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!”
I. FREAKING. LOVE. YOU. ERIN.
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…
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).
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
We finally got to our intersection and we both were relieved. Finally the wind will be behind us.
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.”