Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour

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© 2001,

Day 68 - Friday, August 24, 2001
Bennington, VT to Keene, NH
61 miles

The surprising thing is that I'm the earliest riser of the three of us. But since I'm also the slowest rider, I used that to my advantage to get a head start on the others.

The climb into the Green Mountains started immediately after leaving town. We got mixed reviews on the length and difficulty of the climb - anywhere from just 5 miles of climbing to the whole 40 miles to Brattleboro is all hills.

Indeed the first 5 miles were tough, requiring the use of my lowest gear. But then I was about to reach the summit ... or not. I had reached a plateau of sorts at the top, with rolling hills on it.

By now the others had caught up to me. There would be a downhill into Wilmington, then some more steep rolling hills, then a downhill into Brattleboro before reaching the Connecticut River valley.

On one of the 35 mph downhills I had ran over something and flatted instantly. Good thing it was the rear and not the front, making it a lot easier to safely slow down to stop. It had looked like something metal had sliced through the tread and got the tube. I changed the tube and I was on my way again.

During this the others had gotten ahead. We regrouped in Brattleboro - while we were in town I went across the street to borrow a pump from the bike shop to get my tire back up to full pressure. After I pumped up the tire it popped with a large boom that was heard in the bike shop, as well as by Steve and Dwayne across the street.

In part due to the time spent with the mechanical problems, by now I was sure I would stay with the others in Keene instead of pushing on to Jaffrey. So Dwayne and Steve went on to Keene to get a hotel (to make sure they didn't fill up on the weekend), and I would catch up with them after I was done with my repairs.

I let the bike shop people do the repair. Careful inspection of the tire showed a tear in the sidewall, which I must have missed when fixing the flat by the side of the road. It was small enough to hold at 50 pounds air pressure, but not 100 pounds. So it was time for a new tire. Some of the spokes were also loose, they tightened them up also.

After crossing the Connecticut River into New Hampshire, it would be really hilly before getting the downhill into town. To the others' surprise, I had a second wind and made good time through this stretch - perhaps because I tend to pace myself more evenly through the day. In Keene, Dwayne and Steve were riding around looking for me - we went straight to dinner before going back to the hotel.

Looks like it will be two more days from here, estimated touchdown on Sunday, August 26.

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