DAY 6 JUNE 2 79.8 MILES
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T.S. Elliot
As we departed the community center, temps already were in the mid 60's with the forecast for a sunny day in the 80's. The prospect of climbing Middlebury Gap was heavy on each of our minds as we attempted to conserve energy. The problem was that there were countless other hills to negotiate prior to reaching the Gap. To make matters worse, most of us missed one or two turns along the route and had to double back. This added an another five to ten unneeded miles to the day.
After 60 miles of pedaling, we finally reached the base of the Gap. The major differences between this and previous climbs was that it occurred toward the end of the ride rather than at the beginning. Also, there were very tired legs on the sixth day of riding.
Although this climb was only 1,200 feet, the steepness of the grade with no respite took its toll. Toward the top, grades actually increased rather than leveling slightly as with most other climbs. Toward the top, grades increased from 10 to 12% with even some occasionally at 14%, just for extra challenge. Fortunately, my bicycle computer calculated the distance and elevation remaining and I was able not only to see my progress and that remaining but to encourage other riders as well.
After praying for Divine strength and straining the legs to the absolute max, we finally reached the Gap. Our reward was a nice, cold Popsicle. So it was worth the effort!
The day off in Middlebury will be very,very welcome. We certainly need it.
Tip: Joining a bike club is the best and quickest way for a new rider to learn about the sport.