Last Sunday, with the first cut of hay well underway in the remote hills of Tunbridge, weather promised to be slightly cooler and more overcast than last year for the the wildly hilly race course of The Ranger bike race.
Last year’s inaugural race had been organized to bring closer public attention to what was really at risk with the proposed NewVistas development.
The immaculately-organized, volunteer driven event put bikers from all over the Northeast face-to-face with what was at stake in the local landscape to the east and west of the Tunbridge Fairgrounds.
This year’s event shifted things into a higher gear, according to Michael Sacca, Alliance for Vermont Communities “collaborator in chief.” Sacca said that he didn’t have the final details exactly sorted yet, but it looked like an estimated 230 had registered for the race.
Riders came to Tunbridge for the growing race from five New England states, with some from as far away as New York, New Jersey and the province of Quebec.
Around 50% of the pack came from the hills of Vermont. New Hampshire had the second largest contingent, Massachusetts third, and so on down the line.
One thing that the stood out in the race’s demographics this year was a “no-drop women’s group ride,” Sacca said. No-drop group rides are planned so that no rider is dropped, with an experienced rider generally going last to make sure the slowest/ inexperienced rider is on track to complete.
There were also three adventurous families who entered the race together, said Sacca.
Fun To Watch, Too
Non-riders—a number of whom assisted organizers with the race details—enjoyed the day as well.
Tunbridge resident Eliza Minnucci said her family began the morning at the monthly “Recreation Breakfast” at the town hall, which offered a good meal and a chance to visit with neighbors.
“Then we got to watch the cyclists fly by our house, and then join the festivities (afterwards) at the fairgrounds,” she wrote in an email.
“Part of being a sustainable community is being a place where all age-groups are valued. Sunday was a great example of how, in Tunbridge, community members from 1 to100 have a place,” she wrote.