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SheFly
05-27-2007, 12:08 PM
This might not be quite as difficult a set of climbs as in CA or CO, but around these parts, we consider it an epic ;) .

Friday, DH, a friend (AA) and I undertook the first assault on the notches for the year - Jefferson, Crawford and Pinkham. As we left Gorham on the 'cross bikes in the morning, temps were already in the mid 80s, and it was going to get warmer.

Last year, on this same day, DH and I did this same ride. Temperatures last year, however, were in the high 60s to mid 70s. Several times on the ride, DH commented that he didn't remember this loop being so difficult last year. I had to remind him that it was a minimum of 20 degrees warmer this year than last (and this was really the first warm weather and the hardest ride we had undertaken so far this year).

The loop starts in Gorham, NH, and begins with an 8% climb over 2 miles. No worrying about warming up ;-). Unfortunately, on the descent (also 8%, but over only 1/2 mile), I ran over a nail, and punctured both my tire and tube. DH and AA were ahead, and didn't realize that I had stopped for a few minutes. They did come back and we managed to get everything changed, and get back on our way.

We continued along Rte 2, and ducked off onto the snowmobile trail to head towards Jefferson Notch. In the winter, this is a great snowmobile route - DH and I climbed up here on one of the coldest nights last winter, and it was -5 F then ;) .

The climb is on a dirt road which is why we do this loop on our 'cross bikes. My goal for this year's ride was not to walk on the climb. Last year, there were two steep sections where I just couldn't get the pedals turned over while keeping traction on the loose dirt (the grader had just been though, and the same was true this year). At one point, I passed DH who had stopped at the side of the river to get some cool water on his head, but I kept climbing. I did spin out one one section, but didn't take one step - determined as ever not to walk!

I approached the summit not too long after DH and AA. I had achieved my goal, riding the entire ascent! I had also climbed 2 - 3 mph faster than last year (don't get excited - last year I rode at 2 mph which put me between 4 and 5 mph this year). Goal achieved! We stopped for a break and some pictures, and then began the descent.

Going up is difficult, but going down, to me, is scary. The pitch is steep and there are rocks and ruts in the road that you have to be careful not to hit. There is, however, a fine balance between controlling your speed, and not wearing out your brakes! The funny thing on the descent was passing patches of snow in the woods - 92 degrees, but there was still snow on the ground in places.

Once we got to the bottom of the Notch, we continued across the Cog Railway Road to Rte 302 to begin our descent of Crawford Notch. This is a 13% grade for 3/4 of a mile, and then continues to descend for the next 12 miles. DH hit a maximum speed of 53 mph going down this section of the loop, but I didn't feel entirely comfortable, and only managed about 38 mph. We moved along pretty quickly on this entire section, maintain a moving speed over about 23 mph until we hit Bartlett, and stopped to refuel.

After a short break, it was back on the bikes to head to Rte 16, which would take us up and over Pinkham Notch. By this point, we were all tired, and really hot, with not much left in the tanks. It is a 9 mile climb up the Notch from Jackson, NH and it was slow going. I watched DH and AA ride off, and resigned myself to the slog fest that would come to get to the top. At this point, I was tired and my back was killing me. I actually experienced hot spots in my feet on the way up as well, and it was the most uncomfortable my feet have ever been!

A quick regroup at the top of the Notch, and we headed back down into Gorham - an 11 mile descent. There was a lot of coasting going down since we were all so tired! We arrived back at the cars about 5 hours and 40 mins after we had started, with a total of 70 miles and 4500 feet of climbing.

A long, hard day in the saddle, but it was worth it, and we'll do it again next year!

Here are a few pics from the day:

SheFly
05-27-2007, 12:10 PM
Here are some more pics from the adventure...

Veronica
05-27-2007, 12:19 PM
Sounds like a fun ride. And woohoo for you for making it to the summit!

V.

Zen
05-27-2007, 02:17 PM
Thanks for making me feel like Queen of the Slugs.
I had to walk up much less than that today.

colby
05-27-2007, 02:21 PM
Reaching (smashing!) your goals: sweet.
Beating your previous record: awesome.
An epic ride: priceless.

Congratulations. ;)

Crankin
05-28-2007, 07:15 AM
:eek:

I once looked down that section of Rt. 302 and said "NO!."
Of course, that was 4 years ago.
Excellent job. I showed your pictures to my husband and he just shook his head. I know this means he is getting old.
It was really hot Saturday. I do remember last year it was only about 65 and rainy when I was riding in Jefferson. We cancelled our trip this year. The B and B had storm damage and couldn't accomodate the group, so the club was staying at a crappy motel across the way, with no good breakfasts. If I am going to ride a 7 mile climb, I want a good breakfast.
Hope your riding on Sunday was good, too.

traveller_62
05-28-2007, 10:06 AM
70 miles and 4500 of climbing in under 6 hours!? That is too much fun. Sounds like a great day and thanks for posting pics to go with it.

I'm especially interested in that 9 mile climb-fest to Pinkham Notch....will definitely need to try that one next time I'm in the area!

-traveller

SheFly
05-28-2007, 10:53 AM
An epic ride: priceless.


The truly priceless part was being finished :D . Somehow though, these epic rides are like childbirth - you forget the pain really quick!


If I am going to ride a 7 mile climb, I want a good breakfast.

Most people just shake their heads when we tell them about our rides ;) . What 7 mile climb are you doing?



I'm especially interested in that 9 mile climb-fest to Pinkham Notch....will definitely need to try that one next time I'm in the area!

-traveller

The climb up Pinkham is actually a little bit longer if you start at the bottom of Rte 16 (intersection of 16 and 302). From there, it is 2 miles up to Jackson, and then another 11 to the top of Pinkham. We have done this as an out and back once or twice - 22 miles each way, with loads of climbing!

Thanks, everyone, for the congrats. And, V, I don't think this is anything like what you do, but tough enough for me!

SheFly

mimitabby
05-28-2007, 01:03 PM
how did you get that leg shot?

sounds like a pretty tough climb!

telegirl
05-29-2007, 05:42 AM
GOOD JOB!!

Congratulations! And LOVE the pictures!

I have to say that people are surprised when I tell them some of the climbs that we do in New England. I am originally from Wyoming, so I do giggle when New Englanders call some of the hills here 'mountains', but when it comes to cycling, there are difficult grades here - And you did them!

YAY FOR YOU!!

p.s. Bikehubby and I went on our first rideon our cyclocross bikes this last Friday, so we could go on both dirt roads and tar roads and it was so much fun! The gearing was hard to get used to after having a triple on my road bike, but they are so great for multi-use!

Veronica
05-29-2007, 07:05 AM
Are there no original town names in New England? :D

I grew up in Hollis, ME. Robyn mentioned a Hollis, NH (I think.) We did our groceries in Gorham, ME and your ride started in Gorham, NH.

We're only spending a week in Maine this summer and family visiting will suck up most of our days. I keep telling myself we need to go back for longer sometime and really ride.

What size tires do you have on your cross bike SheFly?

V.

Crankin
05-29-2007, 08:22 AM
Yes, Veronica, there are so many repetitive names around here. I blame it on the unoriginal colonists.
SheFly, I don't know the names of the roads on the ride we were supposed to do. It starts in Jefferson, though. The climb isn't that steep, just long. I did it last year and I wasn't even the last one. I think I like short steep ones better, though.

SheFly
05-29-2007, 09:23 AM
how did you get that leg shot?
sounds like a pretty tough climb!

DH took that shot while riding - it's his leg in the photo ;)


Bikehubby and I went on our first rideon our cyclocross bikes this last Friday, so we could go on both dirt roads and tar roads and it was so much fun! The gearing was hard to get used to after having a triple on my road bike, but they are so great for multi-use!

Gearing wasn't my issue on the 'cross bike (although I was looking for a few lower gears...) since I have a double on my road bike also. My gearing is 42/34 x 11-28.

The real issue for me was the different geometry - caused some sore neck and shoulder muscles for sure! The other difference was in my confidence - my road bike is much more stable than my 'cross bike, so I took it a little easier on the descents than I normally would have.


Are there no original town names in New England?

I grew up in Hollis, ME. Robyn mentioned a Hollis, NH (I think.) We did our groceries in Gorham, ME and your ride started in Gorham, NH.

We're only spending a week in Maine this summer and family visiting will suck up most of our days. I keep telling myself we need to go back for longer sometime and really ride.

What size tires do you have on your cross bike SheFly?

Definitely no unique names here :D . Have you and Thom decided whether you are brining the tandem this summer? We are organizing a tandem adventure for July 7th in Bethel - would be great if you could join us (even if you are on your single bikes).

Tires on the 'cross bike are 700c x 30 kenda kwick cross tires, and I had about 80 psi in them (a little too much for the dirt climbs/descents, but not really enough for the road...).

Robyn - I will have to figure out where that ride you were supposed to do went - sounds interesting!

SheFly

Veronica
05-29-2007, 10:01 AM
Bummer, my sister (the one with tongue cancer) is planning a gathering at her house on the 7th.

Our tandem won't be done until the end of the summer. Our current one is just too uncomfortable now. Funny how once you know what a bike is supposed to fit like, you won't tolerate being uncomfortable.

Anyway, I'm hoping to talk Thom into bringing something, maybe our mountain bikes, maybe road with some beefier tires, since I'm intrigued by this ride. I can only take so much of our families. :D

V.

SheFly
05-29-2007, 11:05 AM
Bummer, my sister (the one with tongue cancer) is planning a gathering at her house on the 7th.

Our tandem won't be done until the end of the summer. Our current one is just too uncomfortable now. Funny how once you know what a bike is supposed to fit like, you won't tolerate being uncomfortable.

Anyway, I'm hoping to talk Thom into bringing something, maybe our mountain bikes, maybe road with some beefier tires, since I'm intrigued by this ride. I can only take so much of our families. :D

V.

I think we are going to be in Bethel the entire week of the 4th, so if you are looking to ride, let me know! We will also be doing a ride on the 8th with our friends, but I think that is when you are heading back out west... I'll PM you my direct contact info, and if you are interested in getting together during the week, just let me know - we'd be glad to show you some good riding!

SheFly

HappyAnika
05-29-2007, 12:02 PM
Great job on an awesome ride. :) Thanks for sharing the pictures. I will admit my first impulse is to chuckle when I see "Elevation 3009" like its a high point. I live in the "low" "valley" at 4980 ft., most of the area is 5200 - 5500. I grew up thinking Denver, the Mile High city, was low at 5280 because we lived in the mountains at 9500. BUT, its all relative. 0 - 3009 is still a 3009 ft. climb, and 4500 ft. in 70 miles is an awesome accomplishment. :D

PS. I forgot to add that I love your jersey!

short cut sally
06-22-2007, 05:58 AM
Great job and you should be proud! Its always fun when you can include a friend in the ride. Nice pics, I especially like the one taken from the riding view with you, your friend and the leg. Thats clever and talent!