(Waitsfield, VT) - Travel Day and Stage 1, by Liam


Nothing prepares the legs for a good, hard time trial effort like 17 hours cramped in a car. We met at 5:30am at Peter’s place, and were off soon thereafter. Quick, perfectly-timed stop at the airport in Buffalo, NY, to pick up Dave -- who had flown later in the day so as to not miss grad school in the morning -- and we got into Vermont at half past midnight, local time. Now this wasn’t a regular hotel we staying at, but rather a bed and breakfast type place owned by a woman named Betsy. Upon entering the Mad River Inn, in the dark, we saw no note, no keys, no nothing. It’s 1am, we’re sitting on couches in the living room of this random inn, we don’t know what room we’re supposed to be in, it’s pure confusion, and a phone call to Betsy gets us nowhere. Everyone’s smart phone is out, and Peter’s checking his email, trying to find out if there were maybe some special instructions he didn’t remember. Trouble logging into the internet. Tiptoeing upstairs to check out if any rooms are unoccupied. Using the restroom that was immediately off the living room downstairs. Finally get onto MadRiver.com, and then Peter and Dave realize it. We reserved a room at the Mad River Barn. We’re at the Mad River Barn, right? Perfect. We drive a couple miles down the road, get to the correct lodge, and sleep. But not before a scout out of the time trial course in the dark.

Quick rundown of the stages:

Stage 1: 5 mile time trial, half-uphill, half-rolling downhill

Stage 2: 75-mile circuit race, one major climb, otherwise flat-to-rolling

Stage 3: 70-mile point to point race with two mountain climbs, summit finish at Appalachian Gap

Stage 4: Downtown Burlington criterium

Time trial course was roughly 5 miles: 2.5 up, 2.5 down-ish. Not too steep on the uphill section, and not at all steep on the flat/downhill section. To finish it off, there’s a very steep uphill kicker right before the 500m banner. So it was a hurtful endeavor, surely.

Warm-up ride to the TT

We were all eager to get racing, and Peter was first to go off. Solid ride set him at 47th overall, right in the middle of the pack of about 82. Tom saved himself for his sprint victory to come on Monday’s crit, making sure to try just hard enough to avoid DFL. Luke was about a minute back from the winner, riding to 35th overall, just far enough back in order to get in a break. Dave and I put ourselves in solid double-threat GC contention, riding within four seconds of each other: I got 5th at 16 seconds down and Dave is 9th, 20 seconds down.

9th and 5th in the TT

With three more stages to go, we’re already plotting how to get the yellow jersey. And with sprint points and KOM jerseys up for grabs, there’s plenty of racing left to go.

Now give me some maple syrup already.