Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Day 31: Decompression in New Hampshire

I've found that when I decide to take on a "stretch goal" there is a process of self-tempering. It may not work this way for everyone, but this hardening process, being an embodiment of the decision, makes the execution easier because my commitment to the decision runs deeper. That in turn reduces doubts, internal debates and other conflicts.

So there is a inverse process that must occur when the goal is achieved, and I'm using "decompression" to describe it. As we near the Atlantic Ocean (just one 53 mile ride to go), the process of shutting down those various adaptations has begun. Although it may just be my imagination, I believe that the other riders and the crew are also changing in subtle ways.

In the most straightforward sense, I hardened my physical stamina and strength with my training and (importantly for the last couple of days) increased my ability to work in higher humidity and temperatures. However its also psychological: I hardened myself to not consider the possibility that I wouldn't finish, that I would have the fortitude to persist through the difficult stretches.

For me one of the most interesting dimensions of this tempering is the posture I take in my relations to the other folks on the tour. There is pretty broad spectrum here: the most significant relationship is certainly my roommate Paul, then there are the riders and crew I've spent a good amount of time with, then those with whom I have had more casual contact. For an effort of this magnitude there is camaraderie which will arise naturally if you don't get in its way. This can be enhanced with efforts to be considerate, to help others, and to recognize those aspects of one's personality that can get tiresome for others and tolerate those tiresome aspects in others.

However at the point of decompression some of these social graces are relaxed which can expose interpersonal frictions. Then the question arises: do we want this group experience to end amicably or like a bitter divorce? My sense is that everybody is pretty much on the amicable side. It will be interesting to watch the last day and see how it works out.

Today started early in Bennington, crossed the Connecticut River which separates Vermont from New Hampshire, then rode northeast to Concord NH. The south end of Vermont is surprisingly thin so the border came sooner that I expected.

Beginning of the Green Mountains

View from the top of the first summit - Bromley Ski Area

Lots of American Flags and Congregational Churches:

The Connecticut River

Motto also known as "who needs stinkin state tax?"

This one gets a +1 from me! Evidently NH feels that drivers can read and think:

This is a mill pond. We passed several large red brick mills from back in the day.

The granite state:

Moose habitat - but I didn't spot any Moose.

Bogs abounded

Most of us got soaked by a thunderstorm. This was the first significant rain of the tour. The three front riders passed ahead of the microburst, and the final rider came in behind it.

Love these old rock walls

I also love the ones that are kept up

They got a Sundance Solar here too, a decidedly lower key operation than the folks in Weaverville.

Plaque in Concord memorializing Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science church.


  1. I didn't know you had any tiresome qualities...I'll have to spend morre time with you to find out what they are...;-)...congratulations to you and Paul and the rest for a job and effort well done!- JLB

  2. Love the pictures and agree with the decompression trend.