This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
We crossed our first state line descending Grace and found ourselves
on 119 headed toward a beautiful covered bridge. We were riding with
Russel from California, when we passed it. He was thrilled in getting
to see the quaintness of New England. It's one of only two covered
bridges on the route, but there is a lot of beautiful New England
scenery along the way. We only touched a corner of New Hampshire and
quickly crossed the Connecticut River into Brattleboro, Vermont. A few
rolling miles stretched out ahead of us, and just before we reached
Putney, we spied the carrot, uh I mean other tandem with a cling-on
(that's a drafter to non-tandemists). We talked for a while and
jockeyed back and forth until we reached the first control.
David showed that he did know what to do as a crew. When we rolled in,
he pointed out the location of flush toilets in a nearby laundrymat,
and had everything ready for us. We loaded up with fresh water and UE,
and were back on the road after a nice break. We both used Camelbacks
for our water and bottles for the Ultra Energy. When I first tried
a Camelback this year, I was apprehensive, but I don't even notice
it on my back anymore, and I do find that I am much better about
drinking since it is more convenient.
The mileage to the next checkpoint is only 49 miles, but includes
several major climbs, including Andover Ridge and Terrible Mountain.
We eventually named two of the other climbs, but that was on the way
back. We saw Nancy, the woman doing the documentary several times
along this section. The first time she was still setting up and had
not planned for our 45 mph descents. The climbs in the section would
give her plenty of time to set up on later shots. David drove about
halfway out and waited with cameras to get some action shots of us,
OTHER than getting on and off the bike (which is what he would get at
Throughout the summer, we had ridden on most of the course, except for
most of this section, so neither of us remembered much about the climb
over Andover, except that it was tough. Andover has one of those rare
hairpin turns. The folks who built roads in the Northeast saw
mountains and just paved a road right over them. This makes for some
long steep climbs. When we actually see a switchback, it's an
occassion. It's also important to remember for the descent in the dark
on the way back. We saw the other tandem and cling-on as we made
the sharp turn and waved down to them, confirming their fear that
they would be taking the same road!
Who would name a mountain Terrible Mountain? Did Charlie Lamb find
this mountain on the map and devise the route specifically to go over
it because of it's name? Maybe, maybe not, since we did NOT go over
Horrid a few miles later! Actually Terrible really isn't that bad on
the way out. It's only two miles of climbing with 10% grade at the
top. And after 5 miles of climbing Andover, it seems almost easy.
But the backside is a whole different story. It's straight and smooth
and fun to fly down on a tandem. I watched the speedometer as we hit
40, then 50, then 60. And for a brief second I saw 67.3. After that
the tears (or terror) in my eyes blurred everything. (We have no max
speed on the computer, so I have to watch as we do it.)
Some really threatening looking clouds had rolled in and the
temperature had dropped, making that fast descent quite cold. We
reached the checkpoint at the bottom of the hill and I was ready for
some more clothes. I added a jersey and tights and threw my rain
jacket back on the bike. Maybe the skies over Vermont always have
those heavy thick rain clouds hanging over them. It sure seems
like every time we ride up there, they do!
We saw a few familiar faces at the control. We were surprised to see
Lindy, and she appeared not to be feeling well, but then she remounted
the bike and pointed it toward Killington. It had gotten quite cool
and everyone was scrambling for their tights and jackets.
We asked about John, and heard he was still riding. We were hoping
his knees would hold out. Just before we left Ludlow, he rolled in
with a big smile. He had hit 63 coming down. John rode totally
unsupported, didn't even use drop bags. He carried everything with
him in his panniers. When I tried to pick his bike up at the end,
I couldn't believe how much he carried! I don't think it weighed
more than our tandem ...
The next 20 miles would be fast, especially on the tandem, as the road
rolled or climbed gradually towards the base of Killington. We passed
the Gondola and several ski lefts and we climbed Route 100 toward the
summit. There is a dirt road around the mountain that parallels the
river, but we planned to ride every inch of the course and were not at
all tempted by the easier route.