Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Vermont Fall Classic on a Nordavinden

Excerpts from Lovely Bicycle! blog:

I loved the texture of the dirt roads under my tires and experienced an intense flow of pure unbridled happiness to be riding on such roads again. Uphill, downhill, loose, soft, slushy, I loved it all. No fear, just an unbelievable endorphin rush. I got into a rhythm where my legs spun effortlessly, my body on the bike felt weightless, and overall everything just seemed so free and limitless and utterly perfect that I could hardly feel the ground beneath me. ... I've had glimpses into this high on previous rides, but now it was as if a dam broke and an intense bliss flooded my senses. And I know it's just a chemical thing; it's not magical or metaphysical. But try telling yourself that as you are flying up a dirt road straight into a cloud of mist through tunnels of gold and magenta.

I finished over an hour behind schedule, thus unofficially completing the course with some extra mileage tacked on, for a total of 82 miles (132k) with over 50% dirt and over 6,000 feet of climbing. With all of these factors combined, plus heavy rain for the final third of the way, this was the hardest ride I have done to date. It was also the most enjoyable. ... At the finish I wasn't tired. I chatted with the 100k finishers and friends of the 200k riders as we waited for the latter group to arrive. I learned that a number of riders abandoned, finding the conditions unpleasant.

As we discussed the ride, we all seemed to agree that the climbing did not feel as tough as we'd expected. It was more or less constant, but it was also well distributed. Some said they found the dirt challenging once it started to rain, but this may have been due to tire choice. I was very comfortable on these particular dirt roads in the rain.

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