B2VT 2017

On June 10 I rode in the 17th annual edition of the B2VT ride (formerly known as the B2B). It’s one of the most challenging single day rides in New England. It starts near the Revolutionary War battlefields in Lexington and rolls over 130+ miles to Okemo, Vermont. 

I was all smiles at the start. But that was before the pedaling started and before I had my morning coffee. The camera over-adjusted for the lighting. It was dark. The sun was barely over the horizon.

It turns out I had forgotten my morning coffee because it was a very early start.  See the clock. Yes, 5:18 am when I rolled out from the start line. (I never did manage to get that iced coffee.)

The first 30 miles were rather uneventful, along typical New England roads. Then, we came into Willard Brook State Forest and started going uphill for ten miles. That’s just the warm-up, nicknamed the “Primer.”  The ride organizers call it merely “irritating.” At this point there were still big, organized groups of riders on the road. Plenty of company for brief chats with new friends and some familiar faces.

Then it’s just undulating roads through southern New Hampshire. Unfortunately, there were several Trump-Pence bumper-stickered trucks “rolling coal” on the riders. One would be too many. But I saw four myself. That’s when trucks slow down and then step on the gas to release a plume of exhaust onto a cyclist.

The course hits the hard stuff at mile 75 when you take a hard right-hand turn and head up the “Leviathan“. It’s a category 3 climb up a ridge into the Pisgah State Park.  It’s a timed segment.

And no, I was not king of the mountain. Not even close. It took me 25:37 to do the climb, according to my computer. The winner came in at 14:57. [Official results: me at 25:20, with the winner at 14:49. I can’t even claim age, since the top three were all in my age division]

After that big climb, I got to enjoy some downhill and rolling roads through beautiful southwestern New Hampshire.

By this time in the ride, cyclists were strung out along the course. There were a few small groups of organized riders. Clearly, riders were either fading or digging deep by this point. The question was how much did the Leviathan take out of my legs and energy reserves.

Crossing the Connecticut River meant the ride was shifting from New Hampshire to Vermont.  It also meant we had crossed the 100 mile mark on the ride. That’s a key mark for me on a ride: a century.

After a rest stop, there was a right-hand turn to climb “The Petro“, another timed climb. It’s a 3 mile long category 3 climb. This one adds in a mile of dirt road to keep things more interesting. For me it took 18:48, while the King of the Mountain crushed it in 11:17.

The next challenge was the long grind from Chester up to Proctorsville. The ride organizers call this section “like having a stone in your shoe.” It’s annoying and at times painful.

At this point, it’s the lure of barbecue and beer at the finish that was driving me. Clearly, some cyclists were starting to crack. For me, it was all about passing more riders than passed me.

I just emptied the tank and turned the pedals to hit the finish line. All smiles once I was able to get off the bike, knowing I was minutes from a refreshing shower.

If you want an eagle-eye view of the ride you can watch this Relive video from the Strava data: B2VT 2017.

See you next year B2VT. . . Maybe.