Day 37: Norwich, VT – Concord, NH
Distance: 67 miles
Vertical: 1,732 feet
I want to start off this blog post by thanking the Victory family. When I looked ahead on our schedule of cities on our trip and saw that we pretty much had nowhere to stay in the Northeast I was a little bit concerned. I don’t exactly remember how it happened, but sometime when we were in the Midwest my mom told me the awesome news that the Victory’s were from the Northeast and were working on finding us places to stay! Just like that we had a home to stay at in almost every city left on our trip with three left over. Well, not long after we got reconnected with our friend Jen Lauritzen (through Tom Victory) who had helped us get the ball rolling on the planning for this trip back in the fall. Just like that Jen booked us three hotel room in the last three cities remaining… People are so freaking awesome.
Well it didn’t just stop with finding us places to stay. Tom told us that the outdoor clothing company, Ibex, was located directly next to the hotel that we’d be staying at in White River Junction, VT (just south of Norwich). He contacted them for us to see if they’d be interested in showing us around their warehouse. Well things played out perfectly and we were able to arrange a visit with them this morning! Ken Stone showed us around the place and introduced us to all of the staff there. Everyone was really friendly and it appeared that they had a required “bring your dog to work” policy ‘cause there were so many dogs running around (totally made my morning). We learned a lot about the company, chatted about our ride and even got some awesome Ibex bike jerseys to bring with us! I seriously can’t thank everyone involved in the visit enough! Tom, Ken and Evan, thank you all for making that happen, it was a perfect start to the morning.
Between the tour and us sleeping in we didn’t hit the road until about 12:30pm. Luckily we planned these last few days to be shorter rides, around 70 miles. To think that the longest ride I had done before we left for the trip was 70 miles… and I was exhausted. Like so exhausted that I could hardly stand. Now if you tell us we have to bike 70 miles we’ll act confident enough that you’d think we could do it in our sleep.
Like yesterday we had a nice little summit to take care of. The past few days of riding we made lots of jokes about how the Appalachians are a sad excuse for a mountain range. I don’t know how big they get as you get farther south, but where we are they are a lot more like large hills than mountains. It was a fairly easy climb since we were on a highway so the grades are also meant for semi-trucks climbing up hills. As we got further to the top we actually picked up a little bit of a tailwind. Combine that with some insane adrenaline rush that Nigel and I both got and, I kid you not, we finished climbing that hill at 28mph. It was absolutely nuts. I was going twice as fast up that hill than I had on the rail trail we were on earlier in the day. Then of course came the best part of climbing, the descent. Unfortunately the road was littered with cracks and sizeable potholes. Mom, you might not like to hear this, but the added danger aspect actually made it pretty damn fun.
The rest of the day we spent on another rail trail. Rail trails are simply old railroads converted into bike trails. They are really fun and there is a TON of them in New England, but compared to riding on the road they are pretty slow. Most of them aren’t paved and are just hard packed gravel which makes for a bumpy ride and a difficult surface for your tires to grip to. It was hard going so slow too because I really wanted to get to Concord. Not only did our arrival mean just another night’s sleep until Boston, but our best friend, John Sommers, had also arrived in town to road trip back with us and I was really looking forward to seeing him.
Despite how much we rag on each other and the dumb arguments we get into (and how stubborn I can be towards the both of them) I really do love Matt and Nigel. I think our relationship is actually the definition of brotherhood. Anyone who has a sibling knows that when you’re together for long periods of time, fighting is inevitable. But when you’re separated for a few days, you miss them a lot. That’s exactly how I feel about my two best friends. Still, it was nice to add another one of our best buddies to the mix.
One more day. Just about 75 more miles to ride and we will be at the Atlantic. Actually if you took a straight shot to the coast from here it would only be about 50 miles, but we said we’re going to Boston so I wouldn’t want to ride my bike into the ocean anywhere but Boston. In about a half a day I’m going to be on the other side of the country from most of you who are reading this. America’s been beautiful from coast to coast and I have had the priceless experience of seeing it on a bike. Not only that but we met some amazing people and have raised a substantial amount of money for an amazing cause. We’re so close to our $20,000 goal and I know that the $18,000 that we already raised is going to do some very powerful things for people who need it. I am so proud of what Matt, Nigel, I and our Fraternity as a whole has accomplished and am so ready to complete this journey.
Next time I’m going to get a more comfortable bike saddle,