It’s been two weeks of learning and homecomings. We, and by we I mean myself and the other route leaders, spent a week in Blacksburg before shipping up to Maine, and it didn’t take too long to remember why I love Tech as much as I do. Few things warm the cockles of my heart like spring days in Blacksburg.
18 hours of driving, countless cyclist pick-ups along the way, and a handful of car problems later, we made it to Maine! And while Maine itself was delightful, New Hampshire rejected us like a body does a bad organ.
New Hampshire greeted us with steady rain, temperatures hovering above 40 degrees, and elevation changes variable enough to throw off anyone’s equilibrium. The usually beautiful White Mountain National Forest chewed us up and spat us out, and we were all elated to cruise into Vermont, home to Thetford, Middlebury, and considerably better weather.
What can I say of Thetford that hasn’t already been said of a fleece blanket? It’s cozy, familiar from first sight, and always there when you need it most. The entire community of less than 3,000 came together to get us showered, laundered, and fed. Each year Bike the US for MS gives out an award for outstanding hospitality, and this year was high time for Meg and the entire Thetford community to be honored.
Middlebury was the site of the entire team’s first day off, and some Bike the US for MS alum drove up from NYC to hang out! For being as small as it is, Middlebury has a lot of character, and everyone certainly needed some vegetation time after the battering we took in the days leading up.
So New England is on the books, and I’m writing this from one of my favorite weird towns in New York, Old Forge. Being a Route Leader is as rewarding as it is stressful, but I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. I miss riding each and every day, but the abundance of rest days now is pretty nice (especially when in New Hampshire).
But I must make haste now, because if I don’t 26 cyclists are going to get lost looking for camp, and I know a little too well what that’s like.