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Tour de Brew – Part V

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Tour de Brew

While waiting for our Thai takeout in Burlington box mall hell on Saturday night, we took a visit to a book shop. In the book shop, we found a copy of the book Backroad Bicycling In Vermont which we flipped through. Despite some very odd advice (never make a left turn???) the book contained some interesting route ideas. One of them started in Jeffersonville, and went North, missing most of the big hills. This looked ideal for an ‘easy’ day on Sunday, so we noted the route and planned on riding it the next day.

Sunday morning, we took the quick drive from the cabin down to a car pool parking lot on the 104 near Cambridge. It was hot again, so we slathered on the sunscreen and loaded up with water. The ride started off with some excitement–very shortly after we left, we came across a ‘playful’ pitbull puppy. The owners were in their front yard raking or something, and the dog was off-leash. He immediately came after us–just a puppy, but still a pit bull! He wasn’t sure what to make of cyclists, so we were very cautious. He kept coming, baring teeth and heading for the heels as we pedaled. At one point, I even came to a stop and put my hand out to calm him down, but he only growled and backed off a bit, unsure. The owners, naturally, were not very smart, yelling “Scooter, come back” and “Don’t worry, he won’t hurt you”  Of course, they weren’t being  chased by a pit bull with bared teeth, so…

We eventually got by the dog without injury and got our nerves settled. This happened just in time for a vicious (short but steep) climb. It gained 127m in 3.62km, for an average grade of 7% and a max of 12%. The downhill was nasty–twisty and turny, with some sections where road construction had left loose gravel on the road. To add to the excitement, Luke got stung by a bee on the descent, and casually mentioned that his sister has major allergic reactions, and that he “wasn’t sure” if he did or not (luckily he didn’t!) Also, the wind had started to pick up–the forecasted thunderstorm appeared to be on its way! Since the sky was looking very dark and the wind was very strong, we made a call to take cover–you never know what can happen in that kind of weather! The forecast had even called for inch-and-a-half hail, and flash flooding, so we didn’t want to take a chance. Luckily, there was a farm close by, so we went there. After knocking on the door and getting no answer, we decided to just wait out the storm in front of the garage. The wind really picked up, and the rain started. It was wild!  The owners of the farm drove up part-way through our stay, and looked at us quizzically.  However, after explaining the situation, they gave us the OK to wait out the storm in the garage. Luckily the hail never did come, and the storm blew by almost as quickly as it formed. We were back on the road again!

The route took us to Fairfield, where we stopped for a chat. It was decided that Luke, Shawn and Trent would take the road through Fairfield and across to the 108, while Matt and I would go further north, turning at Sheldon and cutting across to the 108 there. We split, planning to meet up at the cars at the end of the ride.  Matt and I absolutely flew to Sheldon–the road was almost all downhill, and there was no traffic to speak of. Amazing! Matt and I stopped at a general store in Sheldon and filled up on Gatorade. It was pretty damn hot and humid!

Typical Scenery North of Jeffersonville

Typical Scenery North of Jeffersonville

The road across to the 108 was also very low traffic and nice–until it turned to gravel! We had not expected the gravel, and weren’t sure how long it would last. It was a bit rough, with some loose sections that were not ideal for skinny tires. We made it through, with some ‘back woods’ moments as we went by some trailers with cars up on blocks out front. Quite the place to be out in spandex and ‘ballet shoes!’ Once we hit the 108, we were back on pavement, and expecting a steady climb all the way back to the car (since the ride so far had been largely downhill.) Oddly enough, this was not the case, and the 108 had very few significant climbs. Unfortunately, however, the surface was not ideal–rough, with cracks and holes everywhere!

As Matt and I rode by a gas station, we noticed bikes leaning up against the wall–it was the guys! We quickly pulled in to the store. Turns out their route also had gravel (more than ours even) and Shawn had split a sidewall on a sharp piece. It took them some time to fix, and he was taking it easy since it was booted. Not nice! We went in the store for some water and a washroom key, and it turned out to be the coldest store in the universe. The air conditioning was cranked so cold that I could barely stand it long enough to get the key and get out! FREEZING!

We rode the rest of the way back as a group, and the road surface got worse as we went. I’ve never seen cracks like it in Ontario or even in Quebec–it was much worse than any road I’ve ridden, to the point of being very unsafe. Fortunately, we made it back without further incident! We ended up the day with a total of 82.2km in 3:02:44 (for an average of 26.91km/hr) and a gain of 942m.

Post ride, we went back to our favourite Vermont Liquor Depot in Jeffersonville to fill up on beer for the evening. While there, we asked a local their recommendation for pizza, and the pointed us the way to a local Jeffersonville shop, so Trent and Shawn went to put in an order. Beer and pizza in hand, we went back to the cabin to chill and eat. Then things got crazy–the second round of thunderstorms rolled in, and the mountains literally disappeared before our eyes as we watched the sheets of rain moving across the valley towards us. Storms in the mountains are intense!

Beer & Pizza

Beer & Pizza

Again, the storm passed pretty quickly and we resumed our beer and pizza. Luke was leaving to head back to Perth, so we said our goodbyes as he packed up. Then, just as Luke was leaving, the third round of storms rolled in. We hoped it would make it down the partly washed-out road from the cabin with no problems!  The porch sitting/pizza eating quickly turned into a scramble for shelter as the rain started hammering down again and the wind threatened to blow all of our hanging clothes away. Then, the power went out! This storm too passed quickly, but the power remained out save for a short blink to give us hope.

Beers for the day included one that turned out to be either my favourite or second favourite of the entire trip – Long Trail Double Bag. There was also a couple of the Trout River Chocolate Oatmeal Stout quaffed, and very much enjoyed. Shawn had the Shock Top Raspberry Wheat which turned out to be one of his favourites of the trip.

The night’s entertainment included a surprise award ceremony that Trent had created–modeled after the jerseys of the Tour de France. However, rather than jerseys, the awards were these guys:

The 2011 Tour de Brew Awards!

The 2011 Tour de Brew Awards!

For the first time in history, the ‘yellow jersey’ was awarded to two people–both Matt and Shawn shared the honours. I took home the polka dots, Luke the Best Young Rider, and Trent the Green. I’m not sure what the little elephant was even for, or who won it…perhaps the guys can refresh my memory?

Part VI will be coming soon and will likely finish off the story of the 2011 Tour de Brew – stay tuned!

 

Series NavigationTour de Brew – Part IVTour de Brew – Part VI

Comments

Comment from Shawn
Time November 14, 2011 at 6:26 am

Oh Scooter you crazy dog… Good times!

Comment from darrencope
Time November 14, 2011 at 7:29 am

haha! Oh yes.. Scooter makes for good memories if nothing else!

Comment from Trent
Time November 16, 2011 at 11:30 am

The Elephant was for most Aggressive. I won it apparently for my descents … on feet and bike.
The green (dog) was the Brew Master award rather than TdF’s less common sprinter version.

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