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Posts Tagged ‘Breadloaf Hill’

Sue at the summit of the feared Kancamagus Pass.

Sue at the summit of the feared Kancamagus Pass.

August 14, 2009: Woodstock, NH to South Waterford, ME

Thursday night we slept in the shadow of what we thought might be our biggest obstacle of this ride – Kancamagus Pass, or the “Kan,” as the locals call it. Mount Kancamagus is the tallest peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and we learned of its legend as we approached its location. One lady in Vermont told us that she had a hard time driving over the Kan. A man in Woodstock told us that the Kan would make Breadloaf seem like unleavened bread.

New Hampshire's White Mountains

New Hampshire's White Mountains

The climb to the top of the Kan is six miles and it commences as soon as you exit the town of Lincoln, New Hampshire. As we climbed, we expected the mountain to rear her ugly head and throw up grades of 12 to 14%, similar to those that we experienced on the “Loaf.” Alas, with the exception of  some 8 to 9% grades two miles from the summit, the real steep stuff never materialized. As an added bonus, the descent down the east side of the hill was spectacular, offering  some great views of the White Mountains.

Sue, climbing the Kan.

Sue, climbing the Kan.

As the route continued, we descended into the town of Conway, NH. Shortly after leaving Conway, we crossed our final state line and entered the state of Maine.

Having left the Kan in our rear-view mirrors, we naively thought that we were out of the woods with climbing. How wrong we were. Just past the town of Sweden, ME, we faced some punishing rollers – one of which boasted an estimated incline of 20%. We still have about 200 miles left until we arrive in Bar Harbor. Tomorrow we will bicycle towards the coast of Maine and the town of Damariscotta, a distance of some 90 miles.

Today’s bicycling distance: 65 miles.

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Tomorrow's gonna hurt

Tomorrow's gonna hurt

August 13, 2009: Gaysville, VT to Woodstock, NH

Fearing hot weather and humidity, we departed from our camp at Gaysville, VT a little early, as we made our way to today’s destination, Woodstock, New Hampshire, a distance of some 80+ miles.

Since there was no sign at the border, this was our welcome to New Hampshire.

Since there was no sign at the border, this was our welcome to New Hampshire.

The Green Mountains promised more climbs today and did not disappoint. Some of the initial climbs were short, but steep. Later in the day, we encountered a few longer climbs that were not quite as steep, more reminiscent of the climbs of the Northern Cascades.

None of today’s climbs rivaled yesterday’s ascent of Breadloaf. A picture of a crude topographical map accompanies this post:  note the relationship between Breadloaf and tomorrow’s challenge, Kancamagus summit. Given that Breadloaf, at 14% grade, was steep enough to loosen the spokes of certain of our rear wheels, the climb tomorrow could be a real adventure.  Regardless, the route will take us into Maine and the last legs of this trip.

Today’s bicycling distance: 83 miles.

…….Due to fatigue and old age, we failed to recognize Chicken Headley’s birthday on yesterday’s post. A belated Happy Birthday Chicken!!

One of New England's covered bridges.

One of New England's covered bridges.

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Welcome to Vermont

There was no rain on the horizon as we left Ticonderoga, NY and headed for Gaysville, Vermont, a distance of about 60 miles. The route started with a ferry ride across Lake Champlain to Vermont.

Crossing Lake Champlain

Crossing Lake Champlain

Vermont touts itself as the “Green Mountain” state, a moniker that we would begin to understand as the ride continued. The roads in Vermont may be simply characterized as *terrible* – they are peppered with potholes and cracked pavement, making riding hazardous.

In contrast, the Vermont countryside is very picturesque, full of dense forests and beautiful rivers; the towns are quaint New England bergs loaded with history.

One of the most striking towns through which we passed was Middlebury. One reason why this town was notable was due to the fact that between  Middlebury and a neighboring town, Ripton (home of the late poet Robert Frost), the Green Mountains suddenly became a challenge with 12% grades. The most challenging climb of the day was Breadloaf, a long steep pull that pushed 14% in spots.  The Green Mountains are not going to be kind, since we are looking at even more challenging climbs over the next two days.

Summitting Broadleaf.

Summitting Breadloaf.

We are currently camped at the White River Camp Ground in Gaysville, VT. Tomorrow’s ride will take us to Lincoln, New Hampshire, a distance of 81 miles.

Today’s bicycling distance: 60 miles.

Those Green Mountains are steep!

Those Green Mountains are steep!

Ripton, Vermont, home of Robert Frost.

Ripton, Vermont, home of Robert Frost.

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