The tour was awesome as usual! Backroads did an excellent job on the route and the camp sites. The food was catered out this year. I was rather disappointed with breakfast and most dinners but lunch on the road was always good.
Day 1: The bus pulled into the beautiful park like setting of Butternut Ski resort. I checked in and made my way to the bike line. Backroads fit me for a bike and adjust my helmet. I then make my way to the tents. Same as always, two people per tent. I am nervous about sharing my space with someone I have never met. I pick a side and set my things out for the ride the next day before I go out exploring the grounds. I met up with the Lifeline Vascular Access team for dinner. Then it was back to the tent for a night of sleep.
Day 2: There were two options for the ride today. The basic option was a short 53 mile ride and the long option was a formidable 86 miles. I started off with the mind set to save my self for the century ride. I arrived to lunch by 11 o'clock so made the decision to do the long ride, The country side was beautiful. The trees looked like they were trying to decide if they would start changing colors. I had a flock of wild turkeys cross the road in front of me along the way. The hills were a real challenge for me. It was just one hill after another. I did make it all the way to the finish line but my right knee was was killing me. It was dinner and bed.
Day 3: 76 mile ride for the day. The day starts off with a very long up hill segment. About 13 miles to be more exact. Not all at once but just one after another after. When lunch rolled around my knee was done and I was ready to quit for the day. My teammates encouraged me to continue so I looked for a wrap for my knee. Backroads helped me out once again with a bandage wrap. Not quite an ace but it did apply a little compression. We headed back out on the road and I was able to finish out the day. Once again it was dinner and bed. I slept much better this night as I was so exhausted.
Day 4: I have been on two other Tours and I have not been able to complete the long ride. I was not sure I had it in me to finish this ride again. The morning started off with the sound of rain hitting the tent. It was going to be one of those days. I had to make the decision by mile 53. That is where the ride split. One way was the century mile ride and the other was the century kilometer ride. Once again my teammates encouraged me to push myself like I have never pushed my self before. This day was no different than the previous 2 with regards to the hills they just kept coming. My knee was starting to hurt even more than the previous day. We finally made it to the coast line where the ride would be more or less flat. However the wind off the Atlantic ocean was very strong and of course it was a head wind. I think I would much rather have hills than a head wind. With a hill you know where the top is and the reward is the down hill. I sent my team on ahead as they will pull you off the road when it gets dark and I didn't want to be the cause of them not finishing. I road the last 8 miles on my own. I just kept pushing down on those pedals and moving forward. Then blast it all if there wasn't another hill thrown in before the end. I almost lost it right there. But then the Backroads van drove by and shouted words of encouragement. I finally made it to the turn into the camp grounds and tears welded up from my eyes. "I made it!" I kept saying to myself. As I crossed the finish line and there were so many people there to cheer me on. I am so thankful for the words of encouragement that not only came from my team but also from people that I didn't even know. This was truly an experience that I will never forget.
Reflecting back on the ride and all the miles that were logged on this tour it is quite a feat. We rode our bikes from one side of Connecticut to the Atlantic ocean. On the first day we rode through three states, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.
WOW! What a ride. I can't wait until next year. Hear tell it will be in Denver.