• Mary Anderson

Mary’s Cycling Challenge: Days 10 and 11

Mary Anderson is cycling through her home state of Vermont on her ebike. Her goal: to visit all 251 towns in one go. Since hitting the road on October 6, she has logged 101 towns and 627 miles.

Day 10

Middlesex, Worschester, Elmore, Wolcott, Morrisville, Hyde Park, Stowe, and Waterbury

Miles: 56, mostly paved with a bit of dirt and a smidgen of bike trail.

To date: 570 miles and 92 towns. I have the northeastern quadrant done. I expect the other three quadrants to be fewer miles, so I'm guessing I have less than 1,500 more miles to go, and maybe closer to 1,300.

I got to ride on this muggy, overcast day without my gear. My Montpelier hosts graciously offered to slack-bike me, and I am now at our arranged pickup point. I will return to their house tonight, and they will bring me back here tomorrow for yet another glorious day of riding gearless! Then on Sunday it will be back to hauling all the gear.

I made it today with one battery barely down one bar of power! It was fairly flat by Vermont standards. I did push it some, as for a while I was riding in the rain. Luckily, it did not amount to much and was over by the time I finished my delicious smoothie at a small cafe in Stowe.

I have one tender leg muscle I am nursing along, and while I feel good after today's ride, I also feel like I could fall asleep in a heartbeat.

Even with the leaves just past peak, the trees are still adorned in reds and golds. I was on more major roads today, so had more cars, but mostly it was a very pleasant ride. I enjoyed being able to sail downhill at over 30 miles per hour and really lean into the curves, things I am loathe to do when fully loaded. I expect to post some other blogs soon.

Day 11

Duxbury, Moretown, Waitsfield, Fayston, Warren, Granville, Hancock, Stockbridge and Pittsfield

Miles: 57, all on pavement

To date: 627 miles and 101 towns. I hit town 100 while riding on route 100! I would have had trouble planning that if I had tried.

Today was the first day I started out in the rain. I was determined to get at least something done while I had another opportunity to bike without my gear. Luckily, the rain stopped soon after I crossed my second town of the day. It held off until just after I met Shasta in our prearranged spot at the end of the day. We loaded my bike onto her car and made it to the Interstate—when it started to pour. Cars were stopping on the road. Visibility was near zero. There was more than an inch of rain on the road in almost no time. It splashed up as we drove through it, making it difficult to hold the road and even harder to see. All I could think was how happy I was to have pushed and made it to my day‘s end before the deluge. It was another lesson for me in learning to trust what comes and believe my needs will be taken care of. I know everything doesn't always fall into place so nicely, but for now I am grateful for every blessing that comes my way. Again, I could not have planned it any better than it evolved.

Today was a watershed moment for me. Not only did I cross town 100, I also literally crossed from the Mad River watershed into the White River one. Even though I didn't need to, I rode through Rochester again and stopped at the bike shop. They tightened up my brakes and oiled my chain free of charge. I also treated myself to a chocolate croissant at Sandy's, a cafe and bookstore in Rochester. This enabled me to use their wifi and call Shasta to give her my end-of-day ETA.

I've driven many times over most of the section of road that I biked on today. Yet I had never stopped at some of the scenic places along the way. Even with rain threatening, I made it a point to rectify some of my lack, and I took the time to make a well-worth-it walk into Warren Falls. I took fewer pictures than usual as I could tell the rain was threatening. Later in the day, when I was pushing against really strong headwinds and the sky was covered in dark, menacing clouds, I dawdled less and made a final big push. Still I ended up with a battery reading three to four bars. All in all, a satisfying day. Tomorrow I start to tackle the northwestern quadrant in earnest.

All photographs by Mary Anderson


About Mary Anderson

When Bethel resident Mary Anderson set out to hike the southern half of the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail in the summer of 2020, nobody thought she would make it. Hikers give themselves trail names, and Mary’s was Old Lady Hiker. A few days into her solo trek, she ran into some younger hikers who decided she needed a new name. From then on, she was known as Mary Badass. In the fall of 2020, Mary began writing her story in a Korongo workshop hosted by Kimball Library in Randolph. After completing her CDT hike in September 2021, she began a new challenge: A bicycle tour of Vermont’s 251 towns. Estimated time: four to six weeks.

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