So my husband’s cousin asks me if I want to bike in a 50-mile benefit ride for the Vermont Food Bank with a bunch of her co-workers. Then she says the magic words that push me over the edge: “Harpoon Brewery sponsors the event and all participants get free beer at the end of the ride.” So on August 10th, I rode in the Harpoon Point-to-Point.
The day of the ride we had picture-perfect weather. I met my adopted co-riders, Team Tetra-Tech, at the start for the 50 mile option in Bethel, VT where we drank Gatorade and got gooped up with sunscreen. Our group of seven women decided to christen ourselves as Team Estrogen, and our most experienced team member started sharing some Hoo Ha (look it up). The ride kicked off @11:00 and I quickly realized the roads remained open, which initially concerned me. However, this ended up as a non-issue since drivers and bikers co-exist peacefully in Vermont.
With a total elevation gain of ~2,300 feet, the terrain presented a small challenge, but one I felt confident about. As we headed into the town of Barnard and started our first climb, I tried unsuccessfully to shift into my smallest front cog. I ended up riding the first two climbs without my granny gears, not too bad if I just kept a steady pace pedaling in the lowest gear I had available. Unfortunately, in addition to not checking my gears prior to the trip, I hadn’t packed any tools either (yes, I should know better). I knew I only needed to adjust that little shift bolt but had no tools to work with. At the final rest stop, I tracked down Ethan, a mechanic from Paradise Sports who thankfully adjusted my gears and asked for nothing more than that I give his business a plug. So I repeat: Paradise Sports, Windsor, VT.
With granny gears working again, I made it up the final 3-mile climb and cruised the last couple of miles to the ride’s end at the Harpoon Brewery. Here I received a Harpoon pint glass, ticket for a barbecue, plus three beer tickets. On top of that, Harpoon had showers set up too, and a good live band playing for entertainment. I took advantage of it all, but enjoyed the beer the most. I tried an IPA, summer ale, and UFO Hefeweizen.
As of this writing, the event has raised over $111,000 for the Vermont Food Bank.
I spent the next day in Burlington where I got an 8-mile bike tour of the city around part of Lake Champlain from my cousin and her son. After that we put a couple of kayaks in the lake and paddled around for a few hours. We ended up in town where we docked at a lakeside bar for a couple of beers and a quick snack. I only had one beer, but somehow I managed to fall into the lake while climbing back into my kayak. It actually felt great on a pretty hot day, and fortunately only my pride got hurt.
This weekend I plan to find my multi-tool and put it in my seat pack.