Monday, October 29, 2007

Dreadful wind and rain

Meet my partner in adventure, Roger.
If you can't tell through the rain drops and fogged camera lens that's a smile on Roger's face. He's smiling because we're on top of Brandon Gap with two gaps to go. When a ride is planned weeks in advance the weather is a big variable, but that's why we own rain gear! One thought in my mind while sitting atop Brandon Gap were; 1 gap down, two to go. But found my thoughts wandering from the task at hand and began thinking about the warm radiant heat of Jeff's wood burning stove, along with thoughts of Jeff's comfortable couch and wide screen tv back in Waitsfield.Fenders rock.
We flew down the paved back side of Brandon gap to a quite forest road. Once on the rolling gravel we spun side by side eating and talking for an hour before our next challenge, Lincoln gap. A 20-24% grade with 1843 vertical feet of rise in 12.1 miles. Perfect venue to test out a volcano-worthy gear ratio, and it was indeed a worthy gear.
I was familiar with the climb from two previous visits here earlier in the year. One ended in a emergency room visit to sew up a friend's hip. Undoubtedly I'd be heeding on the side of caution on the decent but need to get to the top before worrying about the descent.
Here we go! The climb was on, passed the snow-cat and the end of pavement. Zippers wide open in the cold pouring rain, pink skin getting pinker, rain pouring harder, steam now pouring out of me creating my own localized weather system to keep me comfortable. Hammering the climb while trickle charging a cache of deep storage for the arrow-straight final 1 mile, 24% pitch of pain and pavement to the summit. No pictures from atop Lincoln as the skies were pelting Roger and I with a torrential soaking. We stayed for a moment on the summit, ate a cliff bar and then batten down all available hatches to cut through the wind like cruise missiles programed on a heading to Rt 100.
We made a brief stop at a truck stop/gas station two miles from the start of our next challenge, Appalachian Gap. Hot chili and coffee never tasted so good. People entering the restaurant shook their heads and looked at us with a puzzled crooked stare as our saturated clothing deposited gallons of water, forming big puddles at our feet. I asked the attendant for a mop I felt so bad about our mess. The guy was super cool, saying "mopping will give me something to do when you leave".
Roger and I could have bailed out of App Gap at this point. Jeff's house a few miles to our right, Summit of Appalachian Gap 10 miles to our left. We made the right choice and climbed the gap, which turned out to be my favorite of the day. The rain subsided for the climb and we were rewarded with views of the red and yellow dotted ridges from 1777 feet above. On the summit the rain was coming at us sideways. A woman approached us and rolled down the fogged window of her Saab '93, defroster on high and windshield wipers splashing water on my legs. "are you guys alright?" Roger's reply.."why, do we not look alright?" She seemed offended at Roger's reply as a scowl came over her face. I thanked her for her concern and she drove on her way. Roger and I got a laugh at the expense of our good Samaritan.
Jeff had to bow out of our soaking gaps adventure on Saturday to do some dad stuff with Seneca, reading books, playing hide and seek, and some general QT with the cutie. He cooked us a protein-rich stew post ride which served for a perfect recovery meal and we watched the Red Sox in the World Series on that big screen tv from the warm and dry living room that had motivated us for 5 hours.
Sunday the three of us got out in perfect conditions as Jeff led us on a day's worth of dirt road gaps and a secret stash of back country single track.


Barry Rugo said...

As a matter of fact, you DON'T look alright. The mental illness you currently suffer from has manifested itself externally. Hence all of the puzzled, crooked stares.

Andy said...

Is this the same condition that you experienced in your climbing days?

and the old saying, birds of a feather ride together may apply here..

Barry Rugo said...

Mental illness in my climbing days? Yes. But the frontal lobotomy and years of counseling have effectively erased all errant behavior.

jeff said...

when a true endurance/outside junkie (like barry rugo) calls you crazy, you know you're onto something good!

Andy said...

erased all errant behavior...don't make me go through my highland movie clips. I seem to have proof of your errant behavior sir.