10,000 ft century, or: "ouch"


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  1. #1

    10,000 ft century, or: "ouch"

    In preparation for my upcoming brevet in September, I decided to do a little recon on the two major climbs I'd have to tackle. One is Petersburg pass on the MA/NY border and the other is Searsburg pass in Southern VT. I decided I could do both in one day, if I based my ride out of North Adams, and while I was at it, I could do a nice 10,000 ft century.

    My route took me from North Adams up one side of Petersburg pass and down the other into Petersburg, NY. Then I rode back over again, since I'll be coming from the NY side during the brevet. I rode back to my car and had a snack, and then went up Whitcomb via the Mohawk trail, and its famous hairpin turn. From there I descended right back down Whitcomb Hill Road and went north on River road up through Readsboro, and finally up Searsburg pass to where route 8 intersects with route 9. I came back down the same way, over Whitcomb again following the same route and back into North Adams. 97 miles and 9975 ft were the final numbers via ridewithgps.com. My barometric altimeter was only off by about 50 ft.

    I didn't get too many pics, because it rained much of the day... at least 2/3 of the time. Most of the time it was a light but steady rain, although I descended Searsburg in a downpour, painful on the face. I considered pulling the plug there and taking a bailout route, but the east side of Whitcomb ridge was dry, fortunately.

    Anyway, here's the route and profile-
    (from left to right, the climbs are Petersbug, Petersburg, Whitcomb, Searsburg, Whitcomb)

    This is Petersburg, NY. Photographic proof, blah blah. I gave up on that game after it started raining heavily. I decided my cell phone should stay dry in its plastic bag.

    This is the sign at the top of Petersburg pass. Both sides were about the same average grade, but the Mass side was much more steady, maybe one false flat, but I don't think there was anything steeper than 7%. The NY side was much more choppy.. plus the pavement was worse. For once, the Mass road was much nicer.

    This is me with about 3000 ft of climbing done already, at the top of Petersburg for the second time. I still felt pretty fresh, hence the smile. I really had no clue how my legs would react to these big climbs and didn't even know if I'd make it over Petersburg twice. I went slow and spun. I def. could've gone harder but I went as conservative as I could to save my legs.

    This is the view of N. Adams just above the hairpin turn. I took this photo on the drive out since everywhere above 1500 feet was socked in all day with fog and rain, basically until I left in the car (of course). But anyway, enough whining. I was glad it was that weather and not 90 and humid.

    Famous hairpin turn:

    This is a sign of the grade on the last climb of the day.

    That climb was... really horrible. The first part was by far the steepest, probably 15% for the first km. It slacked off in the middle and then got a little steep towards the end again. I was standing about 1/3 of the time in 53-27 and flying up at a blinding 4 - 5 mph. This climb would have been, like, really hard if my legs were fresh. With 8,500 ft and 80 something miles in the legs already it was a death march. But, I got over it, no stopping, no zig zagging.

    And oddly enough, my legs were actually still pretty good after the descent down Whitcomb. I was cranking out 19-21 mph on the flats back to my car. It was all the weather. Despite the rain, and the descending being quite cold, I was very comfortable in the low 70's and raining on the climbs. I went through about 3 bottles of water the whole day. My average speed should have been a bit higher but I descended very conservatively because of the conditions. There were points coming down Searsburg I had to ride small bursts with my eyes shut because the rain drops were so big and stung my face like mad.

    Anyway, one more long ride next weekend and then I start tapering. I'm praying the humid weather doesn't return.

    Oh, and one last thing, I tried out Finish Line's wet lube, and despite all the rain and wet roads my chain was as quiet at the end of the day as it was at the begining. Seemed to work pretty well.
    Last edited by Marc; Aug 24, 2009 at 2:59 PM.
    Making sanity obsolete since 1982...

  2. #2
    Marc! You are amazing!!! Crazy, but amazing!
    "Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own." ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

  3. #3
    marcski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Westchester County, NY and a Mountain near you!
    Awesome ride through some beautiful country. The ride east on the Mohawk trail from North Adams all the way to the BEast is gorgeous.

    What, no pics of the old Petersburg Pass ski area?

    I was down in Philly...did the Livestrong Ride again yesterday with my fatherinlaw who is a cancer survivor. We only did 45....as I didn't want to get stuck in traffic coming back home.

  4. #4
    Actually, there is a pic of the Petersburg Pass ski area, behind the 4 mile, 7% grade sign. You can't see it because there's lots of fog and rain in front of it though
    Making sanity obsolete since 1982...

  5. #5
    Epic Ride...wow..you are hard to the core!!!!

  6. #6
    Note to self: don't even attempt to tour with Marc this winter.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    bvibert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Torrington, CT
    Hey Marc, you're nuts!

  9. #9
    I want to do it again now.

    Alright, I might be a little nuts.
    Making sanity obsolete since 1982...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    I want to do it again now.

    Alright, I might be a little nuts.
    A little nuts???
    '07--08 season: 51 Days, '08-'09 season: 55 Days, '09-'10 season: 41 Days, '10-'11 season: 49 days, '11-'12 season: 40 Days '12-'13 season: 57 days, '13-'14 season, 60 days '14-'15 season 60 days, '15-'16 season 52 days, '16-'17 season: 50 days, '17-'18 season 52 days, '07-'18 seasons: 567 Days

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