Did you know that Maine is enormous? Well, it is. As in, it’s not just another state amid the tiny states that is New England, Maine is like having a slightly smaller Alaska amid a sea of New England’y sized states. A regular Ponce de León here, we proved it last year when we set sail last year on the 2016 #tourXnewengland traveling from Bar Harbor due west 600 miles over six days into the heart of Vermont.
Beginning just four days ago, now in year two the #tourX plan is to stay west, young man, and assault everything west of the Connecticut River. (New England geographic reminder: the mighty Connecticut River splits Vermont to the west and New Hampshire to the east.)
Guest celebrity rider Jeremy Powers came out and shredded with us on day one, which was especially sweet given that he lives in Northampton, MA and could show us his hometown JAM Fundo course. Better yet, I got talking with Jeremy and given the way my schedule worked out, I’m pumped to finally make it to his actual Fundo on July 22. It shall be grand. And much like that, our day looked a lot like this.
It was truly shocking how much off road there was. #groad, as it were.
On day two, we ventured from Northampton, MA to Woodstock, VT. As the crow flies, it’s probably 90 miles; as the pavement paves, it’s probably 140 miles; and as the #tourXnewengland traverses, it involves an insane amount of up and down over hill and dales and covering another day of seemingly endless gravel sections.
I don’t quite know where my infatuation with bridges comes from, but gosh darn it, bridges are so cool. Conveniently we traversed many a bridge on stage 2. Here is a selection from throughout the day.
Bike path bridge:
Different unattractive brown bridge:
Quintessentially Vermont covered bridge:
I love bridges, buuut I really love this girl on the right. Hi Laura.
The girl on the left is Ellen Noble. She was celebrity rider number two on #tourX. Also a Northampton local, it’s very kind of these central Massachusetts’ites to show us around their home territory.
Stage 3, the Queen Stage. With high ambition and slightly taxed legs, we opted for Four Gaps, the legendary LAMB ride (Lincoln, App, Middlebury, Brandon… not in that order — rather than the much more of a mouthful LRAMRB ride which includes both Roxbury and Rochester Gaps).
Here’s the view from the start. The mighty Ottaquechee River rages by our overnight homestead in Woodstock.
A quick kit up and it was time to pack our bags and roll out.
The assault of Lincoln was fast and ferocious.
Here’s one of a variety of feed zones we had on stage 3, this one in Lincoln, VT at the general store. Overall a very rowdy day. Today’s guest rider was the one and only Jon Biele.
Next up is of course day 4, which looked much like day 3, but even more northern, green, lush, and bucolic Vermont. but only a select few of you might be able to distinguish that, so I’ll put it here and pretend it’s today.
And more Vermont.
And more Vermont.
And a peaceful seat waits the post-assault of Burke Mountain.
Which also looks something like this from an additional twelve feet in the air.
And the most Vermonty of Northeast Kingdom photos, here’s how a ride should end (or start).
Two more ferocious stages await. Standby…