My Route

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Day 8: Monday, 9th July. Destination: Super 8 Motel, Ticonderoga, New York

First thing in the morning our last mountain stage of this first map, over the impressively steep-looking Bread Loaf in the Green Mountains. The pass was at 2,000ft and it wasn’t effortless, though hardly as monstrous as our map’s near-vertical elevation profile would have us believe. Besides, I’m well stocked up with Clif energy bars and energy gel (Gü or sometimes Hammer), which – true to the label’s claim - gives an effective 45 minute energy boost. You have to get the timing right, though, as they take 15 minutes to kick in. This time, I took one 15 minutes before the top so missed the boost and had abundant energy for freewheeling downhill. D’oh!

The descent through lush, green forests took us through a scenic little hamlet called Ripton, where an old-fashioned general store offered worms, campwood and chewing tobacco. We stuck to Tootsie Rolls, Snickers and M&Ms, eating them on the porch. Continuing down the valley to Middlebury, a busy little market town, we avoided a shower by lunching at a general store which offered excellent cheese sandwiches. All very pleasant, so far, but as we headed towards Lake Champlain the temperature started to rise and it grew muggy. Tiring cycling weather. The last 20 miles were sluggish and hard work, despite tantalising views of the lake as we approached it and a nice ferry ride across to New York State. Ticonderoga was a welcome site. The Super 8 Motel, though, was right though town and up and out the other side, and by the time we reached it the temperature was soaring. We just collapsed on our large motel beds and watched TV in air-conditioned comfort till summoning the energy to go out again and eat.