This could’ve been SO much worse…
For the past few weeks of preparing mentally for my trip, this was the day I knew was going to be by far the most difficult – probably of the entire trip!
The plan was to cycle all the way from Shelburne Falls to Troy, NY. About 130km by most direct route should be doable, but for a pair of 2,000ft climbs on route…
With the advice of my couchsurfing host, Emily, I decided to split the journey to 2 half-days of cycling – which would mean forgoing the planned day-off in Schenectady.
This proved a mightily good idea as those hills were brutal. I reckon I was a bit better prepared for them owing to the big climbs the afternoon before, and I found the main climb to be relatively ok, steep in parts, mostly just slogging away spending as much time out of the granny-gear as in it.
Eventually the false-summits of the hill stopped and the warning signs for the big descent began popping up.
Stopping at a viewpoint at the west-facing side of the hill, I chatted with a local couple and sought advice on where to pitch tent. They told me of an excellent bike shop in Williamstown who would be more able to assist. So I enjoyed my speedy descent and made a beeline for Spokes.
And an excellent bike shop it is!
As I stepped inside, I was welcomed as an old friend; when I told of my route, Paul – the owner – immediately showed me on a map a better/flatter option; and when I asked advice on where to camp, was offered garden space by staff-member, Heidi.
Full bike tune-up, leather saddle treatment and cycle-provision restock later, my bike was on the back of Heidi’s car, heading for her place. Greeted by her family, I was welcomed into their home, fed, beered, showered and generally refreshed.
All of which, to Heidi and Paul, I am very grateful.