Vermont and change

I’ve been racing long enough to remember when you had to MAIL in race entries. Not e-mail but real, paper mail with a stamp on the envelope. And you found races by looking through announcements in VeloNews or USCF newsletter.

I can still picture the ad for the Killington Stage Race. It was a big race for the pros — last big race on the national calendar. It was big for amateurs too. A real stage race with big fields in all categories and big climbs in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

I did the race a couple of times, in 1999 and 2000 (after which the race went on hiatus until 2010). That’s long enough ago that it feels like forever. (I did the Masters 30+ race in ’99!).

In addition to picturing the old ad for the race, I also had a mental picture of the area. It was, as I remember it, beautiful. “Green Mountains” is an appropriate name. I also remember how refreshingly undeveloped the area was.

Going back this year for the first time since 2000, I was surprised to find that the picture in my head largely matched what I saw. How often does that happen? Seems you go back to a place where you have fond memories and then find that it’s not the same.

I figured we’d arrive to find lots of new, large condo complexes, chain restaurants, and Starbucks. But there was none of that. We stayed at a small inn on the access road. I got my espresso from a locally-owned bakery. We ate every meal at a local restaurant (including some amazing barbecue … in Vermont!). How often does that happen?

This is not just a random coincidence. I recalled reading about Vermonters opposing the growth of large “dollar stores”. So it seems to be a conscious thing.

Or maybe … it’s ingrained in how they see themselves in relation to their community and surroundings. Yeah. What if there was more of that elsewhere?

In any case, it was refreshing. I’m already thinking about going back: there’s another race in September (Green Mtn Stage Race).


(more on the Killington race itself to follow)


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Filed under culture, travel

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