Well, we’re currently traversing through the northern tip of Massachusetts (North Adams as I type) on our way back to New York for the week, and as such have finished up our stay in Vermont. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I had a somewhat negative attitude coming in to this trip (as some of you can attest to), but I was pretty nervous about the racing and the weather. Also, I felt out of sorts in a lot of ways. The hives from a few weeks ago have subsided, but I’ve yet to determine the cause. I have had nuts only very sparingly, and aside from eating a cinnamon raisin bagel this morning haven’t had any fruit outside of apples, bananas and apricot. I had OJ yesterday and today.

The idea was to slowly put items back in my diet, but it hasn’t really happened due to the big Pro XC Tour race at Mount Snow yesterday. I was really excited to try some grilled salmon last night as my post-race dinner, but Dos Gringos in West Dover had just run out, so instead I got some totally plain chicken since I didn’t think I could chance the blueberry salsa.

So, back to Vermont. Our trip started out Thursday. We got up like normal for work on Thursday morning around 6 am, put in a full day at the desk, and got out of dodge a little before 4:30 to head south to Lindbergh Field (San Diego airport). Justin dropped off all of our crap and me to watch it, and set off in search of long-term parking.

The airport lot was $16/day, so he kept driving and found a place a few miles away that required a shuttle. Sweet. We still had a TON of time before the plane was set to take off, so no worries. We got our bike boxes and other bags upstairs to the ticket counter to check 3 bags with about 2 hours to spare. It was total airport lull time; security line was EMPTY.

So, we paid for the bikes and our one other bag and proceeded to wait more than an hour for someone to come pick up the bike boxes. The chick behind the counter said we could just leave them, but, um, no. So, we waited. We ate sandwiches, played online, and eventually the bikes were off, so we got in the now long security line.

Still had time, but it was now about 8:30 and we were both on edge and grumpy already. Boarded the plane, inserted the earplugs, got out our travel pillows and tried to nod off. The TV screens came on and kept the cabin really well lit up.

People walked up and down the aisle endlessly like some ridiculous procession in the midnight semi-darkness. My legs felt more weird than ever before. Totally creepy crawly like there were a million ants crawling around under my skin. Everything else itched. I was half worried again about the hives, but it wasn’t the same. I was afraid to look at my watch and see what time it was.

Comfort was not to be mine. Finally I could feel the plane decelerate and we still attempted to get some shut eye while we could. It was still pitch black out the windows, but at least the TV screens had gone black as well. The procession continued on. No beverages or snacks since after take-off, when I had tried to pretend to sleep.

Finally we landed and I couldn’t wait to stand up. I don’t remember much about the airport other than McDonald’s

And walking to one of the extreme far reaches of the New Jersey airport from where we had started, and eventually down into the murky depths of this fluorescently lit purgatory.

Hundred yard stare after essentially being awake for 20 or so hours with no caffeine

We were set to board the plane to Albany I think around 7-something. We eventually heard over the speaker that the plane was on the ground, but there was a mechanical delay and they’d get back to us. About 20 minutes later the same announcement came over. Time was ticking by. Eventually we boarded. We wound up sitting waiting to taxi and take off for I swear an hour. Justin and I fell in an out of consciousness in a semi-half sleep in the bright sun inside the plane, and still we sat.

We got up in the air probably 40 minutes late at least, but made decent time to Albany and were off the plane before we knew it.

We were hungry and in need of caffeine, so we by-passed Starbucks and headed for McD’s. Seriously.

Then it was time to collect our bags (we’d seen them take the bike boxes off the small plane) and call to get picked up for our rental car. We were both itching to get on the road to VT!

Way more room than the Jeep in COS

The sky was gorgeous and blue, so I was stoked

Eventually we were in need of water and some food, but we got a little lost. We don’t have a true navigation GPS or a smart phone, so were navigating by the sometimes imperfect Edge 705. But, we did get to see this cool monument

We stopped in at a convenience store and picked up some cereal, water, and snacks.

Getting close now

We got to the motel early, checked in, and Justin headed out to the barn/bike room to start building up bikes!

Naturally, I went straight for the wifi

Once the bikes were built up we got into our kits and pedaled down the road to the venue to pick up our registration packets, try to get some help with Justin’s rear brake line, and head out on the course. The guys at Specialized offered to help with a brake bleed, but he had to borrow a syringe and fluid from the Subaru/Gary Fisher team. Those guys were AWESOME all weekend. They were helping out a lot of racers that had flown and needed odds and ends that the shop at the mountain just didn’t have to sell. We borrowed a C02 big air and nozzle from them also and hooked them up with a few Dogfish Head IPA’s in thanks, and will likely drop off some more next weekend!

Heather’s new National Champ bike

Vermont mud – post-ride!

Course was fun, but I couldn’t find a line to save my life! We debated for about 5 minutes whether or not to do a 2nd lap. I decided it would probably do more harm than good, for me, since I was totally sleep deprived and hungry.

We showered up and headed toward the restaurants of Dover, and settled on TC’s. It is home to Kelly Clark’s Olympic Gold Medal from the 2002 Winter Olympics. Pretty cool!

We got back to the room, put in ear plugs and tried to sleep.

Next morning we were up and at’em early since Justin’s race started at 8 am. He had to have the innkeeper’s unlock the barn to get out the bikes and after we had a bowl of cereal we headed up to the venue.

He realized right away I had neglected to grab our timing chips, so I high-tailed it back to the Inn to pick them up while he spun around. Not the best warm-up situation for him (he didn’t grab a bottle, was in warm-ups, etc.), but I got back and grabbed about 18oz of coffee, downed it, and felt great.

Time to stage!

I waited around for his start to get a few pics, and then was going to head to the feed zone to switch out his warm-up bottle for one of his race bottles.

We met Bruce Dickman from the SE Friday, and he was cool enough to cheer us both on during our races! Great announcing for sure.

We had grabbed a veggie burger from this stand Friday evening before dinner, and their coffee was stellar

Justin was in the top 1/3 of the Cat 1 field every time I saw him, but due to a mass start and no leg markings, it was impossible to tell where he sat in his class. He wasn’t looking under pressure, but not stoked either. It was around 8:45 after I gave him his fresh bottle, and then I headed back to the truck to make myself a pre-race sandwich and make him one for post-race. I was starving!

After eating mine, I headed right up near where we were parked to get a shot of him on the first climb. I waited, and waited, and waited. I thought maybe I had messed up the timing and he had gone by, but, no. I thought I recognized guys he had been riding with. I didn’t want to leave and miss him, but if he had a problem then he’d be over by the start/finish, so I headed there and eventually saw him.

I chilled in the truck for a bit before my start

Then it was time to warm-up! I decided to stay off the dirt to keep the drivetrain as fresh as possible for the race, so just warmed up around the mountain on the roads.

Time to stage.

I was 19th call-up, which meant I got to stage in the forward block. Lots of women with UCI points were there! Quite a few new names as well, so I was stoked.

I clipped in fine, but wasn’t able to get a very good start. Just really couldn’t hang on to the initial acceleration, and wound up losing a few spots on the initial climb.

Making my way around

Feed zone!

Coming around again

I kept putting in efforts to pass these two women I was going back and forth with, and then they’d be right back on me. I think my fitness was good for the race, but since I didn’t know the course it was holding me back a little. Eventually on lap 3, after I had had a really close encounter with my saddle (my groin muscle actually pushed it forward almost an inch on the rails) and I had kept the muscle warm enough to keep moving, I finally found some lines. Some of the spectators were calling out the cleaner ways to go, which was awesome. So, finally I was able to stay on the bike a bit more through the wet roots and rocks!

Eventually, laps 3-4 I wound up putting in some big efforts and passed about 4-5 women. I was stoked. I had one final rabbit, and I knew she was in the same boat I was (tapped). I got close, but just couldn’t make it happen in the final 500m.

Came across the line 14th, and knew I couldn’t have put forth any more effort than I did.

I spun around a bit, coughing like crazy cause my lungs were just fried, then we went over to hose me and the bike down. I was a mess! Got dried off, had my recovery drink, and sat down for a snack.

Stoneyfield and Bear Naked should make babies.

We went over to chat with the Specialized demo truck, and decided to borrow some road bikes for Sunday. Nice! I was stoked to try out a Ruby Pro.

Then it was time to spectate some pro men’s racing.

National Champ kit

We were getting hungry and needed to drop off the mountain bikes at the Inn to come get the road bikes, so we hightailed it out of there after the top men finished off.

Was stoked that Sid and Sam J both got top 10s!

Was ict los?

Road bikes are cool.

We showered up and decided on Dos Gringo’s for dinner. It smelled really good.
The margaritas were decent!

The Keoke coffee was a bit too Grand Marnier-ish and not enough Kahula-ish, but it was good stuff too

We stopped off at the local market again to see if we could snag a second maple muffin, but they were all out. We did pick up a Reese’s Peanut Butter cookie, though, and it was amazing.

We got to bed at a decent hour, after I did a bunch of photo edits (see above!), and I got up fairly early on Sunday morning since I couldn’t sleep. I knew we had a ton of work to do and it was also a travel day. Plus, Justin had picked out a road ride loop for us and said it was around 41 miles and 2700ft of climbing. That meant it’d be around a century with over 3000ft of climbing at least!

After we got up we headed down the hall to breakfast, which was amazing. I couldn’t eat much of the cooked food due to the possible allergy, so I made myself some instant oatmeal, and a peanut butter and apple jam cinnamon raisin bagel. YUM. I shared a side of scrambled eggs with Justin, and was super full. I knew it’d be good fuel for the ride!

Unfortunately the cranks on the Tarmac Justin was demoing were totally stripped, so he didn’t want to risk ruining his Crankbrother pedals, so just decided to ride his Stumpy HT while I was on the Ruby Pro. I knew he’d keep up just fine!


We hit the road and he proceeded to drop me like a bad habit on the first climb!

We rode along happily for awhile after the first climb, and then descended FOREVER. It was awesome! I slowed up at one point to tell Justin that descending on a road bike was refreshingly exhilarating. It was the best term I could come up with to describe that feeling of rocketing down a road on a light bike.

We were really excited to ride through Podunk, but there wasn’t a sign other than this one!

I started to get kind of cranky and knew that we had a ton of climbing left to do. We had started out around 2,000ft and were riding around at 450-500ft. And nothing was going uphill for very long before it would descend again!

The longest wooden span in Vermont!

I almost killed Justin right after this by hitting the brakes when my calipers were open

We finally started our massive climb back out and up to Dover. It was ceaseless. My legs were fried.

I was so stoked when we finally make it back to 100 that I kicked it in high gear and dropped Justin, so I waited up. We got back to the Inn pretty quickly only having “suffered” minor sprinkles. Stoked cause the Innkeepers were saying rain/thunderstorms all day!

After packing up in the sprinkles we headed out and stopped at Adam’s Family Farms for some maple

Got fudge and coffee!

The drive was really pretty through VT

We approached a state line and while I expected NY, we had entered Massachusetts!

North Adam’s looked like an awesome little town with a cool college

Then it was on to New York!

The rural roads were pretty, and empty, and “stuff” was few and far between

We arrived at Justin’s aunt’s house to the smell of wonderful Italian cooking!

After getting a little more settled and playing on the internet we hung out on the porch until the mosquitoes got too bad

Then it was off to bed since we had plans to hit up New York CITY in the morning.