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Posts Tagged ‘climbing’

Bar Harbor, Maine.

Bar Harbor, Maine.

August 18, 2009: Belfast, ME to Bar Harbor, ME

The final leg, 62 miles from Belfast, Maine to Bar Harbor, Maine.  Everyone was hoping for a Sunday afternoon ride, but the rugged Maine countryside had different thoughts.  The day started off hot and humid, the rollers were in place, the road surface and shoulders were not even worthy of a mountain bike, much less road bikes.

One of Maine's wonderful shoulders.

One of Maine's wonderful shoulders.

Early this morning we set out – regardless of the conditions, as long as our bicycles remained functional and in one piece, we were going to finish this tour. It was only fitting that over the last two miles as we approached Bar Harbor, we would have to scale one last long, steep hill.

The final climb into Bar Harbor.

The final climb into Bar Harbor.

Early this afternoon we all assembled at the beach near the town peer in old town Bar Harbor and dipped our front tires into the Atlantic Ocean. After bicycling 4,259 miles and climbing a total of 140,825 feet,  the journey was completed.

Today’s Bicycling Distance: 62 miles.

Thanks from Mark and Sue to all the Northwest Parkinson's Foundation Contributors.

Thanks from Mark and Sue to all the Northwest Parkinson's Foundation Contributors.

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Last State!

Welcome to Maine

August 15, 2009: South Waterford, ME to Damariscotta, ME

August 16, 2009: Rest day in Damariscotta, ME

We’re resting today at Duck Pond Campground and exploring the nearby town of Damariscotta. This morning Chuck and Suzi met up with their nephew Chris and his family, and tonight we will enjoy a lobster dinner with Marshall’s Aunt Marge.

Yesterday’s ride from South Waterford to the coastal town of Damariscotta, about 110 miles south of Bar Harbor, was rough. The route could have accurately been described in a single word: “punishing.” The temperature was in the 90s, the humidity in the 80-90% range and the Maine rollers unforgiving. Matters were complicated by the fact that the roads traveled had literally no shoulders, on a Saturday when traffic was relatively heavy.

Approaching a Maine roller.

Approaching a Maine roller.

Ascending a Maine roller.

Ascending a Maine roller.

Fortunately everyone made it in safely, if a little wiped out.

Tomorrow we will bicycle about half of the 110 mile distance from Damariscotta to Bar Harbor, putting us in position to finish our adventure on Tuesday, August 18th, two months and eleven days after beginning it all in Anacortes, Washington.

Yesterday’s bicycling distance: 86 miles.

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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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Upstate New York - it's that kind of place.

Upstate New York - it's that kind of place.

August 10, 2009: Upstate New York

Chuck: The flat is over!!  After two days of riding the Erie Canal on a pea-gravel flat terrain, we are now in the hills, and headed for the mountains. Sixty-five miles and 3,300 feet of climbing was enough of a warm up today for what will be the rest of the trip – steep hills and mountains.  While riding on the canal, we encountered a group riding the same route as us but heading west.  They warned us about the 14,000 feet of climbing they did in two days.  I can hardly wait.

Riding in upstate New York has been pleasant – mostly great road surfaces with mostly decent shoulders.  This area of the state is agriculturally based – derived from the breadbasket of the US in the Erie Canal days, to diversified farmlands of grains, corn, soybeans, and a wide variety of fruits.  We have been among the beneficiaries of this cornucopia, nourishing ourselves with fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

The upper Hudson River

The upper Hudson River

As our destination comes into view, I am taking even more time to savor the scenery and every day of the event.  Thanks to Howard and Chicken for the recent kind words of encouragement. They really meant a lot. We really miss you guys and, as I told Howard when asked, “MY BUTT STILL HURTS!!”

Mark on the Hudson.

Mark on the Hudson.

Marshall and Ann at dinner in Old Forge.

Marshall and Ann at dinner in Old Forge.

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Hello Michigan

July 19, 2009: Phelps, WI to Crystal Falls, MI

First off, to those who read this blog regularly, our apologies for the information being posted somewhat erratically of late. We are currently passing through unincorporated townships in northern Wisconsin and Michigan that do not have regular cell phone or internet  service. We have a receiver for our computer that will provide internet access if  cell phone service is available, but this type of connection has not been an option lately. We will continue to try to our best to transmit information to Blog Central as regularly as possible.

We awoke today by the shores of Spectacle Lake near Phelps, Wisconsin to something new – sunshine! Though it be the middle of July, we have not really seen much of the sun for the past few days.

We set off on what Chuck promised would be a short easy ride of about 45 miles to Crystal Falls, MI. The mileage estimate was correct, but the route included some serious rollers. There were a couple of rollers that are probably used as steep, black diamond ski runs during the winter.

We made it though, and in the process we bid another state farewell as we left Wisconsin and entered Michigan. The countryside in northern Michigan is very scenic, with wooded areas, small farms and equally small townships. We are currently camped at a very nice local RV park in Crystal Springs, MI.

Cassius, Michigan, a happy town.

Cassius, Michigan, a happy town.

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