The Prouty 2012

Cyclists at the Woodsville SAG

The Thirty-first Prouty on July 14, 2012 had over 5,000 participants riding, walking, and rowing to raise money for research at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Started by four Cancer Center nurses who rode 100 miles to honor their patient, Audrey Prouty. Their first 100 mile ride raised $4,000. So far this year over $2,500,000 has been contributed.

As stated on the Prouty web site: “All money raised supports cancer research and patient services at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Funds raised by The Prouty support Cancer Center researchers and clinicians who are working on innovative ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and hopefully, one day, cure cancer. Research conducted at Norris Cotton Cancer Center affects patient treatments around the world.”

The day promised to be very hot and steamy. An early start was mandatory to complete 100 miles as early in the afternoon as possible, preferable before 1 PM. Heading up Rt 10 toward Lyme it was dark and lonely, but with a colorful sky later riders would miss. The river was quiet and moody as I snapped a photo while gliding across the bridge to Thetford. A great little camera, the LX5, was around my neck the whole ride. Many of the photos here were taken at 15 mph. Note my shadow in the tall skinny photo at the far right.

Heading up Rt 5 from Thetford,the sun started to make an appearance. It was going to be a beautiful day with little wind.

The classic “three lanes” section of I-91 approaching Fairlee loomed ahead as the sun and sky were still colorful. This is a dangerous section of I-91 at night since it looks like approaching cars are on the wrong side of the highway when heading north.

The Lyme SAG was not yet open when I breezed past, and the Fairlee SAG was just getting Gatorade mixed, bananas cut, and sandwiches made. I stopped in Fairlee to refill my water bottle and eat a banana. I planned to pay extra attention to staying hydrated for this ride. I crossed the beautiful Samuel Morley Bridge back into NH to Orford and started up the long series of hills along Rt 25A north of Mount Cube.

Suddenly a pair of deer appeared in the road ahead of me. They saw me and scrambled into the brush on left side. I got a photo of one just as the startled deer was turning and falling down on the road. It quickly righted itself and joined the other. By the time I passed the spot where they entered the brush, they were gone.

Finally the top of the hill was in sight as was the Mount Cube SAG. Young volunteers were directing riders into the SAG making sure that none missed the sandwiches and other nourishment they had prepared. As at other SAGs a bike tech was available to help with problems and adjustments.

Last year the Warren SAG had a trio of stringed instruments playing in the barn, but this year the scene was fairly quiet. I stayed only a short while. Many faster riders were now catching up to me. I made it past the Nike Missile by the church in Warren and headed northwest on Rt 25 on the southern side of Moosilauke. A rider with a yellow Ultimate jersey and bib—there seemed to be a lot of young Ultimate riders around now—warned me “to be careful of the freight trail that was soon coming down the hill”. He was referring to a large group of riders that roared past me.

The midway SAG in Pike was busy with riders and talk of recent events. The ride through North Haverhill was uneventful and at the Woodsville SAG a large group of riders passes those just leaving the SAG. Back into Vermont, the shady Newbury SAG was jumping with music and cyclists.

As we approached the bridge from Piermont, NH just short of the Bradford SAG, many 50-milers with their red bibs streamed into Vermont to join us on our ride home.

As we crossed the bridge from Fairlee to Orford we picked up the 35-milers with their purple bibs. Then everyone converged on the Lyme Green at the final SAG as the 20-milers joined the crowd before leaving us briefly for their return trip down River Road.

Amazingly long line of bikes headed home down Rt 10. Cresting the Chieftain Hill, a Valley News photographer snapped my photo with a group of others (it appeared in the paper the next day) and I got one of him as I rode past.

I finally crossed the finish line about 12:30 barely vertical and the world seemed to be spinning a bit as I walked through the food lines in my bike shoes that are not meant for walking.

A young walker was getting a massage and folks were spread over the lawn enjoying the beautiful though warm early summer afternoon.

Below is a slide show of some of the other photos I took at the 2012 Prouty. It was a very fun event and one that raised a considerable amount for cancer research and treatment.

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You can see photos from the 2011 Prouty by CLICKING HERE.