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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Bar Harbor, Maine
    Posts
    165

    Western Maine road conditions report

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    I had a great training weekend over in the Bethel region of Maine this past weekend. Weather was cool, but dry. Unfortunately there were relentless 20-25 mph headwinds all weekend which made things interesting!

    Here are the road reports....

    1. River Road and Evans Notch, NH (Rt 113) (45 miles roundtrip).

    We rode from Sunday River ski area down River Road to Rt. 2 and then picked up Rt 113. Rt. 2 is fine. River Road is clear and is jam-packed with little rollers so it makes a nice training ride for practicing relatively short climbs.


    Rt. 113 was actually in good condition. The Maine DOT folks were out sweeping it on Friday. However, the gate is across the road just before you enter the White Mountains National forest.

    We went under the gate to see if we could ride to the top of Evans Notch. The further we rode the more debris (branches, etc.) there was on the road. Near the top of the Notch there were still patches of slush and snow and ice.

    It was great to ride with no cars on the road but all of the junk in the road prompted us to turn around before the top. If you have a mountain bike then it would probably be no problem and I suspect that the road will be open all the way across the Notch in the next week or so.


    2. Sunday River to Rangeley, Maine (67 miles one way)

    On Saturday we rode from the Sunday River up Rt 2 to Rumford and then picked up Rt 17 out towards Mexico. After awhile Rt. 17 doesn't have a shoulder but there was little traffic. (That said, It is probably not a good road to ride in the summer when there are a lot of tourists about.) We rode Rt. 17 over a beautiful pass (killer climb!!!). We then picked up Rt. 16/Rt. 4 into Rangeley. There were several long, steep climbs on the approach to Rangeley.

    Our plan is to do this ride again but take 16 back through Erroll, NH and Grafton Notch back to Sunday River to make a loop. But the climbing and headwinds were too much this past weekend and neither of us could face another 40 miles of climbing. So we got picked up by car and called it a day.

    Although Rt 2 is a major road with a fair amount of traffic, the section from Bethel to Rumford is actually a nice flat section and good for time trial training or just for a nice flat recovery ride.


    3. Sunday River to Jordan Grand Resort Hotel (15 miles round trip)

    Sunday we did even more climbing. If you are looking for a really long steep climb for training you don't have to look any further than the road up to the Jordan Grand Resort Hotel. Just take Rt. 2 to the Sunday River Resort Road and look for the turn off..I think it is the same road that takes you to the Sunday River golf course.

    The road to the Jordan Resort Hotel is about 4.5 miles long and has some wicked steep sections ---but also some places to recover.

    So there you have it..it was an epic training weekend. Now I get to rest for a few days!

    -traveller
    "It never gets easier, you just go faster." -- Greg LeMond

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815
    Quote Originally Posted by traveller_62 View Post
    1. River Road and Evans Notch, NH (Rt 113) (45 miles roundtrip).

    We rode from Sunday River ski area down River Road to Rt. 2 and then picked up Rt 113. Rt. 2 is fine. River Road is clear and is jam-packed with little rollers so it makes a nice training ride for practicing relatively short climbs.

    Rt. 113 was actually in good condition. The Maine DOT folks were out sweeping it on Friday. However, the gate is across the road just before you enter the White Mountains National forest.

    We went under the gate to see if we could ride to the top of Evans Notch. The further we rode the more debris (branches, etc.) there was on the road. Near the top of the Notch there were still patches of slush and snow and ice.

    It was great to ride with no cars on the road but all of the junk in the road prompted us to turn around before the top. If you have a mountain bike then it would probably be no problem and I suspect that the road will be open all the way across the Notch in the next week or so.
    I think you actually went out North Rd (from your description). This is an AWESOME road for riding - little traffic and some great rollers. I figured there might still be some snow/ice/slush up there - sounds like after this week though it should be all gone!

    Quote Originally Posted by traveller_62 View Post
    2. Sunday River to Rangeley, Maine (67 miles one way)

    On Saturday we rode from the Sunday River up Rt 2 to Rumford and then picked up Rt 17 out towards Mexico. After awhile Rt. 17 doesn't have a shoulder but there was little traffic. (That said, It is probably not a good road to ride in the summer when there are a lot of tourists about.) We rode Rt. 17 over a beautiful pass (killer climb!!!). We then picked up Rt. 16/Rt. 4 into Rangeley. There were several long, steep climbs on the approach to Rangeley.

    Our plan is to do this ride again but take 16 back through Erroll, NH and Grafton Notch back to Sunday River to make a loop. But the climbing and headwinds were too much this past weekend and neither of us could face another 40 miles of climbing. So we got picked up by car and called it a day.

    Although Rt 2 is a major road with a fair amount of traffic, the section from Bethel to Rumford is actually a nice flat section and good for time trial training or just for a nice flat recovery ride.
    Nice ride! Something to think about as well, is to ride from Rangeley back around and down to Mexico, making a loop. This nets you about 100 miles total (we've done this on tandems, starting from Walmart in Mexico), and winds through heavy moose country with VERY little traffic - even in the middle of summer! I'll have to find the exact routes for you....

    That killer pass is called the "height of the land" on 17, heading into Oquossuc.

    Rte 2 between Bethel and Rumford is awesome for riding. There is also a great road on the other side of the river - Intervale Rd from Bethel to Rumford Pt, and then follow the river to Rumford. This has less traffic, and is a little more "rolly" than Rte 2.

    Quote Originally Posted by traveller_62 View Post
    3. Sunday River to Jordan Grand Resort Hotel (15 miles round trip)

    Sunday we did even more climbing. If you are looking for a really long steep climb for training you don't have to look any further than the road up to the Jordan Grand Resort Hotel. Just take Rt. 2 to the Sunday River Resort Road and look for the turn off..I think it is the same road that takes you to the Sunday River golf course.

    The road to the Jordan Resort Hotel is about 4.5 miles long and has some wicked steep sections ---but also some places to recover.

    So there you have it..it was an epic training weekend. Now I get to rest for a few days!

    -traveller
    UGH! I don't like DRIVING that section of road! DH and I have often said that it would be a killer climb on bikes. Good for you for giving it a go!

    Sounds like you had a great weekend of riding! Not only lots of miles, but also lots of climbing. I love riding up there - little traffic, beautiful scenery and a great workout.

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    959

    Talking Western Maine roads

    AHHH glad to hear that someone else is enjoying this area! I live here, and there are plenty of great rides whether you want to climb or have a recovery ride along Rt 2(although it tends to be windy here quite a bit). If you'd like more climbing, there is East B hill in Andover that leads to Rt 26(GRafton Notch) and Route 120 near Roxsbury/Andover/Rumford. There's also Howard Pond in Hanover which is a fairly good climb. I'd be gald to give anyone more routes if you need something new...

    Have fun, it's a GREAT place to ride !!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815
    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    AHHH glad to hear that someone else is enjoying this area! I live here, and there are plenty of great rides whether you want to climb or have a recovery ride along Rt 2(although it tends to be windy here quite a bit). If you'd like more climbing, there is East B hill in Andover that leads to Rt 26(GRafton Notch) and Route 120 near Roxsbury/Andover/Rumford. There's also Howard Pond in Hanover which is a fairly good climb. I'd be gald to give anyone more routes if you need something new...

    Have fun, it's a GREAT place to ride !!
    UGH - East B Hill is a killer climb! I've also done the Roxbury Gap. Last year, the week of July 4, DH and I did 4 back-to-back 75 mile+ rides up there, with a total of over 12,000 ft of climbing - all on our cross bikes!

    We have a house just outside of Bethel on 26. Do you live in Bethel? The next time we come up to ride, I should give you a call!

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Bar Harbor, Maine
    Posts
    165
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    ride from Rangeley back around and down to Mexico, making a loop. This nets you about 100 miles total (we've done this on tandems, starting from Walmart in Mexico), and winds through heavy moose country with VERY little traffic - even in the middle of summer! I'll have to find the exact routes for you....SheFly
    That sounds like a great loop to me. I'll have to look carefully at the map again.

    We did see a moose off Rt. 17 on our way into Oquossuc. They are losing their winter coats and look kind of mangey (sp?) at this time of year!

    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    That killer pass is called the "height of the land" on 17, heading into Oquossuc.

    SheFly
    It was beautiful once we got to the top. The view was outstanding and there was still ice on the lakes up there. But it seemed like every time I thought I had made it to the top we'd round a corner and have to face another steep section. For me the biggest challenge was to keep a good mental attitude because my training partner is a much stronger climber than I am and was way out in front of me the whole climb.

    I'll have to tackle that East B hill Ridebikeme mentioned on my next trip down. I'm in training for the Mt. Washington Autoroad Hillclimb this year (first time) and so am really trying to pack in good hill workouts.

    I will likely be riding the Loon Echo Bike Trek Century again this year with some friends from our local bike club. Anyone else planning to ride that event? I think it is in September.

    -traveller
    "It never gets easier, you just go faster." -- Greg LeMond

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    959

    Red face Western Maine roads

    Hello... I actually live in Andover, but worked at Sunday River this winter.( I read earlier posts where you mentioned that you ski as well) It sounds as though you had some great climbs last year...especially on a cross bike If you do end up in the area, definitely give me a call.. 392-3732. It would be great to meet some fellow cyclists!

    As for the Loon echo ride, "no" I probably won't be doing it. I'm definitely interested in hearing more about Mt Washington though!! I signed up last year(first time) and became sick enough to be in the hospital, so needless to say I wasn't able to do it. I am definitely interested in doing some hill climbs though... unfortunately crank the Kanc is full.. are you doing that as well?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Bar Harbor, Maine
    Posts
    165
    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    I'm definitely interested in hearing more about Mt Washington though!! I signed up last year(first time) and became sick enough to be in the hospital, so needless to say I wasn't able to do it. I am definitely interested in doing some hill climbs though... unfortunately crank the Kanc is full.. are you doing that as well?
    I have a couple of friends who are doing the Kanc but I'm going to focus on Mt. Washington this year...and depending on my schedule and how I'm feeling I may give the Highlander Tour (September) in New York a shot. At some point I'd love to do the Kancamagus ride because it is just such a beautiful area and I used to do a lot of camping and rock climbing up near there.

    My sense is that the biggest challenge for Washington is going to be mental. I think my legs are strong enough but it will be slow and steep and long and possibly very very windy. I'm actually scheduled for 4 rides up the mountain -- two practice rides and then two events: Newton's Revenge in July and the classic Mt. Washington Autoroad Hillclimb in August. Sitting here now I'm looking forward to it all, but when it comes to the morning of the climb I'll probably be chewing on antacids like they were candy!

    I'm not sure when I'll be back to the Bethel/Sunday River area to train again but I'll post here when I do and maybe we can get a small group ride pulled together!

    Cheers,
    -traveller
    "It never gets easier, you just go faster." -- Greg LeMond

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    959

    Talking Western Maine roads

    Hi Traveller,

    Your summer plans sound awesome!! I'm hoping to do the same thing next summer, somehow most of the hillclimbs around New England aren't fitting into my schedule...I'm sure that you will do fine though!! Everyone that I have spoken with about it has mentioned that it really isn't that difficult... Regardless I applaud your efforts! What is the difference between the hillclimb and Newtons revenge?

    I have done a couple of tours in NY.. the Addirondack tour and the Hudson Valley tour. There's also another tour that leaves Bethel and climbs through Coburn Gore and back through Kingfield, Rangeley, Andover and back to Bethel... that's a great tour and fair amount of climbing.(June 24-30)

    I'd definitely be interested in trying to get a group together to ride if you end back in this area... just let me know! In the meantime, good luck in your training!

 

 

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