Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Learning to do hills

June 24, 2013
Northampton, MA to Pittsfield, MA

Today was one of the shortest rides we've had so far, but it was definitely not the easiest. After yesterday's giant hills, we were ready for anything that the Berkshire's could throw at us. What we encountered almost immediately after we left Northampton was slow yet steady inclines that lasted for miles. As a group we've all share different strategies for how to get up long hills. Some people focus on the pedal strokes of one foot for 10 and then focus on the other foot for 10. I did this for a while going up some long hills but it got to a point where 10 felt like not enough so I switched to 20. Another strategy people use to get up hills is to just look at the ground immediately in front of them u til they've reached the top. I on the other hand prefer to pick a spot slightly up ahead of me and then concentrate on getting to that point. Once there, I pick another spot and focus on that until I'm at the top of the hill. Nonetheless, hills are always going to be difficult but it's easier when you know that everyone else is also working hard to make it to the top. We stopped for lunch next to a cute stream and refueled for more hills. 

Getting on the bike after lunch is difficult because we've been sitting for a while, and today was even harder than usual because we were met with steeper hills right away. Going up one of them, I tried to switch into my lowest gear and my chain popped off! Not knowing what to do, I toppled over into oncoming traffic. Luckily no one was coming, but it was a little scary. We got to our host site in Pittsfield a bit early and were able to head to a local bike shop that a riders uncle recommended. They were AWESOME and helped tune and tweak everyone's bikes. Afterwards a group of us were hanging out in the basement where we were sleeping when we realized water was rushing into the basement from the brick wall in a corner. We had been warned that when it rains it drips from the ceiling, but this was definitely not a drip. As we were frantically trying to move things from the corner, someone noticed that the water was also starting to rush in from under a closet door too. Before we knew it, the entire basement floor was about to be covered with water. Everyone was grabbing bags and thermarests moving them to higher ground. Luckily we were able to catch it quickly enough or else all of our stuff would have been soaked. When it slowed down, there was almost 2 inches of after covering the floor of the basement. It was definitely and exciting way to start off our stay in Pirtsfield.

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