With only a week to go before driving west towards the start of our summer on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, we hit pause on packing up our apartment and set sail for Burlington, VT. We chose Burlington primarily because Charity, Casey, and Julie were running the Vermont City Marathon, but also because we had set aside time to test ourselves and our gear on a last-minute shakeout tour. The route we rode is known as the Green Mountain Gravel Growler, and is composed of 250 miles of Vermont dirt roads and singletrack-goodness. We only had 3 days for the ride, so we planned to ride a 100 mile sub-loop.
This picture makes me laugh every time I see it, knowing that this was only his second day skiing ever. He had a good fall on the trail right before this (probably a blue circle), so that didn’t help his confidence, but he followed us to the precipice and then butt-slid all the way down like a champ!
It may be uglier than a glass slipper, but this comfortable shoe was well loved for its short life. Rachel dropped it sometime after lunch. Once noticed, her Prince Charming retraced the route for nine miles, to no avail. Luckily, it’s the only item we’ve lost so far.
The day began at Lyle & Ellen’s with gourmet breakfast sandwiches.
Today, we took the first major detour from the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier route, but with good reason: the promise of good company and a soft bed on which to rest our weary bodies.
We started our day in Rochester, VT with coffee and huge donuts. A sweet woman pulled up in her car as we were munching on our treats to ask about our trip and provide encouragement based on her own experience riding across the country a few years prior. She said that up ahead, while crossing Breadloaf Mountain, “It feels like you might tip over backwards, but it’s not bad at all!”
Later, when we were huffing and puffing at that very spot, she happened to pass by in her car and gave us a round of honks for additional encouragement.
Today was the most difficult day for me so far. It was cold and windy when we got out of the tent in the morning, and that never changed. The morning involved a few decent climbs (and on the flip side, very cold descents) but then the rest of the day consisted of rolling hills along the White River while fighting a constant headwind.