We spent yesterday resting at our b&b in Royalton. It was a good decision. If we had decided to ride in lower 90s temps with 90% humidity it would have been miserable.
That evening we rode into town to have dinner at the popular Worthy Burger. The place was packed. It took about 30 minutes standing in line to order at the counter. They had the poor girl taking orders also pouring beers and making mixed drinks. She did great, but there should have been three of her helping out.
We both got veggies burgers, which were bland, french fries, which were average, a cider for Carrie and a beer for me. While it was nice to eat out, the price wasn’t worth the cost. But that’s how we feel eating at restaurants anyways. You pay five times the price it would cost you to make it, and normally it doesn’t taste five times better.
This morning we wake at our b&b and consume a whole delicious quiche in a pie tin. It was way too much food, but we figure we’ll burn it off riding over a pass through the Green Mountains towards Middlebury.
We pack up our bikes and get started around 8:30am, late for us this trip, but because the temps are predicted to be in the mid 70s, we don’t worry about riding in the afternoon.
The day starts off like any other day of touring. We’re cruising on quiet roads through farm country, waving at cows chewing the grass. Little do we know what’s in store for us today.
First, we meet another bike tourist. He’s riding the Northern Tier route that finishes in Maine. He started in Portland, OR. With just days left in his trip, he seems relieved that it’s almost over. Another descent, another climb, another convenience store, another campground. Touring can get monotonous if you let it.
About a half hour later we run into another couple riding the same route as the guy before. John and Rhonda are from Boise, ID. I tell them that I’ll soon be in Boise to ride the Smoke ‘n Fire bikepacking race. They offer to let me park my car in front of their house before the race and to stay with them after the race. What a gift! They’re both super nice. I look forward to seeing them in a couple of weeks.
After chatting with John and Rhonda, we start spinning toward the main event of the day: climbing about 2000 feet over the Green Mountains. As soon as we leave the river valley, the road gets a bit steeper. It’s time to climb! Then I run over something and my front tire goes flat.
We find a piece of shade and I stick a tube into the tire. The wheel is set up tubeless, but the sealant is nearly dry, so I decide sticking in a tube will be less of a hassle.
We tackle the climb without issue then begin the descent. On a tighter corner I decide not to brake and run wider than I should have. The bike handling feels a little funny, but I attribute it to just riding a bike with lots of gear on it.
The next time we stop to make a decision how to navigate to the day’s campground, I notice that my front wheel is rubbing one of the brake pads. That’s odd. I spin the wheel and it has a good side-to-side wobble. Uh oh! The wheel broke a spoke!
Over the thousands of miles I’ve ridden and toured, I’ve never broken a spoke. I build my own wheels, so I know my wheels have even spoke tension. It’s impossible to say why the spoke broke, but it snapped near the hub where it bends. That’s probably the most common spot for a spoke to snap. I’ll just chalk it up to bad luck.
I install a temporary kevlar spoke and we’re on the road again. After an hour more riding we arrive at our campground. We’re given a spot that at first seems isolated from other campers. Yay! We’ll have a peaceful evening and a good rest.
An hour later cars start filling up the empty sites around us. Families emerge from the cars and what can only be described as total chaos ensues. Dogs begin barking. Dog owners begin yelling at their dogs to stop barking. Kids yell at their parents to pay attention to them. Someone turns on the radio from their car. Modern country begins playing. Another neighbor turns on his stereo. More country. Another neighbor just sits in his idling truck, fingering his smart phone. A car alarm goes off. Is that the sound of people making love? What the hell is going on? I fully expect to get no sleep tonight.