What a hot day! I think this was the hottest day of riding Will and I have ever ridden at D2R2. We rode the 115K route with a few routing changes because I didn't want to lollipop the northern section. The course had three new climbs for us, River Rd, Stage Road, and Pennel Hill, which to me has to be the hardest climb in the area.
It's a good thing we left early because we got to lunch early and from what I heard by noon the lunch stop at the Covered Bridge was fairly picked over. Some other highlights include meeting and riding with Joe Bamburg from New Jersey, cramping on the Patten Hill climb and getting back while the sun is still up.
The Karl's Sausage Kitchen Team rolled out around 7 AM and we headed north. My first route modification bypassed riding through southern part of Greenfield and we got in a little climbing in early on Pretty Plain Road which gave us some more Wandrer miles.
but then there was this really steep section that the three of us walked
that while rough was pretty challenging with rocks and roots, and trying to find the right line
but nothing you couldn't handle
On the Sweet Pond Descent I got ahead of Will and Jason and at the intersection with Jacksonville Stage Road I stopped and waited for them catch up. I waited and waited and then decided to ride back up the hill thinking someone must have gotten a flat. Turns out Jason got one and Will stopped to help him.
Another descent, this one paved, and then we turned onto Carpenter Hill Road in West Guilford
which then turned north onto Barney Hill Road
We rode through a farm that straddled both sides of the road and there was a warning that there could be farm animals in the road but these cows were too busy eating fresh hay
Garmin Climb Pro added a new color to the screen, an orangish red, almost a pink, or maybe it was the light and my delirium affecting my eyes because it was so hot!
on Barrows Road
There was another little kicker after a little descent and finally I got to the turn on Cowpath Rd. I was expecting to find Will saying, "what took you so long?" I am a slow climber, especially this year because I can't seem to shake off the few extra pounds. However, there was no Will and no cell service so I continued back down the mountain and what a wonderful descent it was!
Because of my Routing OCD where I can't stand overlapping a route onto something that I have already ridden earlier I took out the little climb up Carpenter Hill. Same amount of dirt and actually a little more climbing in reality with no lollipop.
The change gave me a wonderful 3 mile decent.
As I was turning onto Green River Road I noticed this big event and I wondered if it was a tractor pull or something. I asked a guy as he was leaving and he said it was a memorial for beloved West Guilford man, Billy Fitzpatrick who recently died of cancer. The whole town must have been present.
I love riding down Green River Road because it's really shady and kind of flat but just enough grade to keep your speed up without having to expend a lot of energy.
If you were doing the 100K and wanted some extra credit you could ride up Green River Rd and then hook around to Hinesburg, then Alkey, down Barney Hill, up Carpenter Hill and then back down to the Covered Bridge.
When I got to the lunch stop I looked around for Will but he was nowhere to be seen. 10 minutes later he showed up saying he missed the turn onto Barrows Road, and just kept climbing Ames Hill. He said next year that is the route we should take and in looking at the map, we can easily come down Cowpath to hook up with the main route again.
There were quite a few riders at the lunch stop but there was no big lines like what we remembered in the past. I guess getting here early was the trick.
I think it was on one of the last Mystery Rides prior to the Pandemic the lunch stop was here and there was a huge line and that's why we usually stuck with 160K or a Mystery Ride whose lunch stop was located with the 160K because of the madness you can find at the Covered Bridge.
I refueled with a Peanut Butter and Jelly, with Fluffernutter and Nutella sandwich, pasta salad, bag of chips and an ice cold coke.
While we were eating a guy we met up with early on who was riding a mountain bike joined us. His name was Joe Bamberg and he is from Ridgewood, NJ. Joe said he came upon Jason again and that he had his third flat already but looking at Jason's Strava he finished the ride without bailing out. Good for him!
When Stage Rd makes a hard right we found ourselves in and amongst 100K route and in the picture above, off in the distance you can just make out a guy standing next to his bike. As I rolled up on him I could tell he was cramping and I knew exactly how he felt after being in that position a few times myself.
Pennel Hill was next and it is the Godzilla of climbs!
I think what makes this climb so tough is coming off Rt 112 you are immediately faced with a 15% grade!
Early into the climb there is a snakey section that was all washboarded out and I had to walk a bit because I couldn't find a line that was even.
While this section is not as steep there is this long, straight climb, where the end is in sight. Reminds me of the 10 mile desert ruck marches I used to have to endure while in the Army. The last mile is always straight to the end and a total mind f#ck because you want to quit but you know you can't.
Looked like there was some weather headed our way as we made our way to the last major climb of the ride, Patten Hill.
The last big climb of the route was Patten Hill. Will and I did this climb a few years back on the 180K and it's also where I met Mike Sager-Robison and Scott Misage. Since then Will and I have been camping out with Mike and Scott and their crew from Hartford and Massachusetts.
I could feel my leg muscles start to grab which is a sure sign that I am about to cramp so Joe and I stopped to stretch and we had some salted licorice that I bring for hot days.
About three quarters of the way up I could feel a leg cramp coming on so I stopped and as soon as I swung my right leg over the bike it seized up. It would seize up two more times before I could walk again.
As I was walking, Monte Frank, a fellow Newtowner and founder of Team 26, came upon me and got off his bike to walk with me a bit. Once I felt like I could ride again we got back on our bikes and started climbing again but the worst of it was over, thankfully.
At the top of the climb I met up with Joe and Will. There was pickle juice and plenty of water but what I really wanted was an ice cold Coca Cola, but there was none to be had. I had to settle for a few ice cubes instead.
I really stuffed my face with bananas, watermelon and sugary snacks for the last 8 miles of the route. Fortunately, I never cramped jury the last leg of the ride.
Fortunately, we just missed the rain but then I remembered that I left all the tent windows open back at camp.
My sleeping bag and poncho liner got a little wet but I put them in the hot sun and they dried out really quickly.
The nice thing is once you make the final little climb it is literally all downhill and flat to the end of the course!
Wandrer total for this ride
That felt so good!
Despite the heat, this was one of the most enjoyable rides in my 9 years of riding at D2R2