Two days into Anchor House 2016 and I’ve tracked 141 miles with about 7800 feet of climbing during the wonderful travels through central Massachusetts.
During our travels we encountered one flat tire, a birthday, a sports hernia (fortunately not me) and then I ended up ditching my teammates because they were too slow.
I’ll begin with the climbing aspect of the ride, which will be the story of this trip. It gets harder each and every day but I am happy that I am prepared for this ride. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be had I not been prepared.
My favorite part of today’s ride was Hardwick Road, I am not sure what town it is in but I can tell you the landscape was mainly wood lines. You know the road must be tough when they have a sign describing how horses used to ascent the road but had locations on the road where they could rest. The horses may have rested but we did not. It was one straight climb and it was pretty fierce, I only stopped for the description picture and then again when my teammates and I posed by the street sign.
Western Massachusetts is an absolutely beautiful country. There are a lot of steep climbs mixed in with picturesque rolling hills. There were ponds abound, even though most were filled with algae it still made for a beautiful scene. Unfortunately, my picture “miss” of the day was a pond with a beaver den in the middle of it. I really kick myself for not stopping for the picture but I wanted to keep moving.
The first day was a great start to the ride. We were chugging right along right up until one mile from the finish when I blew my back tire. Whatever I hit chewed up the tire bad enough that I needed to replace the tire once I got back to the hotel. Fortunately, we repaired the tire and it held for the last mile. Not a huge deal, just a pain in the butt. Good news is that my teammates (Steve, Chris and Niall) all pitched in. Thanks guys!
If you’re unfamiliar with the Anchor House ride this year, it is a 500 mile ride starting in Manchester, New Hampshire. We are traversing across Massachusetts, passing through Northampton, Lenox and then entering New York State, stopping in Kingston. From there we go to the place where New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania converge, Matamoras, PA and finally our final night is in Bridgewater, NJ as we begin our final day on Saturday July 16 back to Lawrenceville, NJ. A great week of riding and definitely lots of climbing.
As always with this ride, I am in charge of food/dinner for our group of four. So far we have done well with food options. With a Himalayan dinner tonight in the town of Northampton Mass., I am sure we will continue our string of great food.
As always on the Anchor House ride we have what we affectionately call the “Yellow Truck.” It is a Penske box truck that moves our luggage around every day and provides us with as much beer as we can consume, courtesy of River Horse Brewery (awesome beer and my beer of choice is their Summer Blonde). After 75 miles of riding mountainous roads, two beers can go down way too quickly! We also gather at the Yellow Truck every night for stories and camaraderie.
During our mountainous course, we lost one of my teammates, well not really “lost” but he is done for the ride. Niall (pronounced Neal) McKnight is down with a hernia. It happened mid-way through Day 1 and he struggled through the ride, however, he has been checked out and unfortunately his ride is over for him. Luckily, my wife came up to accompany us for the beginning of the ride and hasn’t left the area yet, so she will grab him Wednesday morning and take him home.
That will leave me with Steve Preville and Chris Murphy… this should be interesting. They are the two slowest people in the world. Niall is the counter balance since I do not like sitting around. With Niall down, I think I am in big trouble. We will find out today.
Time to relax after a long ride and head off for a 54th birthday dinner with my friends.