Yesterday was the New England Randonneurs Lake Champlain 200K / 300K brevet. Dave Cain and Mike Beganyi handled registration and saw the riders off and I volunteered to handle finish. Mike is the founder of this brevet and had been organizing it for the past 3 years by himself. This year he gets to spend time with his family. 23 riders started off at 6:00am , 11 for the 200K route and 12 for the 300K. The start was damp, but the forecast, at least for Burlington, was for a mostly cloudy sky, mild temperature and little wind.
I arrived at Old Spokes Home, which was the final control on the brevet, around 11:30 and once I got the control all set, took off on a short ride to wind down and stretch the legs. The weather was cloudy, but dry and I planned on the first riders returning around 2:00pm and had pizza, snacks and cold drinks waiting. As it turns out, the weather on the New York side of the lake was not like in Vermont. The first 200K riders arrived around 3:30 and told of persistent drizzle and a very cold ferry ride across the lake.
It was great to hear the stories from the returning riders. For some, this was the longest ride they had ever done and for others, the spark for longer rides yet to come. One rider told of retaking up cycling two years ago and the life changes it has brought to him and the other members of his family who have taken up cycling as well. Riders also told of rough roads, flat tires and mechanical problems. One rider had her wheelset replaced at a bike shop in New York and another rider used a FiberFix emergency spoke to make it back.
Anthony Mennona, the first 300K rider, arrived around 6:30pm after riding the second part of the brevet solo. Anthony organizes the Vermont 600K brevet, a ride I highly recommend. As the evening went on, Jim Sandberg came by to help at the control and to wait for his buddy Aron, who rode the 300K, to arrive. Riders continued to trickle in, with the final riders arriving just after 10:00pm.
Some of the pavement heading north in VT is a little rough and there is some sharp road shoulder debris (watch out for punctures), but the NY roads are in pretty good shape. Also, somewhere on the route in NY there is a fixed radar gun with a speed readout at the bottom of a hill. 43mph and lots of fun. For the 300K route, all turns are marked except for Panton Rd. on the way to the 3rd control, but just bear right at the old white sign directing you to Panton.
Lets hope for nice weather and calm wind again for Saturday.