|Dana: our crazed leader|
|The last time I felt good on the ride, start of the last mile on Lincoln Gap|
We caught a couple of groups who started ahead of us on Middlebury Gap. I was inspired to push a little harder to the top of this 7 mile pass. I've been climbing well (for my bowling bowl like shape) this season, so I didn't feel over worked, yet. The temperature had risen to near 80 degrees. But I was drinking regularly, or so I thought. At the route 100 junction we took a long break to refuel and change Lou's flat tire. I was eager to start up Lincoln Gap. I read Doug's blog about how steep and relentless Lincoln Gap is for the last mile. Yet I did not imagine just how severe it could be. The first 3 miles lulled me into a false sense of accomplishment. I was able to ride a steady tempo and lead the group upto that point. The last mile was the real cruelty. It is twice as steep as anything I had climbed before. I installed a 36 inner ring to go with a 28 rear cog. It was not enough gear. First Lou passed me and I was not surprised. Then Dana stomped past is a 34x32 gear. For half a mile I stood and forced the pedals over at 50 rpm. Then both quads started to cramp. With a quarter mile to go, I could not push my quads anymore, so I had to get off and walk. Oh the shame, the shame. I watched the gradient on my bike computer vary from 22-26%. In trying to remount the bike, my left hamstring seized up. I slowly rolled up the short finish pitch and flopped over into the ditch. 3 of our group, Dana, Lou and Andy managed to ride the whole climb. The rest of us stopped or walked part of it. The heat did not help our effort. After several minutes of stretching and recovering, I felt good enough to descend. We were all abit ragged at that point.
|Hamstring stretches at the top of Lincoln Gap.|
|Top of App Gap, we made it,|
In retrospect, I would attempt this again. But I plan to use more gears, and take more time. I would also avoid attempting all six gaps on a 90 degree day. Any two of these climbs in a row are hard. Tackling 4 or more in a day is monumental. All six? We'll see if I can do them all next year.