One of the things that I found out quickly after starting our #Adventure2015 journey was that the flatlands of Texas were left behind and that our new home was filled with gorgeous hills, mountains, false flats, you name it, anything but flat.
Over the summer our bike rides were pretty awesome, however they weren’t easy. We joined a local cycling club and it has been a great help to push me out of my comfort zone, also getting my riding skills sharpened which has also been a good thing. After riding for so long kind of by myself in Texas, riding in a group has been a different experience that I’m learning to enjoy. I’m not a big fun of pacelining yet but trying to learn to draft for sure.
Going back to the hills and mountains, I’ve definitely gotten the work in. We were riding with the group every Saturday and their loop isn’t flat. We ended up also signing up for the New Jersey Gran Fondo, we didn’t do the whole 107 miles but we did the Medio which is 67 miles and over 5100 ft of climbing. That was a first for me. The biggest earnings for me had been a little over 4000 ft last year when we did 117 miles from Waco to Austin. I was definitely scared, was nervous all week. Knowing that 2 of the climbs were timed had me even more scared since these were categorized climbs (felt like I was going to fell off the bike). Anyways I tackled the ride, Felipe promised he would be with me or at least close to me. He did that. Of course on the climbs he will take off but he loves the climbing and makes it look so easy. I simply took it one by one and tried not to give up.
I didn’t give up, it was hard, legs burned, saw people walking up the hills but I wasn’t going to be one of them. It sure wasn’t pretty but I had conquered the hills. Loved every moment of it and at the end I couldn’t believe I had finished it. So 67 miles later and 5100 ft of elevation gain I had finished my toughest ride ever.
Now fast forward a couple of weeks to 2 weeks ago, the road kept going up literally. I had to work in Lake Placid for a week, so Felipe had this great idea to make it a weekend of training. It sounded like a great idea at the time, except I wasn’t sure what he had in mind for our bike ride. We were enjoying some awesome weather and he had planned a ride up Whiteface Mountain. I honestly didn’t know how it was going to be, all I knew is that it might be a bit hard. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know in advance what I was walking into (almost walked) so off we went. The ride started at our hotel in Placid and we went out of town, we had done that road before so I knew that part wasn’t too bad. We also got to see the Ragnar Adirondaks runners that were finishing their relay run. It was fun to cheer them. Once we made it to Whiteface Memorial Highway we started heading up to Whiteface. By up I mean 10% up, we made a stop at North Pole, NY where I told Felipe to go up alone, he of course wasn’t going to do that but wasn’t going to let me quit either. He said that the gate
(I didn’t know there was a gate) was only a mile up the road and that he knew it was easier from there (boy had done his research). Almost half a mile up the road I had stopped again, I was not happy as my legs were burning and I was just thinking how am I going to make it up there going 5 mph. We got to the gate and paid our toll fee (bikes pay the same as cars) and we continued our treck up the hill. It was 7.9 miles of relentless climbs which didn’t seem easier than the first 2 miles, they were as hard. I managed to go up, made a few stops in between to enjoy the view and catch my breath in between, took my time. Even texted Felipe from one of the rest stops and his reply “see you when you get up here for lunch” then I knew he wasn’t coming down anytime soon and if I wanted lunch I needed to get my butt up there.
So up I went again, once I made it up there I got to see why Felipe wanted to do that ride, I wasn’t the fastest ever, I didn’t care, all I was amazed was that I managed to go up one of the toughest climbs in the east coast and one that is compared to Alp D’Huez which I’ve said while watching on tv that seemed like something I could never do… I guess I know now that I CAN. Of course it wasn’t until I had climbed and we were back to the hotel that I started finding out about how epic it was. I even found one description as:
Ride Description: Whiteface Mountain, NY is the easternmost of the 5 Top 100 U.S. Climbs that are within a 150 mile radius in the northeastern part of the United States (#3Mt Washington, NH, #18 Mt Equinox, VT, #57 Mt Auscutney, VT and #81 Burke Mt, VT). Wikipedia has an excellent description of this route.
Statistics and Details
Distance: 7.9 miles (From the gate)
Beginning elevation: 1,040′
Ending elevation: 4,571′ (3,509 gains) at 8.3% avg. grade
So, yes a hill, a mountain, a false flat whatever you want to call it, if it has a grade change you might be scared, legs might scream (scream back at them), the sense of accomplishment after climbing is incredible. One thing is that you always get to go down, so after each climb typically there is a downhill, I’m scared on those too but it’s like the reward for a job well done, you have fun. It has made me appreciate the bike a lot more and in general I feel more confident that regardless of my speed I can accomplish anything I set my mind to do. Even if it is after attempting to quit, but lunch date with my love atop the highest peak in NY State can’t be taken away from us and I loved every minute of it.
At the end of the day is all about the attitude you have towards the challenges and how you make opportunities out of them