How lucky am I - to even have the opportunity, the luck, the health, and the support to attempt this “Challenge” in the first place, much less to share it all with Sas!!
Sas and I decided to stay up in NH the week between the 24 hour mountain bike race and the bicycle hillclimb. While Sas worked remotely, I got a chance to enjoy another great part of NH on my ATV. Coach Al and AJ rode with me both Monday and Tuesday in the rain, which was still great fun. We had the entire Jericho ATV Park to ourselves!!!
On Wedesday, Sas jumped on the back of the ATV to see the place we have all be talking about. With great luck, a big Moose jumped out of the woods onto the trail right in front of us! Very cool thing to see!!
On Thursday, I got in some hill repeats and rode a lap of the weekly mountain bike race course at Great Glen Trails. We also got a chance to ride the Cog Railway, the last and final way to reach the summit of Mt Washington!
Friday had us moving from Mt Madison in Gorham back over to the Eagle Mt House in Jackson (our home away from home this past year .
Friday evening we headed over to the hill to pick up my number and other registration stuff for the Hillclimb. While there, a few folks noticed my list of events on my truck. It is always fun for me to talk about the different things I have done and also to hear about the things others are doing as well! It is even better when I can lend a hand with advice or tips for the upcoming race! We also meet up with the Kozlowski family. Jeff is a good friend and has done this race every year for the past 9 years!!! It was good to find them as we needed someone to drive my truck (and Sas) to the summit the next morning. Bull, Jeff’s stepdad, offered. We enjoyed a great meal at the Flatbread Pizza place in North Conway with the ”Koz Family.”
The next morning we were up and out pretty early at the base of the hill, and while waiting for Jeff, a few more folks came by to check on my events of the year. It is all about the memories and stories for me!!! I just love sharing, uh, can’t you tell (hello…. blog….)
The “Koz” family arrived and we got everyone ready to drive up. Bull drove my truck with Sas and Jeff’s son along for the ride…
Jeff and I warmed up on the road and just enjoyed the amazing and beautiful morning. The sun was bright and the temps just right. Better yet we could see the summit!!!
We both talked about what power we were going to target … it sounded like we were going to be in the same area and time. We both started in “Top Notch” but knew we would quickly be off the back of the group, but no worries!! I just needed to get to the summit one more time!
The cannon went off and we started up the hill… still a little unsure of my power and of my legs. I rode a little harder at this start than at Newton’s Revenge, as I hoped I had more miles under my belt. Jeff jumped out in front and away he went . It was to be a lonely climb . As the age groupers slowly picked me off, it was pretty clear that this was not going to be a record day for me. I was pretty spent at the halfway point and decided to just enjoy this very last event of my challenge. I kept the gearing easy and just sat up and spun up the hill (still not an easy ride!!). As riders came by I tried to encourage everyone and could not help but smile. As I climbed the steep grade to the “Cow Pasture,” the official photographer mentioned I was the only one so far that was smiling… well, there you go :-)
As I rode to the last climb (22%) it was great to hear all the cheering and the cow bells ringing, as I love the support and energy everyone brings to these events!!! I suffered up the steep grade and across the finish I rode, I held up my hand to show 5 events done!
My slowest time up the hill on a bike to date! But it’s all good, and a perfect way to finish this challenge. As I have stated already, a big part of this challenge was to not worry about results, but to just enjoy the journey and more importantly, to share it with my wonderful wife, Sas!! Jeff finished strong and enjoyed, what I believe, was his 10th finish up the road, nice!!
Sas and I worked our way back down to where Bull had parked the truck and just hung out on the tailgate cheering on all the riders, again what a terrific way to finish my challenge!!