Saturday, April 26, 2008

Training Weekend 12

Here is our big weekend: The so-called Franconia Notch ride. This time there will be no Franconia Notch, because the bike trails there are still snow-covered, and are not open for that purpose yet. So, instead, we will go directly to Kinsman's Notch on the Kankamagus Hwy, and will return by the same route, going up and over twice! What a course.

The first photo shows the team that will participate in the ride, including Paula who will drive SAG for us for the first portion of the trip. She appears to be in good enough shape to do 100 miles already! But thanks to her for doing the truck-driving!

Some of us were fortunate enough to spend the previous night at teammate Jack's house in Waterville Valley. I think I got the best accommodations! The loft bed on the stairway landing was so comfortable, I felt like I'd had two nights' rest by the time I got up Saturday morning.

I discovered that I'd left my Camelback bladder at home, even though I'd brought the Camelback pouch. Lot of good that'll do! Improvising, I put some bottles in the backpack, full of diluted Gatorade, and then filled my two bike bottles with plain water. While this was not as easy an hydration method as water-in-the-tube, it kept me from drying out or buying a new water bladder, and saved $40 or so.

Having this experience, I didn't forget to pack my food supplements, including the usual four gel packs, and two Cliff bars. (I also keep spares in my bike saddle bag.) So I never got hungry on the ride, and never let myself dry out.

Here is the ride path Coach Don mapped out for us:
[There will be a map pic here soon!]

You can see how we have been slated to climb the peak of Kankamagus Hwy (called Kinsman's Notch) twice, once going out to the west, and once coming back. There is a breeze from the West in the morning, becoming southerly on the way back in the afternoon. So we will have the wind in our face at the Notch when we come back to the base.

We finally started out the long ride at about 08:45 out of the Hobo Railroad Junction mini golf parking lot, just to the east of I-93. After going under the highway, and leaving Lincoln, NH behind, we began the long climb.

From this side, the climb is actually about 2 miles long, and is at its steepest near the top of the hill. The climb is shorter and steeper from the other side, however. It may have taken us about half an hour to get up to the top of the hill from the base, and you could certainly see a lot of the local White Mountains from there.

I confess I had to stop three times as I approached the summit at the steepest point. My heart rate was too high (193) and kept jumping back up over 190 every time I rode 50 more feet uphill. I finally got it under control as we approached the hilltop, and the grade became more relaxed. I may say part of the problem was my caffeine intake at breakfast, and that I might do well in the future to cut down on the stimulants I use, including the amount of coffee in future rides, no matter how high the hills are.

I am getting better at hill-climbing, with the practice on Mile Hill Road at Mt Wachusett on Thursdays, so there is no need to think I need to overstimulate to get up to places like this.

And a loverly place it is. You can see that we are not at all at any "summit," here, as the Notch goes between the more glorious peaks in the area. We are probably at about 2000 feet of altitude, having come up from about 500-600 feet at the base area.

So enough of that; down we all go toward Rte 116, which will take us north to near the Franconia Notch State Park, but we will not be going in there.

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