20120731-215701.jpgThis is Brian beginning the descent down New Hampshire route 112 into Lincoln, a two mile, 12%, well deserved, coast.

We began our day just west of Barre, VT, at Sandy and Peter’s condo. We pushed against a headwind all day but the sun and clouds were spectacular and the temperature was wonderful. We climbed for 15 miles and then descended for another 15 to the Connecticut River separating Wells River, VT from Woodville, NH.

Brian and I knew we were in the land of the White Mountains and were expecting an epic climb before the descent into Lincoln. However, we leisurely pedaled our way, slowly climbing, alongside the Ammonoosuc River and the Wild Ammonoosuc River. The trees were dense and closed in around us, protecting us from the headwind, making for a pleasant ride. Surely we must start climbing in earnest soon? Well, we did, but it was sneaky. The road created an optical illusion that it was flat or even going downhill. Our speed told us otherwise. We came to a three mile section of fresh pavement and at first our spirits lifted. Then we discovered that they do not know what a steam-roller is in New Hampshire. The new tar was the equivalent of coarse sandpaper and felt like glue on our tires. At least they were sweeping the loose sticky stones and I managed to add to my list of vehicles that I have drafted;

Remember the optical illusion: this section of road may look downhill, but we are surely rising.

This was one of the toughest climbs I had the entire trip. It was long, there was a stiff headwind, and it was demoralizing because it did not look like a climb; until the last mile. We caught up to two other cyclists who had stopped to pick asphalt stones off their legs, Dawn and Lewis.

20120731-222109.jpgBrian and Lewis (this is an uphill!).

20120731-222156.jpgDawn.

We were all struggling to the summit. I felt as if I had two flat tires and my brakes were rubbing. I must have looked bad because Dawn gave me a whole package of Cliff Shots as she passed. I would have taken them intravenously if possible. Something about this climb felt as if the gravity of Jupiter was sucking my bike down into the massive, granite mountain. Suddenly we summited and all was right with the world.

20120731-222720.jpgDawn is an English professor at Brandeis University and her husband Lewis is a psychiatrist. They have a summer home in Waterford, VT. It’s a good thing they enjoy cycling because they still had to climb back over Franconia Notch! We enjoyed an iced tea with them in Woodstock.

Tomorrow, Brian and I will climb the Kancamagus Highway, a short day, only 43 miles. We are still planning on getting to Portland, Maine by Thursday.

Bonus photos: no mooses were harmed (or seen) during this bike ride.

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No aliens harmed any humans during this bike ride.

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