So yeah on Thursday it was 200 on 100 party time. In addition to Ben Wolfe and Chris Lyman, Ted and Tim decided it would be “fun” to invite their pal Guillaume Boivin (of “winning Canadian road nationals four days prior” fame) to join us.
The mayor of Chandyland decided it would be a nice to welcome our northern neighbor by comparing his win at road nationals to winning Ninigret.
Guillaume doesn’t know what Ninigret is, but he was able to infer it was an insult by everyone’s reaction.
(don’t worry folks, Chan pays)
We spent the night making piles o’ rice cakes, Periscoping dumbness, and I particularly enjoyed being around a 22 year old, because I am old and the continuous joy and wonder of a 22 year old is refreshing and also rage-inducing.
So then it was wakeup time, someone decided it was a super idea to put maple syrup IN THE COFFEE GROUNDS in the coffee maker, which obviously caused the syrup to become thick and clog the filter and back up coffee all over the counter at 5 a.m. before a 200 and something mile ride THANKS NAMELESS PERSON WHO LOVES MAPLE SYRUP.
I ate three eggs. And maybe some of the weird leftover Skratch cookies we tried to make that Ben totally screwed up because he’s 22. I think I drank some coffee.
Please note that there will be no pictures from me of the actual ride because my phone is dumb. Ted posted some, but I’m not really featured, send me an email if you want some pixxxxxx.
We got to the border at North Troy at 6 a.m. There is a photo from the first year just like this, maybe Chandler has it. I certainly don’t. I don’t know where my photos from 2011 went. GOOD WORK RYAN.
Then we started riding.
And as soon as Guillaume got to the front I realized “oh dear this is not going to work out well for me and my 7 hours a week of training but maybe at the halfway mark there will be an Excel challenge and the winner gets bonus food and I’ll certainly win that?”
I kept my pulls to 2 – 3 minutes, as did Andrew Gardner (aka AG), because we have jobs that do not involve crushing it on the bike every day or being a professional fit person. Chan was smart, and kept himself on the back, muttering about how screwed he was.
We covered the first 100 miles with an average speed of 24 miles per hour. With a head wind.
Which makes sense, as the first 100 miles is less climby, and also every time Guillaume went to the front we were going THIRTY MILES AN HOUR and he would pull for about FIFTEEN MINUTES and then he would come back into the rotation with a shit-eating grin on his face because he was clearly having fun and that dude just loves riding bikes and making me feel like garbage.
I also nailed a pothole at 30 and flatted, killing my S-WORKS TURBO tires which makes me sad.
And yes I rode tires that have a lifespan of 800 miles on a 200 mile ride because I needed every advantage I could get.
ALSO I flatted five times total. Not a great day for me (thanks Chaz for keeping me moving!)
The first 50 miles of this ride was also the worst pavement-wise.
At some point we picked up a gaggle of 1k2go’ers, and eventually ASG and Carl, I don’t even know where or for how long because I was at the front trying to reconcile how much fun Guillaume was apparently having with how terrified I was of him keeping this pace up.
My body started throwing up warnings on the climb into Killington (around mile 106). A few cramps, getting gapped off the group and realizing I should probably not see the front for a while.
Obviously we were hammering from there until the climb out of Ludlow, which I remembered from 2011 as being the really terrible one, and there was some cramping and some stomach distress. Chan had decided (or was told by his body) to go hang out in the car, and he gave me a Red Bull Cola which has GINGER in it, which helped me keep my stomach together.
I think we picked up Elle Anderson on this climb. She asked me how I was doing, to which I responded “Generally good, but at the moment pretty terrible.”
After Ludlow is a nice descent into the town of Weston, which you may remember from “Ryan Starts Acting ‘Odd'” in the 2011 video.
Well, I was probably 80% of the way to being that cracked this year. My IT band was killing me, I’d started cramping (which is not a frequent occurrence for me, but neither is riding 200 miles), and the only food I’d been grabbing from the car had been rice cakes. Which, while good, were starting to get old and destroy my stomach.
So I had an iced coffee, and a Red Bull, and AG did some sort of secret ski coaching trick where he basically had elbowsex with my lower back (he was out at this point because of a Di2/outlet on a light switch issue), and then we were back on the bikes and I went to the front for the first time in three hours.
At this point in the ride I realized I had passed the point where my brain shut down in 2011 because I don’t remember having ridden any of this stuff before.
I think the climb out of Wardsboro saw me holding onto the side of Tim’s Touareg while Chan shoved gummy worms, gummy sharks and maple candy into my mouth while I used my free hand to massage a cramp in my right leg.
Eventually we got to the point where, in 2011, we decided that we should just go straight to the Mass border instead of continuing on some other road that looked like it went up hill.
FUN FACT: that road was the last 25 or so miles of Route 100 and they are ALL BASICALLY UPHILL.
hahahaha oh god
yeah I started falling apart pretty rapidly here
Some FUN FACTS about this final section because it’s all pretty spotty in my memory because I think my brain didn’t have enough oxygen or calories to create new memories:
- I bunnyhopped a pothole and my calf cramped in the air and I almost crashed upon landing.
- I flatted, and had to get motorpaced on a descent back to the group because Guillaume.
- My Garmin mount broke and my Garmin was in my pocket which was great because if I was looking at how many miles we had ridden I would have been even more sad.
- I stopped drinking and eating because who cares.
- I found that if I thought about Margot smiling and laughing when I went into her room when she woke up in the morning that I didn’t hurt anymore and I would smile so that was nice.
Tim was riding at the front towards the end. I knew that the road we were on was the last road of Vermont, and I was watching mailbox numbers to get an idea of how much road we had left until Massachusetts.
And then I took the sprint because haha suckers
Wait were we sprinting? Who cares. It’s going on my resume.
Then we laid on some person’s lawn and drank um seltzer and pulled our crap together and headed into North Adams to eat. I had some mozzarella sticks and a gyro and it was great and then I shouted at Tim, Ben and Chris to GET IN THE VAN because they went to a “fancy place” that “considers food allergies”.
Then I got home and ended up not doing Gnar Weasles because that wasn’t gonna work out with my life, but I donated my entry fee to Colin and he didn’t have to deal with my dumb ass on Sunday.
It’s not every day that you get to ride bikes with some of the best cyclists on the continent, so I feel pretty hashtag blessed to be a part of this ride once again. It was glorious seeing Ben Wolfe crack, Tim had my back when he was on the front by keeping the pace sane, I am really glad I don’t have to ever race Guillaume, Ted is annoyingly chipper, Chris needs to keep his sodium intake up and Cooper Willsey is an overly-energetic youth who needs to stop popping wheelies when his elders are cramping and looking for someone to punch.
I have no idea why Meg McMahon and Jenn Blazejewski and Chaz and Todd and Chris Milliman came out to help us but it’s probably mostly because they are very nice people and partially because they enjoy seeing people complete collapse while riding bicycles.