So, after the Big Crash in which I wiped out on wet railroad tracks and broke my dominant hand so severely that I wasn't out of the splint until Thanksgiving (and still have nerve damage today), I was feeling a bit beat by the road.
This weekend, it has been one year since the Big Crash. So I returned to Vermont (this time, with M) to ride the ride again.
It was about as different as it could be. I ran into Brian, the really nice guy who was tailing me on a mountain bike and who helped called SAG. I think he also pulled my bike off the road. His wife is also an M, and she's also doing TNT- she's a marathoner!
The weather was GORGEOUS- clean, clear, a little breezy, cool. Basically, the sort of riding weather cyclists sell souls for.
The HydeAway Inn and the owner Margaret were the same as ever- perfect, gracious, cheerful Vermont hospitality. I don't know how many years I will be able to make the Mad River Ride, but she operates in ski season too, and Margaret and her Inn will always have my business. They ROCK! (And make a good breakfast).
My only goal: ride past the crash point and to the next rest stop afterwards.
I rode the first 40 pretty strong. Then psyched myself out for the next ten. Then I saw them:
As I approached, I got off and walked across. (Karmic balance, you know.) And got back on and road to 60 miles where I stopped and ate a few peanut butter sandwiches. The picture above was taken by M. He really wanted a picture with me in it, but I didn't realize I was over 45 minutes ahead of my estimated time. He arrived at the tracks just after 11. I thought I'd be there between 11:15 and 11:30. I breezed by just after 10:30, by our estimates.
At 60 miles, I rested well, but was beginning to worry- I'd been plagued by some slow shifting, and it was getting worse. I knew I had at least 20 miles left in me, but if the shifting didn't ease up, I might have trouble. At 70 miles, my gears locked up completely, stranding me in a high gear- i.e., totally improper for climbing hills! Riding should be fun, and climbing on the big ring in a high gear is not fun. It's painful, and this isn't the event that I need to put my energy into.
At 80-something I saw M's car. I searched him out knowing he had to be in a nearby espresso-serving joint. He got me ice cream. The man knows me. And nothing beats the SAG wagon when it's your own Beetle.
Update: the culprit was a stretched cable. The bike is in for its pre-tri tuneup now!