It looks like the weather might or might not cooperate with my weekend plans. The probability of having rain on Friday is higher than my chance of having sex this weekend, which being on the bike for ridiculous amounts of miles is pretty much zero.
So back to the last part of the story – I’m going to huck it out in one big drop now. Mmmm I squeeze hard…
The hotel I booked in Burlington is blessed by Casandra, who is a lovely free spirit who cycles something crazy like 60 km per day from her home to work at a bizarre and far too early hour along open country roads. She dreams of riding across America and taking the time to stop and see all the sights along the way. I enjoy chatting with her as my waffles cook at 5:30am or whenever it was and it’s only when other customers arrive in the self-serve restaurant that the conversation dissolves into business as usual. See you on the road one day!
I turn north on Vermont Route 108 which will take me to the Quebec border. It’s a little smaller road, less traffic (even still) and narrower shoulders and a few good poppy hills. The sun is coming on good and by the time I near the border it’s warm enough to stop on the roadside and Sunflower it for a few minutes. Just standing like a cow, waiting for direction, hoping nobody comes along to tip me over. Did I mention the hard shoulder is very narrow?
There are only a couple tiny towns before the Frontier â€“ Bakersfield is one, Enosburg is another. They don’t call my name, but to be fair, they don’t jeer me as I leave either.
It’s another two minute border crossing, the longest part of which is waiting for the Officer to open his window. Apparently they don’t know when cyclists are there because they don’t weigh enough to trip the sensor from the weigh scale. So I could have been waiting there for a long time if it was really quiet. Next time knock on the window is the proffered advice.
I’m able to spend the next couple hours exploring some very quiet back roads, farm roads, and Maple Syrup sills. Is it called a sill? I googled the concept, couldn’t find anything. I’m talking about small back-country sugar shacks, where they have huge cauldarons of sap brewing up. I’m kicking myself for not stopping to take pics. Sappy remorse.
From the hilly border farmlands, it’s a north turn towards Farnham, which is the opposite of hipster land. It’s a small, well-organized town which has a couple of restaurants and lots of nice people. At least that’s my perspective from last time being there.
This time round, it’s still early season and many of the restaurants are closed, and many of the nice people are elsewhere. Florida? Work? Who knows? I have to settle for Subway, which turns into a comedy as the server and I battle rap in my crappy French and her crappy English. I persevere and after a bit of squabbling manage to get on the same page and share a couple laughs in the process. I clomp outside and eat my tasty 12 inch long meat sandwich and crisps on the sidewalk, enjoying the sunshine and Pepsi in equal measure.
The home stretch is a windy affair again, as I’m battling back pretty much due west to Montreal. The shoulder is better, but I have to stick with a pretty main road most of the way to St Jean sur Richelieu because the Route Verte is still soggy in that area. Not into gravel slop today. Nor will my 25mm tires handle it.
Legs feel really good and other than sore shoulders from my ridiculously heavy backpack my body is working very well. Mind too. I’m not listening to any music, and time has been flying by regardless. In fact it’s pretty amazing how fast the day goes from dawn to mid-afternoon. Pace has been pretty constant, and no real energy drains noticeable anywhere. I’ve been very diligent about eating a bar once an hour, as well as cramming in a gel every hour. This works out at apx 335-375 calories per hour, which seems to be about right to avoid calorie crashing or bonking
So it’s pretty uneventful after a short splathering trying to find the bridge in St-Jean to get to the west shore and from there Iâ€™m back on my out-bound track. It’s much busier than the day before and lots of riders are out for casual spins. I have a fun pick-up race with some random dude, where I can practice my time honored tradition of letting them get ahead, and then dropping them hard on the climb. It’s childish I know, but competition is still in my tool-kit. No walk of shame for doing it- just enjoying the burn.
It’s sunny for the home stretch and before I know it back at home, regretting instantly that I didn’t pick up a burrito on the way. I do some scrounging for food, grab a couple of beers and start planning the next route.
If you feel like a long ride this coming weekend let me know!