Vermont In A Day

Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
Trip End Jul 26, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Vermont
Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sorry for the brevity of this post. For a number of reasons which I may or may not find the time to elaborate on, I'm getting a very late start on blogging tonight. It's already 10:30 pm and I'm typically well asleep by this time.

*It's now 11:21 and I'm adding that I've finished the post and I won't be proof reading it. Goodnight.*

Today was an absolutely beautiful day. It is fitting, since Vermont is an absolutely beautiful state. We rode through the Green Mountain National Forest, up and over Hogback Mountain, and through a number of picture perfect Vermont towns. We almost made it across the entire state of New York without getting rained on. Apparently it always rains on the riders in New York so our ride was going to be a special exception. Unfortunately Judy blogged last night that we had made it across rain-free, so of course it rained a little this morning as we left the state.

Scott and Jon have been having a mini race series on the latter half of this trip and some of the more significant races are to state lines. I've never really been involved in the races, but I did make an attempt at New York and got slaughtered. Today, due to the fact that he doesn't ride with a bike computer or a cue sheet, Scott was victim to some misinformation from Pam that wasn't delivered with ill intent. He ended up racing for the Vermont border 12 miles too soon and burning himself out a little. When we got near the actual border I made an early attack and neither Scott nor Jon responded. I like to think that my acceleration out of the line was so great they gave up any chance of catching me as soon as I blew past... but they hold that they had decided not to race.

The next big cycling event of the day was some serious climbing. We had an eight mile climb with a decent grade a few miles after the border. I hung with Scott and Jon for a while but when I was having some shifting trouble they dropped me. I feel back a few hundred yards and stayed there for a few miles. Scott was constantly looking back to check my position and it felt like he was really pushing the pace on the climb. As we were nearing the top of the climb, but hadn't quite arrived, there was a bit of a false summit. Judy was parked there with the van and Dad, who had left the SAG earlier, was already there getting water. Scott and Jon arrived first and stopped at the van. As I rolled up shortly thereafter, I heard Judy tell them it wasn't the end of the climbing. I took that as my opportunity to sprint past and be the first up the mountain as well. Unfortunately there was no official summit for this climb so there was nowhere for me to hang out and gloat about "brains over brawn" or anything like that.

Instead I rode straight over the top and down the other side by myself. It's a good thing I was alone or I may have been yelled at by my dad. I hit 52.5 miles per hour on my bike going down the hill. I love these steep Vermont mountains. That is far and away the fastest I've ever been on my bike. I think the speed limit was 50. It was incredible to say the least.

Brattleboro is a crunchy, organic, hipster town. It is a very pretty town and it has a lot of cool shops; however, it is packed to the limit with "artsy" counter-cultural people who somehow all look the same. I'm not hating on hipsters here, I'm just commenting that they were out in full force in Brattleboro this afternoon... greenpeace street harassers and everything. We had a great lunch (sandwiches and smoothies) at The Works. We also checked out a great bike shop unofficially labeled the "Wheel Good Bike Shop."

After lunch, Dad and I sneakily rode past the hotel and over the bridge into New Hampshire for my second state line victory of the day. It was pretty cool to have ridden into, across, and out of Vermont in the same day. Granted, we rode across the skinniest part.

The best part about today, and the reason I'm so late in writing this blog, was having dinner with Dan's parents. For those at home, Dan is one of my best friends at Gordon and he lived with my in our apartment last semester. We have a lot of fun together doing adventurous stuff and since he lives a few hours away from school and only fifteen minutes from tonight's hotel his house is a perfect base camp. I've been to his house on at least a dozen occasions to snowboard, wakeboard, hike, snowshoe, kayak, or attend pumpkin fest. His parents are the nicest people in the world and I sometimes feel like they are my "college parents" since I can't really go home on the weekends. They take great care of me whenever we come up to visit. I was visiting them around Easter when I told them I would be passing through on my cross country bike trip.

They picked my dad, brother and me up at our hotel and took us out to dinner tonight at the Putney Inn. Dan is still in Haiti working his summer internship. ABB dinner was scheduled for a Ninety-Nine restaurant which I was dreading. I am getting very sick of generic American restaurant food (Perkins, Applebee's, Cooker, Bob Evans, Sizzler, Hometown Buffet, Golden Corral, etc...) so getting to check out a local favorite was awesome. I love Dan's parents and we had a great time at dinner tonight. Apparently there was a new cook at the Putney Inn and he was unbelievably slow, but when the food came out it was great.  The wait would have been my only complaint but I had such good company it wasn't a problem at all.

Spending time with my "college parents" has kind of made me excited to get back to school. I've been completely wrapped up in the bike trip for the last 50 days but as it's winding down I'm starting to look forward and I'm getting excited. It's probably a bad thing to say but I'm very ready to be done with this trip. I asked Dan's dad about a better route for tomorrow since the one ABB has for us looks absolutely ridiculous. With his help we seem to have been able to reduce an 85 mile ride to Manchester to a 71 mile ride and according to our mapping website, it appears we will have reduced a 6000ft climbing day to a 4000ft. This may sound like us cutting corners at the end of the trip... and literally that's exactly what we're doing... but it doesn't cheapen the ride at all. The point is to get across the country and that's almost exactly what we've done.


Distance: 81.14 mi - 3,763.98 total
Time: 05:16:50 - 248:36:19 total
Elevation Gain: 4,845 ft - 113,585 total
Av. Speed: 15.4 mph - 15.1 overall
Av. HR: 132 bpm - 125 overall
Calories: 6,343 - 249,286 total

Flat Tire Count:
Scott - 11
Stephen - 5
Mark - 4

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the McMullens on

We miss you all and look forward to seeing you VERY soon! Congrats on making your goals come true. This is a summer that will match no other.. until maybe next year...

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