This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
As we rode out, we saw several large packs of 8-10 riders coming in.
We kept an eye out for John, who was easy to spot in his Ireland
jersey. He was still smiling and appeared to be having a great time.
We honked and waved to everyone.
I hoped that the pain would go away, took some more ibuprofen and we
continued back toward the border. We stopped to buy some linament and
a cola. In addition to the pain in my foot, I was feeling sleepy, so I
also took a caffeine pill. We stopped a few miles later to try
changing my cleats. I had arc cleats with me and we decided that the
rotation might help. It didn't. Nothing did, including the ibuprofen I
took every 8 miles on the way back. My heart really started to break
as I thought about the possibility of not finishing the ride due to
whatever this was. The pain just stayed. Pressure seemed to help, so
we stood more, but after a while nothing helped. The wind shifted on
us, giving us more headwinds and crosswinds to fight all the way back.
We saw a group from Cape Cod. This group of seven had trained together
and planned to do the event Audax style, which meant they would stay
together as a group. At least one rider had dropped and they looked
tired. They did have the advantage of a tailwind part of the time, but
still had the same crosswinds we were fighting.
We went through customs quickly and made our way back to the
checkpoint, where I knew our ride would be over. I got off the bike in
tears, not from the pain, but from the thought that after all we had
been through this year, that we would not make it because of some
lousy tendonitis! Jeff Vogel, one of the ride organizers approached
with a camera, but then tried to help. They all knew the heartache I
must be feeling. I sat down and drank some juice and started icing my
foot with a pack of frozen peas. These work well because they conform
to the shape of whatever you are icing. I usually keep some around for
my knees. I asked if we could find a doctor who might be able to help
with a shot or something. A doctor from a volunteer rescue squad
across the street looked at it and said it was my achilles. After
lots of calls to area hospitals, the answers were all the same. Get
off the bike, rest it and maybe I'd be able to ride again in
September. If I went in, they would make me wait until morning for any
kind of treatment.
I could not and would not accept this. We had planned to continue on
to Burlington, VT that evening and I wanted to press on. I had so much
caffeine in me, I could not sleep. I tried for a while and gave up.
After keeping the foot elevated and iced for a while, it had seemed to
stop hurting, so I told Steve I wanted to try for Burlington. The
terrain between Rouses Point and Burlington was not bad and I thought
we could make it easily. We had already wasted 2 hours in Montreal and
2 hours in Rouses Point and I felt that we would never make it back to
Middlebury if we didn't leave then. I did not realize at the time that
we had ridden so fast that we had an enormous buffer. We had until
3:30 pm Saturday to ride 66 miles to Middlebury. It was already dark,
so we put on a fresh battery and rolled out. David promised to stay
close, hopscotching around us in case we had problems.
Before I got back on the bike, my foot started hurting again, but I
tried to hide my hobbling and lied to Steve and David about the pain.
The first pedal stroke hurt and the next one and the next one. But I
wanted to keep trying. We crossed the bridge back into New York and
discovered our "fresh" battery was dead. We turned on the backup
Sanyo, but Steve didn't feel comfortable with it, so we stopped and
waited on the side of the road for David to come with another new
battery. After what seemed like an eternity, he arrived and we tried
another battery. He decided to start labeling used and charged
batteries better. Maybe next time, we will shell out the $200 for the
20 hour battery. We started moving again, and I began praying and
pleading that the pain would go away. I'm not sure I've ever wanted to
complete a ride as badly as I did this one, and I just didn't know how
to handle this situation.
Steve and I talked lots with me constantly apologizing and him trying
to reassure me. Finally we decided to stop, mark our point of
departure, get in the van and drive to Burlington to sleep and then
return in the morning to resume. Unfortunately David was nowhere near
and we had to ride another agonizing 5 miles to get to him. We then
explained that 5 minutes in the car was NOT the same as 5 minutes on
We had so much stuff in the van that we had to unload the van to get
the tandem in the back and then reload. Then I had to sit on Steve's
lap for the hour long ride to the hotel where we had reservations. I
fell asleep on the ride. When I got out of the van, I could not even
walk anymore. I limped up to the room and looked at my now black and
blue swollen ankle and realized that it really was over. And so were
all the rides in September too. I crawled into bed and went to sleep.
The next morning the sun pushed it's way in through the spaces in the
curtains to wake me at 8AM. I got up and walked, that's walked, not
hobbled, to the bathroom. I was thirsty and went down to the lobby for
a soda. I found a continental breakfast with coffee, juice, and
muffins. I loaded a tray with enough for three people and headed back
upstairs. I felt great. We started talking about getting back on the
bike. We finally decided to drive back to where we stopped and start
again there. We unloaded the van, pulled out the bike and let David
reload the van. I honestly did not really believe that the pain would
not return, so I figured we would probably only ride a few more miles.
I rubbed some Mineral Ice into my ankle and we rolled off, carefully
at first, but then we started standing and pushing more.
A few miles down the road, we stopped and hooked up the front brake.
We have a running joke about this being the reason my hair has
turned so white.
I started using more and more vasoline to try to stay on the saddle,
but was experiencing more and more discomfort. I have a Terry saddle,
the kind with the hole that is covered in foam, but I started to
realize that I needed the hole with no foam. I knew that Miyata made a
saddle like this but had not tried it. When we next saw David, I told
him he was about to hear his first really strange request. I described
the saddle and asked him to call the shops in Burlington. 20 miles
later David met us on the side of the road holding up the saddle. We
decided to wait until Middlebury to put it on, since we might be close
making the closing time. We rolled into Middlebury at 2:30PM, an hour
before closing time and much to everyone's surprise. I put the new
saddle on and fell in love when I tried it out. I just can't say enough
about how much I loved my new saddle. The Terry has been great, but
the Miyata is my new saddle of choice for double centuries and beyond!
I was given a note from Jeff Vogel, wishing me luck if I was still
going and saying that no one would be making dumb blonde jokes if I
had stopped. I guess that meant I could except dumb blonde jokes at
I took my shoes off, and while my ankle was swollen tremendously, it
did not hurt. I applied more Mineral Ice, took some more Ibuprofen and
walked down to the gym to rest a while. There were a few riders still
at the gym when we arrived including a much smaller group of riders
from Cape Cod than had started. Seven had started and they were now
down to three, one woman and two men. We wished them luck and watched
them roll out for the first of the 4 big climbs on the way home. We
took almost an hour break there, but hopped on the bike and started
The climb up the Gap was ahead. This side has a really awful (15%)
pitch at the bottom, then it's gradual, then steeper, then gawdawful
for a mile to the top. The total climb is 10 miles. I was still
paranoid about my foot and didn't want to stress it too much so we
talked about walking the 2 tenths of 15% and then just seeing what
happened. I probably would have ridden all the way, had the chain not
fallen off, but I took it as a sign. It was also at this point that we
encountered another patch of fresh pavement. So I walked up the left
shoulder, while Steve rode the bike alone. Of course right then Hauke
drove past in the main sag vehicle to see it all. He offered me a
ride, but I said I would do every inch of the course. Fortunately I
have this great pair of Avia shoes with recessed look cleats so I can
comfortably and safely walk up hills and around checkpoints. I got
back on the bike after the two tenths of a mile and we rode all the
rest of the way to the top.
By the time we reached the finish, the story had grown to saying that
Steve rode all of Middlebury and all of Terrible by himself! This
absolutely is NOT true! And in the short distance Steve did ride
alone, he came to appreciate my contribution enormously! He decided
not to attempt it again (on a steep hill at least)