TCN. That’s what I’ve taken to calling it. Training Camp North is the official name, though, which is aptly titled since I’m calling this week the Eponymous TK Self-Directed, Early July Training Camp of the UV or E-TK-SDEJTCofUV. UV is short for Upper Valley which clearly indicates my astute acceptance to the area already knowing the lingo. And for those not in the know, the Upper Valley is, well, this.
Here’s the view from TCN. Pay specific note to the garden (excellent), the porch with a mountain view (excellent), the bike stand for outdoor bike tuning (excellent), and the rocking chair planted in the middle of the field (also excellent).
This all couples together to say: I’m in the greater Hanover, NH area for the next week or so of very most awesome training.
Things are good back here stateside. I am definitely longing to get back to Europe right now, especially with the tease of le Tour on le tele daily knowing that I still stood a solid chance of being there were it not for that gruesomely dreaded storm grate. Miraculously… time goes on.
The shoulder recovery is progressing along nicely as well. Pain is long since gone as is the ensuing week of riding where I was experiencing this awkward sensation that I can only describe as, “My shoulder feels as if it has a piece of metal in it.” Very astute, Teddy! Anyway, that sensation has recently left me too so now I just feel absolutely normal – well, “normal” minus a few weeks of training so I’m now honing that with this E-TK-SDEJTCofUV. All makes sense now and everyone caught up to speed? Great.
It was time to set out on a mega ride and being in the relative neck of the woods, I decided that Middlebury, VT was the fitting general region from which this ride would evolve. L-A-M-B has been the talk of the town ever since my college cycling days, but between studying for exams and hosting the best Christmas parties Middlebury College has ever seen, I never found the time for it. What better time than now. Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury, and finally Brandon gaps – all done in order for the true LAMB experience – was the order for the day.
An ominous start to my ride occurred when I planned to drive across Lincoln Gap, east to west, to begin my ride but instead found this:
No no no, I’m not driving my bus nor trailer, it’s because the friggin’ gap is CLOSED DAILY.
To quote Jerry Seinfeld, well that’s a wicked googley! The spray paint made it seem extra official, so I decided to heed the orange warning. I then studied my map at length to figure out a proper ride. I still wanted to make it memorable but there is a considerable amount of thought and calculation required since when this ride embarks, I’ll obviously park on one side of the ridge of Green Mountains and eventually get myself up and over these gaps so many times to make it back to my car… and not forlorn and gassed on the wrong side of the mountains.
So rather than doing my LAMB, I got an MBA, yes in that order. Not quite as artistic as the original LAMB, it was a stout ride all the same and looked like this.
Here’s the photo-stitched panoramic view atop Brandon Gap.
In addition to a trio of gaps and panoramic views, among other elements of excitement on this were the probably 30km of dirt roads. Dirt is fun, but the super cool part of the first dirt section was when a meandering BEAR crossed the road right in front of me! I tried to lure him back with the raw steak I had in my rear pocket so that I could snap a photo of the black beast, but he wasn’t having any of it. In related trivia, I’ve seen six bears in my lifetime and every time has been on a bicycle. Also one moose.
After a quick plunge into a river to cool off (read: bathe), I was off to my friend Chris’s house for dinner. And not just any dinner but a pizza feast of worthy of the finest Italian pizzerias. Four tasty thin crust pizzas ensued including prosciutto, two chanterelle mushrooms, and an amalgamation of delicious cheeses. Bravo Chris, t’was molto yum.
Feet up, doors wide open…
…and then take in the ensuing ferocious thunderstorm. Glorious granite state!