This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
We left the checkpoint with a good sized group and picked the pace up
as if we were out on a 60 mile ride. We could feel how close we were
and it felt great. A lot of folks look pretty ragged by the end of
this ride, because of lack of sleep or pushing really hard. At the
end, the stories they tell include so much pain and suffering that
both they and their audience wonder WHY.
Sure we suffered some pain, with my stomach problems and John's
tendonitis, but we really had a great time on this ride. The first day
in the rain was really pretty fun for us, especially with our fenders
! We knew that the mountains are real, and we brought appropriate
gearing. Apparently many riders believed that Jennifer Wise, the ride
director, had exaggerated about the long steep climbs, and they didn't
bring adequate gearing. We could have made some serious money selling
freewheels at the base of Middlebury Gap. (Gee, maybe we could finance
RAAM this way ! ) They won't make the same mistake twice.
We also know how fickle New England weather can be, so we came fully
prepared, and took full advantage of the drop bag service, with fresh
clothes awaiting us all along the way. We knew that Thursdays rain
would end, and the rest of the trip would be under more pleasant
conditions, so we simply enjoyed the rain, and pressed on until it
stopped. Then we rode into the spectacularly moonlit evening .
Despite riding these roads many times throughout the year, we always
find something new to see along the way. Once the rain stopped, and we
could see, we took in all the scenery along the way, especially those
parts illuminated by that magical full moon. This really is a
beautiful course and Charlie Lamb and Hauke Kite-Powell, who
originally conceived this ride and laid out the route can be commended
for a job well done.
As we got closer to home, on the roads we knew all too well, we really
just started to have a blast. The temperature was starting to rise,
and the rain that had been predicted was nowhere in sight. The sky was
clear, and the sun was shining down on us. As we approached Sudbury,
about 15-20 miles from the finish, we decided we needed water. Despite
all the congestion, there are very few places to stop as the route
approaches the end. As we were passing by a church, I noticed the
doors were open, so I suggested we could look for water there. We
found a wonderfully cold water fountain, and restrooms. We refilled
camelbaks and cooled down a bit with head dousings, and prepared for
the final assault.
I had joked earlier in the trip, that I wanted to arrive just as the
picnic started, and our timing looked perfect. We were right on target
to pull in just before 3 P.M. We were still riding with the three
riders we had had joined at the final checkpoint, and our group was
greeted with cheering and applause when we reached the final control.
And we joined to crowd to cheer on all the riders arriving after us.
Being one of the first riders to finish simply can't be any fun, since
there are only a couple of folks around to celebrate. Definitely
coming in just before the picnic is perfect timing for maximum
I remember going into this ride, saying that three was enough, and I
would retire, but by the end, I couldn't come up with a reason NOT to
We met quite a few other riders along the way - although given the
different behaviors of tandems and singles, we couldn't always stay
with groups. We really met some great folks, and I'll never forget how
Mark and Charlie kept us laughing when we were feeling so bad. But we
were never alone. We always had each other to support, to talk to, and
to stay awake with. And to celebrate with ! We completed this ride as
a team, working together toward a common goal. Many of the other
participants had spouses or significant others who tolerated their
riding, some who supported it from afar, some supporting them with a
PSV, and a few came along for the ride. I felt so lucky to be able to
share every part of this ride with John. Shared pains are lessened,
shared joys are magnified !
copyright 1994 by Pamela Blalock and John Bayley