The Big Kanc

July 8, 2010

New Hampshire has a beautiful mountainous region. Right in the heart of that is a fantastic highway: The Kancamagus.

I’ve driven this highway, and by far the coolest part is the river that runs along it. Not that the view is anything to turn your nose up at. I loved them, but beyond that I must say dunking in the river was key. It was a hot day: 93ºF! The water was frigid, which is to say perfect.

The Kanc

The ride I did on Sunday didn’t quite get me to the top. The actual top was at exactly 12 miles, and getting there was brutal. Signs along the way informed me that the grade was 9%, and I climbed like it was my job. I passed a group of cyclists before I got there then went over the edge!

I didn’t even slow down first, I just took the descent as I was. I was at 35mph without pedaling, 40 with a little pushing, and maxed out at 44. From there, the last 18 miles were a cakewalk. It was all 20+mph, coasting. Conway popped up before I knew it, and taking a break seemed silly. After half a sandwich, I got back on the bike and started the longest most painful climb of my life.

Never before have I stopped during a climb take a breather. Running out of water at mile 40 didn’t help. Everything was slow until about mile 50, when the 9% grade came back to haunt me. Mile after unending mile of it. I stopped more than 3 times, and wanted to give up so so much, but I never took a step. Not a single step! I biked the whole thing. When this sign showed up, not 500 feet away, I could hardly believe it.

Everything was literally downhill from here.

I stopped once more for a refreshing dip in the river before the day was done. 66 miles. 2500ft climbing. 9% grade. Great views and cool water. What a win!

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