Windy 80 Miler

I do not have a lot of friends that I can talk about going for a ride the night before and have the following exchange:

Erin: “How far do you want to go?”
Me: “I was thinking…80 miles?”
Erin: “80 miles would be PERFECT! That is just what I was thinking!”


Pretty much everyone else that I am friends with would laugh and say they wouldn’t want to drive that far, much less ride.  But in truth, pretty much everything you do with Erin is pretty epic, so she was totally game for this.

We planned a route that looked fun – here is the elevation profile…

NH, New Hampshire, White Mountains, bike, ride

Basically it was a loop around Mount Washington and the Presidentials.

We jumped in my truck and drove the 20 minutes from Erin’s house to Glen.  The day turned out to be sunny (finally, I was getting moldy from all of this rain) with what we thought was a slight breeze (hint: this is foreshadowing). 

NH, New Hampshire, White Mountains, bike, ride

Erin pumping up

We hit the road and started the climb up to Pinkham Notch.  Somewhere on the way up I stopped to snap a quick photo of Mount Washington peeking through the trees.   

NH, New Hampshire, White Mountains, bike, ride

Mount Washington peeking through the trees. And my thumb.

I said to Erin. “geez, this wind is just awesome” with a hint of sarcasm. 

She replied, “It’s not too bad!” with her fabulous smile.

We had planned to stop at Pinkham Notch so Erin could grab an extra spare tube from her husband’s truck.  He is a Snow Ranger for the Forest Service in the Tuckerman Ravine area.

Yes, people are still skiing. There is a lot of snow up there…See?

NH, New Hampshire, White Mountains, bike, ride

See the snow?

Anyway, when we got to Pinkham Notch, Erin said, “I take back what I said about the wind.  It really is kind of windy!”  I nodded in agreement.   I could actually see snow blowing off the top of Mount Washington.

I was staring at my front tire, thinking about the wind and the climbing.  I looked up and there was a Moose about 10 feet in front of me.  I actually screamed a little I was so surprised.   I am pretty sure he was as shocked as I was because he ran directly into the woods across the road. 

I looked at the wet moose tracks on the pavement as I rolled by, and heard Erin laughing.  She shouted, “I wish I had a camera for that!”

The wind continued to pick up.  As I was descending toward Gorham, I am pretty sure the wind was blowing off of Mount Washington directly into the side of my bike.  It moved my bike literally 3 feet to the right, then the left.  I had to really distribute my weight to keep from getting thrown around.

I thought to myself, I am sure glad we are turning so this will be at our back for a while.

Silly Mandy.

We stopped in Gorham at a new bike shop called Porky Gulch.   Definitely a great place to stop to get a tune or a fix up if you are in the area.

Porky Gulch Bike Shop, Gorham, NH

We continued on Route 2, and the wind just kept getting stronger.   I looked at Mount Adams as I rolled by, thinking to myself that I was just standing on top of that mountain a few weeks ago. 

Mt Adams, NH, White Mountains, New Hampshire

Looking towards Mount Adams

Actually I was trying to think of anything but the wind.   It was very strong, making even the down hills a bit trying because of the way it threw you around.   

At least it was pretty.

NH, White Mountains, New Hampshire

Somewhere on the ride

We finally got to our intersection and we both were relieved.  Finally the wind will be behind us.

Wrong again.  

This is where I quit taking pictures. 

It seemed impossible, but the wind got stronger.  I was pedaling downhill hard and I was alternately crawling along and getting thrown right or left.  I was thankful for the large shoulder.   Any uphill was a slog.  It was 10 miles of just straight up fighting the wind.

We both decided we needed a stop for water/snacks when we got to the next store, we were both low on fuel anyway. 

The people in the store were great, they kept asking how we were dealing with the wind.  The lady in the store said that usually there are big beer umbrellas over the tables out front, but they both broke off and blew away. 


Back on the bike, we made it to the top of Crawford Notch.  The wind was really blowing up there and throwing us around, but it wasn’t like we could do anything about it. 

From this point, we knew it was pretty much downhill to the truck.  The steepest part of the descent had horrible pavement and no shoulder, which coupled with the wind pushing me around, totally freaked me out. 

I was thinking crap…this is going to be a struggle.  But after about a mile or two of the crappy pavement, it gave way to really nice fast pavement.  As I lost elevation, the wind became less and less of an issue.   

By the time we dropped down to Bartlett, the wind was non-existent.  I even said something to Erin about it being awful hot without the wind.  She laughed at me and agreed.

We got to the truck and as Erin pulled up next to me, I said, “Want to do another loop?” 

I was a little nervous she would say yes.  Thankfully she just laughed at me and said, “Yeah, right.”

About caratunkgirl

Short spunky girl from the tiny town of Caratunk, Maine. Active outdoor girl. I am a forester, whitewater raft guide, Ironman and 5x marathoner with Ultra dreams. Always ready for the next adventure with my dog Kineo by my side.
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19 Responses to Windy 80 Miler

  1. Kevin says:

    Woohoo for great people to ride with! I did most of my training last year solo, but have found more people to ride with this year and am absolutely loving it! It takes a little more planning and schedule changes to make everyone’s schedule mesh, but it is totally worth it. By yourself, this ride probably would have been absolutely miserable. But now, even if it was miserable, you have someone to share it with and laugh about it with.

    Great job on the ride! It sounds like good IMMT prep.

    And I know I have said it before, but repeat, Michigan needs some mountains like that. Gorgeous!

  2. Matt Smith says:

    Mandy! That ride sounds like a lot of fun despite the wind. A moose out on the road? I’d be lucky to see a chicken or such. Actually, the other day, I saw a copper head in my lane.

    I’m glad you’ve got Erin to be out there for hours on end. It really helps to have a great friend to do it all with. That’s great! Keep up the good work!

  3. Your pictures are always so gorgeous they make me jealous outside of the 14 straight months of snow.

    Make sure you bring muffins and chocolates as she is a keeper if she is open to riding 80 miles.

    By the way I bought my airline tickets for OOB. Will email you my itinerary later this morning.

  4. Kovas says:

    Sounds epic – we have the same problem here in the Midwest, strong headwinds coming and going!

  5. Jeff says:

    Looks like you guys had a great ride!

  6. Heather says:

    You two are troopers, and it makes an excellent blog post!

  7. Sounds like a great ride – but I do hate when those winds are making you miserable no matter which direction you are going. Oh how I hate pedaling hard on a flat or downhill section just to keep moving! Sounds like the company and the scenery made up for some of it though. Great ride!

  8. Colleen says:

    Yay for riding with someone else… especially on those roads for that long!

    I hate wind. I literally would do an out and back ride with a straight headwind on the way out and it will ALWAYS turn and be a headwind on the way home. Always. What the hell? I guess wind is good resistance training… or something like that.

    Way to get it done girl! 🙂

  9. Ross Congo says:

    Good Job! I have always wanted to do that ride ever since I lived in Gorham but the Cliffs have always called first.

  10. WTH? Wind and Hills? Should be wind OR hills. that’s nasty stuff right there. Glad you made it through!

  11. Matt Oravec says:

    Do you know how jealous I am that you can ride that shit?

    My hills at my house were a few hundred feet hahahaha. I NEED TO RIDE w/ YOU UP THERE!!!!!

    Plus, the advent of potential moose sightings and other distractions would be awesome!!!

    Great job out there. Probably the most demoralizing thing is actually having to pedal DOWN HILL because of the wind… sigh.

  12. Christi says:

    You will think of this ride when you are at IMMT and thank your lucky stars you had this training!

  13. Great 80 miler! I can’t wait until my husband and I do an 80 miler, we just did 20 this weekend but it was a lot of fun.

    I can’t wait to go home to Maine in the summer and ride around the roads there. It will be a lot of fun!

  14. Coy Martinez says:

    There is nothing that can be so frustrating as fighting the wind on a bike ride! Looks like you got to see all kinds of cool stuff along the way! The views look incredible! I have location envy!

  15. shannon says:

    man, what a ride! i won’t complain about the wind anymore until it’s this bad… 😉

  16. Black Knight says:

    Glad you have a wonderful friend like Erin to enjoy this kind of adventures!
    Wind and hills, not the best situation for a ride.

  17. BDD says:

    Nice ride!! Hill and wind is like riding up mountians

  18. Emz says:

    I. Freaking. Loved. This.

    Love. Friends.

    Wind….not so much in the face but…bum? Yes!!

    80 miles.
    That’s amazing.

  19. Emz says:

    Erin. rocks. Too.

    Had to add that.
    I felt like I was there with you. Noting all the smiles.

    So awesome.

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