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Thread: Hors Epic

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    Hors Epic

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    It seemed like a good idea - an early season notch ride, covering about 107 miles. Easily doable, and something we had done before (although not this exact route). We planned to set out from the Lincoln, NH Visitor's Center at 9:30, and figured we would be back by 3:30, at the latest.

    Little did we know...

    We chose to head north to ride given that the forecast for MA was for rain. When we set out, and for most of the day, we were blessed with sunny skies and temps in the low to mid 40s. Excellent riding weather - we thought .

    The first hurdle on our route was the climb up Kinsman Notch, which comes just 5 miles into the overall ride. DH and our friend went ahead, while I set a steady pace for me, and knocked off the first climb. Thirty minutes in, and we had already climbed 1000 feet! As we started on the descent, we experienced the first hint of wind. The gusts were strong enough to blow you off a particular line, and at speed, a bit scary. We chalked that up to where we were, and rolled on along our route.

    The next challenge came in a climb in Franconia. Someone might have taken a wrong turn that caused us to climb 1000 feet... I won't say who that was .

    As we headed towards Rte 93 and then onto Rte 3 and then 302, the wind was a HUGE factor! There was no "free ride" sitting in the draft today - everyone worked. We estimate that we rode a LOT of miles into a sustained 15-20 mph headwind, as well as enduring 35-40 mph gusts that would almost take you off the bike. Sections of the road that we KNOW are fast sections we were struggling to maintain 13 mph... It was tough work and slow going. I felt bad for making DH and our friend do the lion's share of the work, but it was EVERYTHING that I could do just to not lose the wheel in front of me.

    As we approached Crawford Notch, the wind continued. The descent here is normally a 50+ mph speed-fest. On this ride, we were pedalling the entire way down trying to maintain 16 mph . The wind was tunneling up from the valley directly into the notch. At one point, a gust hit so hard I envisioned all three of us getting tossed into the gully below, or into the traffic. It was the scariest descent I have ever made on a bicycle!

    The headwind continued all along Rte 302, into Bartlett and beyond. We turned onto West Side Rd in North Conway, and it seemed as if the wind, in a cruel fashion, moved again to force us into a headwind.

    Finally, we found ourselves on Passaconaway Rd - the final stretch before the Kanc. At this point, I was exhausted, and just trying to keep pedaling for the remaining 30 or so miles. Imagine my surprise when I rode down a hill to find a gate, and the road beyond covered in SNOW! Too tired to even THINK about turning back (this would have easily added 25 miles to our journey), we decided to walk, pushing our bikes. It couldn't be too far, right?

    A mile and a half later, our friend and I emerged, finally, from the snowy road onto dry pavement. But where was DH? He had gone ahead and we didn't see him. Looking at my watch, and seeing that it was already after 4 pm (remember we thought we would be back by 3:30?), I figured that he had booked back to get the car. So, off we went, headed UP the Kanc.

    And up, and up, and up. It wasn't until we finally got near the top of the climb that the I felt the tailwind. FINALLY! Our friend was waiting for me at the top, we donned all the clothes we had (at that point, it had clouded over and the temp had dropped to about 37) and started the descent. The funniest part of that was the two cars who passed by us video-taping us! They must have thought we were nuts .

    Partway down the descent, I saw DH approaching with the car. After 7:43 in the saddle, 101 miles of riding and 7500 feet of climbing, I got in, with no shame. Our friend descended another 2 miles before also giving in to the biting cold, and the fatigue.

    It was certainly an adventure that went beyond epic, one we will talk about for a long time to come.

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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    And if you click on her blog - you'll see pictures!

    I like living where it's warmer!

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
    And if you click on her blog - you'll see pictures!

    I like living where it's warmer!

    Veronica
    But bring that snazzy new bike back here this summer - we'll go for some doozies
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,144
    Oy, SheFly, I have a bad mental image of you going down that hill on Rt. 302. Riding that route is challenging to begin with; congratulations for surviving your journey.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    162
    WOW just WOW what a journey! The pictures are amazing.
    ~ Annie ~

    Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs
    My fitness blog

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
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    9,351
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    But bring that snazzy new bike back here this summer - we'll go for some doozies
    I need that fast bike to have any hope of staying near you guys.

    Alas, we're not going east this summer. I'll be in class all summer long.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    1,828
    egads! Many congratulations on only taking 7 hours. A similar epic ride of 110 miles I did on the cross country last summer between Marathon and Del Rio Texas, with lots of steep rollers but no real epic climbs, against a constant 20 - 30 mph headwind took 12 hours on the bike and a total of 15 hoours if you count stopping to breath, get water, stretch, take on nutrition etc. I did the first 60 pretty much on my own and then I caught up with a group of 5 other ladies and we took turns doing 2 mile stints.

    Again- congratulations to you all, at least we didn't have snow to fight against.

    marni

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    You are crazy (but in a sane cycling kind of way).
    I'm super impressed!!!! WOW!
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

 

 

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