Imagine climbing one of the steepest roads and crit racing through a fairy tale…
The three-stage race includes a two-mile hill climb prologue called The Toughest Two (up the first two and steepest miles of the Mount Washington Auto Road), a crit through hilly Story Land and a traditional cross race at the trails center at the foot of Mount Washington the next day.
I can’t imagine trying to ride a bike up the 7.4-mile auto road; it’s that steep. The grade averages 12 percent with long pitches of 18 percent and other as high as 22 percent. We drove it while we were there. (Yes, my Honda minivan climbed Mt. Washington.) The Mount Washington Bicycle Hill Climb is today. I wonder if Tyler Hamilton is there again hunting to get his record back from Tom Danielson.
Porky Gulch is the local nickname for Pinkham Notch, through which NH Route 16 passes at the foot of Mount Washington. On Tuesday, the family and I went to Story Land in Glen, NH. I left two hours before they did and climbed 12.5 miles to the national forest visitor center at the notch’s peak, suffering an hour for great views of Tuckerman Ravine and New England’s highest summit on a clear day. After climbing for an hour, I bombed the descent hitting 45 mph at one point on the Giant cross bike with slicks, arriving back at the car in a half hour. Instead of waiting for them I rode back toward my Dad’s on the main road and got another 25 rolling miles in before the family caught me in the car.