In what has become a yearly tradition, last Sunday I rode the Tour de Heifer in Vermont. I wrote about it last year as well here. It supports local farming awareness and initiatives and is always a good time.
There are 3 options for distances- 15, 30, and 60. This year (like last year) we chose to do the 60. The route seemed the same to me, which was nice since I remembered a lot of the hills and farms we passed. This year, the tour actually put signs up in front of the farms, which I thought was a really nice touch.
The Tour de Heifer has been growing a lot in popularity since the first year I did it as word has spread about how great a ride it is. It’s mostly gravel back roads in Vermont, which means that they are very quiet and quite hilly!
It was gorgeous and sunny again this year, which meant that I was feeling pretty warm by the end of the first climb, but the layers I had chosen (knickers on the bottom, jersey, sleeves, and a very light jacket on top) ended up being perfect. The tour did a great job with the food at the aid stations again- there was a nice variety of snacks along with water. I grabbed something to eat at every stop and made sure to top up my bottle since it was a warm day. I’m trying to eat “real” food on the bike since I wasn’t feeling great with gels and electrolyte mixes that have all sorts of strange ingredients in them. Each station had both gels and real snacks (bananas, pb&j sandwiches, dried fruit, etc) available.
Around 12 miles in, there was a pretty steep climb that I went up quickly followed by a nice long steep descent. It was such a great downhill, but when I waited at the bottom for the friends I was riding with, someone pointed out to me that my rear tire had gone flat! Luckily we were just across a covered bridge from the aid station, but when I got there they didn’t have the right size tube or a patch kit, nor did they seem willing to make a wrong size tube fit my tire (it’s not ideal, but can be done). One of the people I was riding with had a patch kit so they fixed my puncture and thankfully the tire held air for the rest of the ride. It was the only part of the ride that didn’t go smoothly!
The last couple miles of the ride are downhill (very much earned after all the climbing), and we pulled into the farm feeling tired but good. There was a band and a delicious farm lunch awaiting. After eating all we could, we headed home. It was such a great day.