The weather continued its sunny and cool pattern today. Just what we needed for a testy day of climbing.
Albany is a sizable town so there was considerable navigation as we wound our way out of town to the east. Once we hit the edge of town the climbing began, with several 1 mile 6-7% climbs that really got our attention.
At mile 32 we reached the Vermont border and stopped for a photo op.
Our 4 man group stopped at Bennington Vt to visit a revolutionary war monument. This 300 ft high obelisk was constructed in 1885 to commemorate a battle where revolutionary forces defeated two British detachments who where attempting to take control of a weapons cache on the site. The Catamount Tavern on the site is also where Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys plotted their 1775 attack on the British at Fort Ticonderoga.
We also visited the Bennington cemetery nearby. Many, if not most of the headstones bear the names of revolutionary soldiers. It’s most well known resident though, is Robert Frost the famous poet laureate and Pulitzer prize winner who authored such works as Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening and The Road Not Taken. He died in 1963.
Leaving Bennington we started up the long climb of the day, a 6 miler with average grade of 6%, kicking up to 8-9% at times. It was a cool day at around 70 F with a cool breeze but we were drenched at the top of the climb. After a short flat stretch we tackled the climb up Hogback Mountain. This climb was 4 miles but with more steep stretches of the 9% variety. It felt like we were back in Oregon again!
It was downhill from there on into Brattleboro, with potential speeds above 45 mph. The descent was a little treacherous though, due to heavy traffic, potholes in the road and narrow shoulders with plenty of cracks. You really had to pay close attention, particularly when the road was shaded by trees and hard to see clearly.
Brattleboro is a quirky town where nudity is allowed (we didn’t witness any demonstrations) and where they indicted George W Bush and Dick Cheney for high crimes over the Iraq invasion. I believe the two are still wanted in town.
Speaking of quirky, three of our riders known as the “Flying Monkeys” have taken to wearing stuffed monkeys with capes and masks on their helmets. The monkeys have a button that causes them to emit a raucous screeching sound as this group passes you. Unfortunately one of the monkeys drowned in the rain recently and doesn’t squawk any more. Only two survivors…….a little fun in the peloton.
We’re off to Manchester NH tomorrow and our 10th and final state of the tour. Two riding days left before the Atlantic wheel dip.