With a break in our front loaded EFTA season and the 100 looming in the near future it was time to put some miles in. A few times a year it’s nice to take a day off to head north to the whites for some extra miles with the boys. Greg Katz , Carl DeVincent, and myself would be joined by Joe Cady (BRC) and George Gagnon (Blue Steel).
The route. Park at the Lincoln visitor center, head west over Gonzo Pass and back. We would then refuel at the cars and head over Kancamagus pass down to Jigger Johnsons campground and back to Lincoln. For once the plan would go off without any issues. Temps were perfect for a long day of climbing. Four category II climbs would be the test. Eighty miles and 7000 ft of climbing would be the final tally.
Gonzo East. Slow roll out towards the climb of Gonzo. The pass comes about nine miles from Lincolnn. Almost immediately once taking the left on 118 you start the climb. Legs were fresh and George decided to show off his climbing form. He puts the hammer down and almost immediately causes a gap. Carl and I decided to let him go. The climb levels out for a mile or two before kicking up again to the summit. Carl then decides to turn the intensity and bridge the gap and finishes with George. We regroup at the top and head downhill where I topped out for the day at 49.5 mph.
Gonzo West. After bombing down we hit Rt 25 and pull the first of our two u-ee’s at the intersection. The last time I rode this climb from the West was in 09, and 20lbs heavier. I remembered the last 4 miles of this climb as steep and punchy. We held a good group until the terrain started to test. Joe tried to go early, and of course George went and then went some more, Carl had stopped to grab some food as I would make an attempt to follow. Again a regroup at the top and fast descent back to the cars.
Kanc West. 12 miles from Lincoln is the Kancamagus Pass. It’s a scenic rd with a decent shoulder in many places. The first 3 to 5 miles is a slow steady uphill with a few short downhills. The group ran a perfect rotational pace line to a little beyond the East Branch bridge. From here the climb begins. We keep the tempo high, and before you know it George and I are taking pulls. We are flying up to the pass. However, I’ve ridden this pass countless times and I know it gets harder as you go + we still needed to come back. I comment to George “we’re going to pay for this later”, he comments “yeah, I know”. That doesn’t bother him at all and he keeps going. By this time my power is starting to fade a bit. At the Hairpin, Carl comes back after stopping to pick up his bottle that he dropped miles back. He put in a hard pace to bridge the gap. I jump on his wheel, and immediately jump off cause he’s still not done. He would run out of road before catching our leader on the road though.
Kanc East. Down to Jigger Johnson for a refill and then back up and over the 7% 4 mile climb back to the top of Kancamagus Pass. There were a few miles of flat before getting on the main climb. Again we utilized the pace line. I knew myself and a couple other were cooked for this final climb. However, once on the climb Carl and George decided to beat each other up one final time. Report was that Carl would take the final climb. Only George and Carl would know.
It was a hard day. 80 miles in just under 5 hours total. Not bad considering the terrain we covered. For those of us doing the Hampshire 100, it was a much needed training ride.