Littleton, NH to Fryeburg, ME

A fun day in many ways today. For breakfast, we rode from the school back to the same hotel on the edge of town where we had dinner last night. I rode with Colleen, Molly, and Marisa. Later in the morning, we entered the White Mountain National Forest. Near the sign for the forest, I found my road relic for this week, a homemade CD with the title “The Ruff Riders – Ride or Die.” We passed by the Mt. Washington Lodge at Bretton Woods, which is where the World Bank was founded at a meeting in 1944.

We did some gradual climbing until we reached the summit of Crawford Notch. Most of us hardly realized we had gotten there, as the climb was not severe at all. It was a bit overcast most of the day, so the view from the top was not that spectacular. The descent down the other side was nice, though. Near the bottom, we saw Lynette and Mike, who were stopped to take a break from the bikes and take a short hike on the Appalachian Trail, which passes through the area.

Further on in the morning, we reached the lunch stop in the town of Bartlett, which was set up in the parking lot of the Attitash Bear Peak ski area. The four of us took the scenic chairlift ride up the mountain. On the way down, Colleen and I saw a guy do a good wipeout on the alpine slide; yes, it is possible to run those little sleds off of the concrete track.

In the afternoon, there was an option to do another climb, about two miles up Echo Lake Rd. to Cathedral Ledge. Since it was overcast, the view would not have been that great again, plus Colleen had another option in mind. The other option was not on the tour-sanctioned route, but those with local knowledge had been talking about it. It was called Hurricane Mountain Road, and was just a few miles off of our route, outside the town of North Conway. Colleen and I were the only ones in our group that decided to go.

Hurricane Mountain Road starts with a short climb, then a short descent. Then the climbing starts again and continues for about six miles. At first, there are very steep, but short climbs, separated by brief flat sections to let you catch your breath. But then the last few miles are all uphill, where you have to figure out how use the steep sections to recover in between the VERY steep sections. As I neared the top, my heart was pounding in my chest, and my throat started to feel raw from the heavy breathing. I thought I had reached the final crest a couple of times, only to find another climb around the next bend. I was only sure that I had finally reached the top when I crested a knoll and saw the 17% downhill warning sign for trucks. I stopped at the top to eat, drink, and wait for Colleen, who showed up just a few minutes later. As we were finishing our pictures, Peter, Jeremy, and Ryan came up behind us.

ed down the other side promptly. By the time Colleen and I collected ourselves and were ready to head down, it was a steady downpour. So, we were faced with unfamiliar terrain, with a 17% descent, on a wet road. So, we white-knuckled it the whole way down, and the other three guys were waiting for us at the bottom.

It continued to rain pretty hard for a couple of miles, but then cleared up as we crossed the Maine border. It was a just a couple more miles to our destination, the town of Fryeburg. Before heading to camp at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds, we stopped at a pizza shop in town, where about ten others from our group were already there. Colleen’s friend John from Portland had ridden his motorcycle down out to meet her, and he happened to go by and saw the bikes outside, so he stopped in and joined us. He headed home a while later, and the rest of us rode to camp in time to get cleaned up for dinner.

After dinner and Tour Talk, Mary asked all of the Coast-to-Coast riders to gather in the fairground’s bleachers. There, we were all presented with plaques to honor our accomplishment.

 

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