Day 32 – Ride Across America for GTG Amsterdam, NY to Keene, NH

The Growing Through Grief program is something I am incredibly fortunate to be a part of. Losing a parent or a loved one is never easy, and the GTG program gave me an opportunity to share my story to someone, and show me how to handle my grief. It is refreshing to talk to someone who will listen about things that most people do not understand about losing a loved one at a young age. I have been a part of the program for almost 10 years now, and I am thankful for the relationships that I have built, and the techniques I have been taught on how to conquer the hardships that come with losing someone that you love.                                                                                                                    – Joy, a High School Senior

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A tri-state day as we left New York, passed through Vermont and entered New Hampshire to stay the night in Keene.  A cool start to the ride at 50 degrees, so we all wore extra layers.  We were shuttled to a nearby local diner for a hearty breakfast off the creative menu.  Blueberry, chocolate and pecan pancakes were spectacular!  After a ride back to hotel and bikes and loading luggage, our start time was delayed until 9 am.  

New York State scenery continued with relatively low rolling hills, small towns, farmhouses, barns and fields.  Apple orchards were also present.  Ballston Spa, Malta, Mechanicsville, Schaghticoke, Pittstown, Boyntonville, and Hoosick were the towns we biked through in New York.  We had to ride around a truck painting the white strip on the side of the road.  We also biked over the Hudson and Hoosic Rivers.  See photos in the video.  At 63 miles, we crossed the Vermont border and entered the lovely town of Bennington at mile 68.  See photos in video.  I met a resident of Bennington, Mrs Gilbert, out painting her mailbox to look like a large mouth Bass. She has lived 50 years in the Bennington area.  

The highest point of the day was at Hogback Mt. in VT.  I’m told that you can see 4 states from that vantage point – NY, VT, NH, MA.  Our vertical climbs to the Vermont border totaled 3677 feet. We then had another 4967 feet of climbing before we reached our hotel.  Much of it on long steady climbs for 3 – 8 miles at 5 – 9 percent grades.  ( On 6 climbs, 2 lanes were offered to cars and trucks going uphill. All the bikers reveled in seeing the sign saying, “Right lane Ends”, because that meant we were near the top of the hill.)   The descents on the other side of the hills were steady with similar downhill grades, but the shoulders and sometimes the road surfaces were in poor repair.  So, we “took the lane” and rode in the single downhill car lane – much to the chagrin of drivers frustrated with being unable to pass us.  We finished lunch at 3 pm and I got to the hotel by 6:40 pm after riding 125.6 miles- a very long day.  All riders complained of being tired and our legs just not responding to our mind’s demand to pedal harder.  We had used up much of our physical and psychological energy during yesterday’s ride and had little in reserve for today.

I loved the sweeping scenery of Vermont with beautiful hillsides, farms and forests.  Most of the time, a creek or brook was next to our road.  If we were going up hill, the creek would travel downhill against our route and if traveling downhill, the water would move with our direction. Lovely light colored boulders and stones filled the brooks and creeks.  In both directions, the cascading water offered a delightful sound for us.  (I am unable to upload the video of the brook for your viewing.) In one town we saw the remnants of a water driven mill.  Also present in Vermont were windmills and solar panel arrays.  

As we talk about our bike ride, our group members are thrilled with what they have accomplished – their first ( and for most, their last ) bike ride across America.  Of course, they are eager to get home to family, friends, work and their usual routine.  They are also interested to see how these repetitive days of more than 100 miles  of bike riding might improve their performance when they bike with friends or in competition.  And they want to rest their bodies – at least for 4 -5 days.

Tomorrow we have 108 miles and 5,250 vertical feet of climbing to reach the Salsbury beach east of Amesbury and dip our tires in the Atlantic to end our ride.  Some of us are fortunate to have our family and friends waiting for us for a 3 pm seaside celebration.  

It is now 10:30 and time for sleep.

Please enjoy the video of today’s ride.