TDR’s own Jon Gardner holds the north-south ultracycling record in Virginia, and when John Fuoco of Lewistown, Pa. took his shot at the Vermont north-south record, it brought back memories of Jon G. cruising down U.S. 11 and doing his best to ruin his shoes. John F., a veteran randonneur, already holds the Pennsylvania West-East record; see his story about that ride at the UMCA website. Here is John’s story of his Vermont attempt.
Vermont N-S Record Attempt
by John Fuoco
I wanted to let you all know about my attempt at the above record on May 18: it failed. My oldest daughter went to college and lives in Vermont. It is beautiful and I love visiting it. I have been contemplating taking a shot at this record for a couple of years. My friend from Massachusetts, Russ Loomis, holds the 50+ record for both N-S and S-N. I assured him I would only go after one of them. Well, he can still relax.
My daughter Dani was crew chief. Her friend Brian was the UMCA official, and another friend, Wilson, also crewed. Dani and Wilson are VISTA volunteers. We started on the Canadian border on Rt. 7 at 5:35 a.m. The sky was blue and the temp a crisp 48. The northern part of Rt. 7 was in good condition but further south the road surface deteriorated. The wind was light at the start but in the first two hours I only averaged 19 m.p.h.
We were aiming for doing the 180 miles in 9:42 which would mean an 18.5 m.p.h. overall average. Determined to keep digging, I did just that but the wind kept picking up. It was directly out of the south, the direction I was headed all day. It averaged 10-15 m.p.h. I spent about 90% of my time down on the aerobars in an attempt to minimize wind resistance, only sitting up to go up hills. I felt fine, focused, and strong but the miles were not rolling past fast enough.
At 125 miles, after seven hours of riding, I pulled over and put a foot down for the first time. I explained to my crew that we were not going to beat the record. What should I do? They left it up to me. I decided it was pointless to ride the last 50 miles, risk injury. etc., and further tire out my super terrific volunteer crew. So I stopped there. It was a great workout, a good tour of Vermont, and would only take a couple days to recover.
We drove slowly back up to Burlington, stopping in Middlebury to wander around and have a nice lunch. I really enjoyed planning the ride, spending time with Dani and her friends, and seeing more of Vermont by bike. I admit, though, that from the aerobar position it is hard to sightsee! All in all it was a super weekend. But something is eating at me. I have not decided for sure, I have to talk with my daughter more, but I have a long weekend in July that would be perfect to go back and get that record.