Compared to the day before when Steven, Paul and myself rode down to the Merritt Parkway and it was in mid 80s all morning, there were clouds of pollen billowing everywhere and I was drenched with sweat. No cramping this time around because I drank a lot of water. Sunday's weather, on the other hand, was down right chilly.
I met up with Gavin and Mike at the registration tent when another Newtowner, Scott, stopped by to say hello. Scott had a bunch a friends meeting him and we all took off together. We stayed together for the first couple of miles but then some guy blew past us in a gold Audi and almost lost control and crashed. This seemed to distract a few of the guys and they missed the first turn. We picked up one guy from their group, a guy named Abe from Norwalk. They all looked like really strong riders so I figured they would catch up to us pretty quickly.
On the climb up Carmel Hill Road (Rt 133) so of those guys Scott's group caught up while we passed a bunch of guys that probably came up from NYC. The overcast conditions gave way broken clouds but the wind kept it chilly.
The first rest stop was exactly 25 miles from the start and I wasn't really hungry. At 1 h 30 min into the ride I tried one of the protein bars that I got at the start. It tasted like compressed cookie dough with chocolate chips in it. We headed off and wound up on the paved road that cuts through White Memorial and then found ourselves in the middle of a Triathlon. Those riders were all going in the opposite direction and we were surprised that a few of them actually waved at us. They had a ton of support from CT State Troopers who were blocking all the intersections and directional markers made with pink tape on the roads. Our course was marked with little yellow arrows which were challenging to find at times but I am not complaining. I had the course in my Garmin.
We arrived at the last stop but didn't even bother going to it because it was co located with Ovens of France (my idea from last year). I was really hungry by the time we got here and so I had something a little substantial and my favorite croissant, the Ham & Cheese.
Arriving back at the Shepaug Recreation area I cracked open a Maybe Both, Pale Lager from Kent Falls Brewing Co, that Mike gave me because he is not a fan of Lagers. It tasted great! Gavin had one, too. All in all, it was a great ride and I look forward to doing again next year. Maybe we'll do the 70+ ride next time.
Here are all the routes.
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