
You can see some of Mike's photos here.http://www.flickr.com/photos/31827372@N00/sets/72157630097228130/