Another ride NW of Brattleboro, all new roads to me.
I had decided, after last week's focus on hill climbs, that I needed to focus a little more on going downhill, so I laid out a route that seemed an appropriate distance (30-35 miles) and that had as much downhill as possible, also avoided main roads, also tried to avoid roads that might dead-end on me. Took a bunch of fiddling until I was happy with it, then printed out the cue sheet
and off I went.
Lovely day, not hot, though still a little warmer than I cared for, ten degrees cooler would have been much better. The route turned out to be great -- about 90% dirt, only one mile on a main road (route 9) and that had a sufficient shoulder, and a very healthy supply of downhills.
Gave me a chance to practice my downhill skills, and they can be summed up by my guiding principle -- don't be stupid. When you going down 8 or 10% (or a good bit more) grades on dirt, pretty much one-lane dirt, there may not be many cars but all it takes is one that surprises you to really spoil your day. So on the brakes pretty much all the time, find the speed that's starting to make you nervous and then back off a couple of mph. On some hills 10-15 mph was all that felt safe. So be it.
At some point I was taking a breather from the downhills (ie. going uphill), and there was a woman coming the other way, walking her bike down. I asked if her bike was OK. It was, but she'd had a concussion a couple of weeks ago and wasn't taking any chances. I kept that -- not taking any chances -- in mind the rest of the way.
Legs were fried by the time I was done. Downhills are hard.