Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 51 / Monday, July 27th / Brattleboro, VT to Manchester, NH / 90 miles

Today was a special day for me. The sky's were sunny, although the humidity was high, it was our last day of any serious climbing (over 6,000 feet) and we were entering New Hampshire, a state where I have many great memories. I have lots of relatives living in NH, our family had a cottage in NH right on Alton Bay, and I got engaged in NH. It feels great to be back in New England. For me, today was the toughest day of climbing because of the steepness of the hills. Sullivan Road was the toughest climb of the day. We went up a 15% grade climb. I was in my lowest gear pushing and pulling the pedals so hard I thought my body was going to explode. If I didn't squeeze out every last oz. of energy and power, the pedals wouldn't cycle around and the alternative is that I would roll backwards and fall. I made it up !

After going up Sullivan Road the decent was fairly steep on a dirt road. They don't call it the cross country challenge for nothing.

The scenery was spectacular as we traveled along a moving stream and saw countless lakes along the way. At our second sag of the day the husband of Judy from the support staff brought us a home prepared lunch, what a treat. But the best treat was seeing my Uncle Bob dresses up like the rest of us ready to ride. He has been an inspiration for me on this trip. He is 76 and still an amazingly strong rider. He makes the hills look like flats. I thought we were going out for an easy ride, however; his pace was a little more intense than I expected. I had to remind him that the Tour de France ended yesterday. Tomorrow Bob will join me again along with my good neighborhood friend Jack.

Tonight was a long night with special awards and an opportunity for each of us to share our experience. A great inspiring, humorous closing. Jim (13) and Marilyn (12) got the award for most flats. I was fortunate to only have 2. The first one came on day 1. My armadillo tires held up well. It's time to hit the sack and get ready for tomorrows final day.

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