Branford Supply Ponds was our first real destination location, a huge plot of land filled with serpentine trails that seemed tailor made for bikes, fast and flowing with an occasional techy section to navigate through. Stan spent just about every winter weekend up in Vermont skiing with his family and developed a fierce passion for the place. He made the suggestion that we take the bikes to the North Country, the home of real mountains in the Northeast. We piled our bikes into the back of his Chevy Chevette and got on I-91 headed North. We landed at Killington Ski area 3 hours later, right smack dab in the middle of Vermont, got out our 15mm spanners and bolted the wheels back into the frame. By trial and error we found and connected service roads that lead to the top of the mountain. The descents were amazing, we'd pick some random ski trail that would connect back up with a service road but the down was so worth the long toil upwards. We were giggling like little schoolgirls by the time we reached bottom again, not to mention hands were cramped and numb from squeezing sub-par canti's for an hour or so. This became a bit of a habit for us one summer, every available weekend we'd make the trek North to check out and check off the biggies, Mt Snow, Stowe, Stratton, Mount Greylock in Mass. We even got in the renowned Mt Washington before bikes were outlawed on the autoroad with exception of the annual hillclimb affair. Coming down the road was an experience I hope I never forget.
Our most outlandish scheme was to ride the length of the Quinipiac Trail, a North-South route through Connecticut that started at Long Island Sound and finished at the Massachusetts border. We had it all plotted out and would ride the trail in pieces. To scope out one of the most Northerly sections we drove two cars up and left one high and backtracked to the trailhead. At the time I had a raging case of poison ivy and was covered head to toe in Calamine lotion. We fueled up at a Friendlys restaurant and left the trailhead at 2pm expecting about a 2-3 hour jaunt. We had no compass and no map, some water and perhaps a banana, I doubt either of us had a watch on. The trail was very decent, well used but a bit slow going with lot's of super steep hike-a-bike sections. The trail was easy to follow as trees were marked with a blue blaze every few hundred yards. By dusk we were falling way behind schedule and suddenly found ourselves on top of a ridgeline that had experienced a massive wind event. Tree's were laying every which way so not only were we clambering over deadfall but the trail markers were gone and it was losing daylight quickly. By dark we were thoroughly lost the trail was obliterated and couldn't be found. After "discussing" options we figured the best route out was to get off the ridge, out of the woods and find a road. Coming off the ridge was tricky, we emptied out into a soggy cornfield and tracked our way out to a dirt road which thankfully met pavement quickly. After a few more hours of getting our bearings we stumbled into our car. It was 9PM, a full seven hours later. All I could recall was exhaustion, bliss, and a full bag of chocolate chip cookies in the car that was gone in an instant.Thanks for reading, in Part 3 the racing bug bites again