Raid Lamoille


by Cindy Brennan

After plenty of excited anticipation and a flurry of planning emails, the long drive northward to Vermont delivered us to a welcome respite from the noise and heat of the city in summer. What waited in the Lamoille Valley for Carolyn and me was perfect weather, perfect mountains, and perfectly quaint New England towns.


Photo by Cindy Brennan 

We allowed ourselves a taste of the riding in the Stowe region on our arrival the evening before the Raid Lamoille. (After all, we had to be sure we earned our Heady Topper, the most delicious beer in the world - elusive and highly sought after - which is made right in the next town over, Waterbury.)


Photo by Carolyn Johnson 

After this preview, we knew we were in for plenty of climbing and rough dirt, paired with enough beauty to allow us to forget the pain of a really tough ride. We were right.


Photo by Carolyn Johnson  


Photo by Cindy Brennan 

The next day, under impossibly blue skies, the sixty riders participating in the Raid Lamoille traced a route along dirt roads edged by gurgling brooks. Each climb was a massive challenge in its grade or ruggedness, and each climb rewarded us with stunning panoramas of the Green Mountains surrounding the loop.


Photo by Dustin Marshall 

Carolyn and I hit a rhythm early on, zooming together down swooping descents of loose and bumpy dirt, keeping a steady pace up the long climbs, encouraging each other through the tough sections. The final trial, and the toughest of the day, came just eight miles before the finish. We hit a 16.5% loose gravel section within a longer, grinding climb. Covered in dust from the dirt roads, tired, and hungry, I grit my teeth and forced my weary legs to defeat this one last section before hurtling back down to Stowe for the post-ride party. Throughout the day, I felt stronger on some climbs while Carolyn felt stronger on others. Seeing the other ahead always spurred us on, and seeing Carolyn dancing up the climb ahead was the final push I needed to power through the last bit before heading to town for delicious food, a beer, and a refreshing post-ride visit to a local swimming hole. 


Photo by Dustin Marshall


Photo by Dustin Marshall

The Raid was an incredible day of riding the dirt roads of Vermont - and of sitting outside adorable general stores eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and of making new friends on the bike, and of drinking the best post-ride IPA I've never heard of, and of swimming under waterfalls. 


Photos by Cindy Brennan 

I can't wait until the next Vermont trip.

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