First Tour Daily Blog

Niantic, Connecticut  to Canada
By Bicycle  May 2000



Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 

Subject: Day 1 

 

Team Eliminator members Ken Silvestri and Tim Picard departed shortly

after heavy rainfall ended this morning from Smith Street headquarters in

Niantic, CT. The 10 AM departure allowed ample time to cycle out of the

State of Connecticut into Massachusetts.

Ken has been preparing for the ride for weeks and is carrying

approximately 25 lbs of gear. Tim is accompanying Ken for the first few

days. Going will be tough, especially during the long uphill climbs that

will be encountered during the ride.

The goal of the ride is to reach Canada and be back in East Lyme for

opening day on Pattagansett Lake. Ken will get the first water-ski pass at 11AM on

June 15.

It is reported that the first days ride went well. Twice the team had to

bail out into a restaurant to get something to eat during ferocious

thunderstorms accompanied with hail. The first night is being spent in

West Springfield, Mass. (Springfield motels were booked due to a big

convention this week.) The room they are staying in is an efficiency

converted into a bike repair shop for the night.

The close of day 1 has team eliminator safe and in good spirits. Flat

tire number 1 was experienced by Ken and he kept pumping the tire up

until he got out of what he called "a bad neighborhood." Day 1 mileage:

75 miles.

Herb

 








Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 
Subject: Day 2 



Day 2 for team eliminator gave them a workout. The official report is

that "the legs feel strong" and that it was steady uphill. "It seemed

like we were always climbing." The day total was 76 miles and Ken got

flat number 2 today just as it started to rain.

One of today's notable events was that the team rode by the original

historic house that the Dwight House in Haddam resembled. It was intended

to be a replica of this original design. Another notable event was

running into a cyclist that had just finished a ride across America the

day before.

Big Red number 2 was spotted with a Mustang behind it just like Debbie's.

The only thing missing was the boat "Eliminator."

The team is overnight in Brattleboro, VT (about 43 deg north latitude,

72.6 degrees longitude). The preliminary plan is to head north into the

mountains and to end up somewhere between Rutland, VT and White River

Junction, VT by tomorrow night. The team will pass by Okemo, Killington,

and Pico ski resort areas tomorrow.

We'll see how the legs hold out after tomorrow...

Herb










Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 
Subject: Day 3

Mega, mega hills and beautiful country was the report tonight from

White River Junction, VT Team Eliminator got a late start They

Overslept and started riding 8AM. Throughout the day they stopped and looked

at landmarks and views. Part of the road was dirt in places. Off-road riding wasn't

anticipated but team eliminator continued. At the 75 mile mark it was 8

long miles of steep nonstop uphill climbing. A long awaited

downhill was expected but all it turned out to be was a small cheesy

downhill. Going down did not equal the pleasure of going up. Especially with

a 56 lb bike under Ken.

The days rating was a good day, and good weather and all

Team eliminator members are in good spirits. Johnny is reported to be

Good for a couple of more days Kelley has taken the train up to White

River Junction and has joined the team this evening. It is likely

that Kelley will take the lead to break the wind and help Team Eliminator

through another grueling day. The impression I got from the phone

conversation was that Ken was ready to hit the sack big time. It sounded like it

was a long day. 104 BIG miles today and 255 miles for the past 3 days. This is big

to me but I'd have to get the official rating from Uncle Johnny. Maybe

he could give us his impression of the ride up to this point Uncle

Johnny you're on.
Herb








Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 
Subject: Day 4 


A particularly mountainous climb today in high wind conditions. The trio

rode many miles uphill (and seemingly always into the wind) and had an 8

mile downhill run. Kenny still maintains his position that the ride down

is still not as enjoyable as the ride up. 62 miles were logged today for

a total of 317 miles in 4 days.

Kenny seems to be holding up pretty well. Johnny came close to stopping

today. Ken reports that Johnny has "another good day left in him."

Kelley or "Mr. Laptop" will keep Kenny company for awhile in the following

days to come.

The trio is now settling in for the night in the Killington ski area.

Herb








Date: Sun, 28 May 2000
Subject: Day 5

 

Tonight the team eliminator trio are settling in for pizza and NASCAR

after a long soak in a hot tub. They find themselves in Barre which is in

the vicinity of Stowe, VT. They could see the snow covered top of

Killington far in the distance and were thinking that it was hard to

believe that they were there the day before.

The morning of the fifth leg of the trip was the toughest yet for Ken.

He limbered up at bit and fared better in hot afternoon. Johnny is

beginning to break down with a cold. The congestion makes it difficult

to pull in sufficient oxygen to feed the pumping legs on the uphill treks.

He is still rolling though.

Kelley is in his second day of riding and is

going strong. He has settled into the grueling pace and is doing well.

The day was spent riding through one peak after another. They were on

uphill climbs for an hour at a time. They don't even want to go down

hill because all it means is that a steeper uphill is ahead.

The holiday traffic was quiet and there were no bike breakdowns. 72

miles ridden today and 389 miles in the past 5 days.

Herb







Day 6 

Phone call was received on day 7. Once team eliminator riders realized

that there was concern for them after not hearing from them about day 6,

a phone call was immediately dispatch through so word could be spread

that they were still riding strong.

Day 6 begins with a large breakfast described as "twice the size of the

breakfast a normal person would eat." Johnny usually goes for a stack of

pancakes and tops it off with some sweet french toast with native maple

syrup. Kenny is the eggs and sausage type with some french toast.

Once on their way for a few hours, the trio find their way to the Cabot

Creamery. Kenny and Johnny quickly noticed the display of cheese

samplers. They jumped on the cheese samplers like a pack of dogs on a 3

legged cat (riding really builds up the appetite). It must have been

pretty obvious of the amount they were consuming because after awhile

they were beginning to get funny looks from the people stocking the

cheeses. After getting their fill, they were shown the process by which

the different cheeses were made which was interesting according to Kenny.

The team departed Cabot Creamery and hit the off road trails. The team

traversed through more mountains and saw a Moose feeding in a swamp deep

in the wilderness. Riding off road seems to be the theme the past

couple of days. While riding off road, Kelly experiences equipment

problems. One of his tires was damaged. Not just a flat but a tire

ruined itself. Didn't get the details but it did delay the riders so

that team eliminator emerged from the darkness with bikes rigged for dark

riding into St. Johnsbury, VT. It was a long day of riding. 72 miles

today. 461 miles for 6 days

Herb







Date: Tue, 30 May 2000

Subject: Day 7

 

The Canadian border was reached today! The team eliminator trio did not

cross the border but will cross at another point further in the trip. At

the time of the phone call (cell phone), the trio was riding on a

railroad bed that was smoothed out to be a riding trail. Team eliminator

team didn't stop this time to make the call. I could hear the tires

rolling through the gravel at times and the hear the team greet some

hikers as we spoke. 

The team stopped at a glacier lake which was reported to be 600 feet

deep. The team stopped and went for a swim. The water temperature was

estimated to be 50 degrees. Cold when not wearing any cold weather gear

in the water.

Today's ride was mainly off-road on the railroad and in the middle of

nowhere. The team will be finishing their ride in Newport, VT for a days

ride of 65 miles. Total 7 day total: 526 miles.

Herb





Date: Wed, 31 May 2000

Subject: Day 8 

Team Eliminator Trio began in the East side of the state of Vermont and

ended up in the western side of the state by the end of day 8. The team

had a 1 hour steady uphill ascent with no stopping at one point. It was

an 1800 foot vertical climb. Today they didn't get cheated on the

downhill and rode a long way riding on the brakes maintaining 35 mph.

The team rode 75 miles today and have logged in a total of 601 miles for

the trip to date. One unfortunate occurrence was that Kelly (laptop) had

to bail out due to mechanical breakdown. He saw Ken and Johnny off and

that's the last word we have on him. Hopefully he will be home safe and

sound soon. Ken mentioned to Kelly that his tire was like riding on a

grenade. Shortly after the tire blew of the rim. Other misfortunes

today include Johnny getting flat number 1. Yesterday Ken had flat

number 3.

Tomorrows ride will bring the team down Lake Champlain. The team intends

to kick it into high gear and pick up the mileage. Ideally it is good to

rest on the 4th or 5th day but every time the team sort of plans that,

they find themselves in the middle of nowhere and have to ride 20 miles

to get to a place to stay. The team will blast through Massachusetts and

CT homestretch Monday or Tuesday.

Ken explained the hill climbing in detail tonight. Most uphill's are a

10-20 min long climb and there are many greater than 30 minutes. What

has happened is that they have been climbing steep hills so much that

when the grade gets less, it appears to be flat or even down hill. If

they stop pedaling the bike will stop and they still can't find their way

out of the lowest gear on the bike even with the grade looking flat.

The tremendous workouts have given the team big appetites. Tonight they

chowed down a big meal and the waitress was very surprised that they went

for dessert also. She said most people laugh when she asks the question.

The reputation of the restaurant is that they have large servings.

After leaving the restaurant, Ken and Johnny stopped for a snack on the

way back to their room.



Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000

Subject: Day 9 and Day 10

 

Day 9 finds Team Eliminator duo continuing to pedal along on a Southern

trek now that they have reached the top of Lake Champlain. They rode

through Burlington, VT and took dirt roads around the major part of the

city. Luckily they talked to a person who knew a newly converted

railroad to bike path existed.

The team rode along Lake Champlain and had a lot of flat riding.

Unfortunately the flat land also had very strong winds which slowed the

team down to 10 mph pace maximum. Ken receives flat number 4.

The team finished the day by riding 64 miles and ended up in Vergennes

which is 25 miles South of Burlington, VT.

Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000

Subject: Day 9 

 

Day 9 finds Team Eliminator duo continuing to pedal along on a Southern

trek now that they have reached the top of Lake Champlain. They rode

through Burlington, VT and took dirt roads around the major part of the

city. Luckily they talked to a person who knew a newly converted

railroad to bike path existed.

The team rode along Lake Champlain and had a lot of flat riding.

Unfortunately the flat land also had very strong winds which slowed the

team down to 10 mph pace maximum. Ken receives flat number 4.

The team finished the day by riding 64 miles and ended up in Vergennes

which is 25 miles South of Burlington, VT.








Day 10 (6-2-00)

It was a very good day for the team. Good mileage today.

83 miles logged in and 748 miles for the trip. Some off road riding took

a toll on Ken's bike. He experienced a flat on the front and back tires

when he hit an object on the trail. Later in the day he had another

flat. Ken has had 7 flat tires during the trip. Johnny also had a flat

today. The team is out of tires and will visit a bike shop in the

morning to get some fresh gear It looks like they will be crossing the

mountain range one more time.

When Kenny had called they were just getting ready to hit the hot tub for

a long soak. Home stretch coming up. Tonight is being spent in Rutland,

VT.

Herb









Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000

Subject: Day 11

 

Team Eliminator has called in this morning and described day 11. The day

was good but the team got off to a very late start. The 1 PM start was

due to have to do laundry and get parts for the bikes. The day took a

toll on Johnny's bike. He picked up 2 flat tires and has I believe 5

flat tires this trip.

After riding the rest of the day the intention was to stop at Bellows

Falls for the evening. A new problem arises. No motel rooms so the team

pushes on and rides to Brattleboro, VT. After much searching in

Brattleboro, the team finds a room out in the sticks.

The team is not sure if they are able to strike it all the way home today

due to the estimated 140 miles to go. Total mileage for the trip is 831

miles in 11 days for an average of 75.5 miles of riding per day.

Herb






Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000
Subject: Team Eliminator Ride Ends

 

From: "Herbert T Petersen, Jr

Team Eliminator has completed the ride on day 12. Today's ride had its

challenges just like any other day. The team was gunning down the home

stretch pumping hard. Winds were blowing in their faces all day. They

ignored the pains their body was giving them and continued on a

blistering pace even with 11 days of heavy mileage behind them. Today's

mileage was 114 miles and remember they have 25 pounds of gear on their

bikes. The total for the trip is 945 miles through 4 states and 2

countries. I have counted 7 flat tires for Ken and 5 for Johnny.

The team stopped at Harry's in Colchester, CT and were faced with one of

two decisions:

1. Pass Harry's delicious food and pound out another 15 miles to

Niantic.

2. Fill their gullet to the rim and have Debbie pick them up when they

are all bloated from eating the delicious food at Harry's.

They chose number 2 and deserve the break.

Herb