Im sitting in Banff, hoping to get my garmin all properly set up at the library. I likely won’t be ...
I’m a sucker for the excessive race. Long distance, extreme conditions, long duration, or in this case extreme grades. I usually fare pretty well on climbs, considering I’m a mid-westerner. I need some improvement descending as I learned a couple years ago in Race Across The Alps. I was passed while doing nearly 50 on a descent like I was standing still. So what to do? I found a race where all I do is climb to the top and never get to bike down.
Tom Danielson climbed it in 49:42, 9.1 mph average speed in 2002.
The week before the race I finally started glancing at some of the forums about the equipment choices riders were using and realized I had to make some last minute changes. I had assumed it wouldn’t be any tougher than some of the tougher climbs I’ve done in the past. After reading about many using mountain bike gearing and leaving brakes off to save weight, I had Carmichael at Cycle Bike Shop setup my bike with a 34 on the rear and locked out the front chain ring on the 34.
Getting to Mt Washington is a bit of a journey, but beautiful. The race organization was well done. The race starts in waves based on age group. Being a newbie I raced off at the start quickly to realize a steady effort is a better plan, but it sure was nice to have open road rather than swerving around others. These grades are tough. Barely a moment to take a breather. I used my 3 easiest gears and often reached for another.It wasnt unusual to see riders carrying their bikes up the hill since it is so hard to get back on.
The last corner appears to be a wall, just when you think you’re done the road tips up to 22%. In this last stretch a number of riders just fell over on their side. It took me 1:18:38.