Drink up, Vermont

With one of my neighbors in tow, I ventured forth to Greensboro to the one year anniversary of the Hill Farmstead Brewery yesterday -- I have been to previous events at this location. 

Edward / ? / Chantillion Iris (sour) / ? not my hand!
Beers of every hue and flavor profile were on tap... IPAs, sours, saisons & stouts.  I tried to avoid the selections that show up in Waterbury with any regularity.  The "Edward" pictured above was because by the end of the day the tap selection was getting a little thin...

When I initially showed up at this event, I was kind of disappointed, it was spritzing rain, there was a line to get in, and then an even longer line to get beer, and it was really crowded and kind of claustrophobic.  Things opened up as the afternoon went along however, and the space seemed to become less jam packed and the lines more manageable. 

The sodden ground and humid skies gave the event a vaguely Woodstockian feel -- some went shoeless in the mud.  Thankfully rain fell only intermittently and thunderstorms did not blow through.

NYC-based band The Del-Reys played a hot set.

Last call at about 5:50 pm:  Most of the beer was gone, and the crowd had thinned out considerably.

A small tent city for those who wanted to avoid driving home after an afternoon spent inbibing, but the ground was saturated and there were more storms on Saturday night, so I'm sure camping proved to be a damp experience.  I was judicious in what and when I had to drink so I just drove home at the end of the day through the soaked Vermont countryside.


Postdiluvian Waterbury

Record rainfall hit central Vermont on the night of May 26, as heavy thunderstorms stalled over the Winooski River valley -- some areas received over 5 inches of rain in a matter of a few hours.

Waterbury was relatively fortunate in that the town mostly stayed dry.  The athletic fields were innundated, however.

The river overflowed its banks and flooded the surrounding fields.  It has been an unusually wet spring and 2011 is shaping up to be a bad year for Vermont agriculture.

Though the sun was out in the afternoon, by Friday evening storms rolled in again, accompanied by wind, small hail, and more unwanted downpours. 

The river was an ugly swirl of unclean debris-laden water mixed with sewage and petroleum products from the flash flooding upstream.

More dramatic images here (VTDigger).


"A New Course for Barre": 1st Barre Grand Prix

So, there was a bicycle race in Barre yesterday - a first year event.

The local newspaper (which hides its entire website behind a paywall in an attempt to survive) proclaimed rather hyperbolically that the event drew "scores" to downtown.

As I was onsite from 5 am to 5 pm and walked many loops of the course during the day, I guess it would depend on the what the precise definition of 'scores' is... Thousands?  No.  Many hundreds?  I don't think so.  Were there some people out spectating and participating in various fitness-related related activities?  Yes.

Sunday morning, 5 am.  Setting up the course in the early morning stillness. 
All quiet on Granite Street, with the Old Labor Hall.  Cone & barrier placement by yours truly.
Later in the day, races staged on Main Street under sunny skies (very rare in VT this spring).
P1-2 Men cornered hard on the fast, swoopy course.  
It was kind of ironic to work on putting on bike race on May 22, 2011 because when I got home, tired, dirty and baked by 12 hours in the sun mixed with lots of interaction with the public, Tyler Hamilton was on Sixty Minutes, giving his insight into what really fueled Lance Armstrong's seven year reign in the Tour de France.

Doping scandals and real tragedies aside (here and here), it was fun to work a new race and meet some new people.   Barre is rough and downtrodden -- one of the reasons making the race easier to put on, was the number of vacant storefronts downtown... but many people put in many hours into planning the race -- trying to make something positive happen in the city.  I think that the team behind the event succeeded in putting in a foundation to build on in future years:  We don't want it to be 'one and done'.



Through circumstance, I have been involved in the attempt to put on this event in downtown Barre, Vermont, next weekend.

Race flyer (see here
I like Barre -- it's not gentrified and pretentious like some other places in Vermont.  It's rough and down on its luck and the city gets lots of bad press.

Putting on this race and the concurrent fitness festival, I'm working with some very optimistic, forward thinking people who are trying very hard to put on a positive, upbeat event for the local community.

Depot Square & Main St. -- the race finishes on Main 
That being said, and despite having considerable municipal support and a sufficient budget, success is by no means assured.

It's hard to raise enough volunteers to take care of all event needs (I've learned that the Boy Scouts are camping, and that the local Kiwanis Club is having flea market)... and then there is the fact that bike racers in New England live far south of Vermont.  How many of these folks are willing to make the trip (or plan an overnight stay after racing in Sunapee, NH the day before) for a first-year criterium race?

Hoping for some similar scenes on May 22 (more race images here).
Follow this link to read why the race is the Charlie Semprebon Memorial.

If by some happy chance someone reads this post and wishes to help out at the race (May 22, 2011) please email me.


The night visitor

I live in a rather suburban environment:  lawns, patios, garages, barbeque grills.  But nature isn't that far away...

A few more bear images here.


Double tap

Monday, 5/2/2011
"Brothers, that was a dog's death." -- The Jungle Book (death of Shere Khan)

"Cold as any stone." -- Henry V (death of Falstaff)

Fabienne: Whose motorcycle is this?
Butch: It's a chopper, baby.
Fabienne: Whose chopper is this?
Butch: It's Zed's.
Fabienne: Who's Zed?
Butch: Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead. --  Pulp Fiction

Just a few quotes to mark this event, perhaps slightly more appropriate than congregating in the street chanting "USA! USA! USA!" like killing a mass murderer is the equivalent of a winning a hockey game or something.   But to each their own.

I've already referenced "US Special Forces: Death is our business, and business is good" -- a bit of Southern fried bumper sticker wisdom --  previously here.