We left our home in Southern NH on a Friday morning car packed and ready to ride. Temps at home were expected to be in the 50’s with a mix of clouds and sun. As we started to ascended through Franconia Notch on the way to the Northeast Kingdom, there was about 8″ of fresh snow and gusty winds. Spring in New England can be quite finicky and conditions can very tremendously as you gain latitude across New England. Living here my entire life, I am acutely aware of this, but somehow I still found myself a little dumbstruck as we left “Spring” and reentered winter on our drive Northward.
After our inaugural Rasputitsa in 2017, we’d spent the follow year excited about our return. Mostly because we’d be riding our Granite Tandem which was heavily influenced by this event. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our old tandem just didn’t have the tire clearance or braking power that we needed after rolling through deep mud and then descending steep grades.
My confidence of completing the event was boosted by our upgraded ride. At least it was until I saw the finish. Planted at the bottom of a ski slope that still had nearly 12″ of snow, was the finish gate. I think I stared at it for nearly 5 minutes trying to determine how we got through the finish without getting stuck in the snow. Do you come in from the parking lot? If that’s the case, then why are there route markers heading up that ski slope? Surely, you won’t keep riding up that? Oh, wait, the route comes out that ski trail and across the snow covered mountain. Makes perfect sense.
After last year’s cyclocross finish, I felt like the snowy finish shoot was a fair compromise. Plus, I was in better running shape anyways.
In addition to riding the event, we also were given the privileged of showcasing Granite Tandem Design. This event nudged us toward building our first tandem, which ultimately let to this entire venture, so it felt good to bring everything full circle and display our latest gravel-bikebacking tandem, El Burro. We rolled into the start an hour early to pitch a tent, hang a banner and provide space for our bikes. Quickly changed into our chamois, packed some snacks into our pockets and rolled out.
We showed up to ride, hopefully finish, and ultimately have a good time. This year there were five tandems present. And while that sparked our competitive spirit, a long winter and exposure to endless germs from our preschool aged child, left us a little light on training. We were just on a ride, not sure what to expect.
My photos of the event are limited to the sections we walked, which included: Cyberia, the XC ski trail a few kilometers from the finish, and the finish itself. Otherwise, I found myself reluctant to let go of my handlebar unless it was to cram food in my face. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Special thanks to the organizers of Rasputitsa. Especially Heidi for welcoming us to exhibit our bikes. All the people that came over and chatted to us afterwards at our tent. And definitely everyone that told us we were awesome while out riding! Looking forward to 2019.