Alison at the top of the Kanc!
The day started as planned, we throw all of our gear and food in the car, put the bikes on the rack and hit the road. The drive between Bath and Conway was longer than I had hoped, the anticipation kept growing and the thought that just may be the route that I had planned was just a little too much, boy was I wrong!
Let’s go back and I will tell you what the original plan was. We were going to complete a 35 mile route that had a road called Bear Notch out of Bartlett, NH that is known as one hell of an awesome ride. The road is just under 10 miles long most of which is pointed towards the sky at an average grade of 6%. Another reason to ride this particular road is because back in 1997 Alison and I were driving up this road, pulled over to admire the foliage and heard what turned out to be our wedding song. This road was meant to be the highlight of the day. It offered both a challenge and a reminder of times gone by.
With all that ahead of us what could possibly happen? Don’t even try to guess because I didn’t even see this coming. Let me get you to the point where we are about 18 miles into the ride and about 3 miles into the climb of Bear Notch Rd., I started to see that Alison was feeling good, her nerves had passed and her pace had been set. She was climbing. Wait I mean she was CLIMBING!!!!! Like anyone who has never faced a head wall there were nerves that set into her gut but well into the climb I could see it all fade away. Her pace slowed and was even. Her breathing became shallow. In short she was both teaching this hill and her self that she simply could; she can climb. Oh and I was good too and that was not a given, after all the TVG motto is, “We go down hill with the best of them”. In this case we were not only going up with the other riders but we where catching them! NO SH*@ I mean it! After we reached the summit we plunged into the valley where we came to a stop sign, if we go left then we head down hill back to Conway, BUT if we go right we head up the Kancamagus and several thousand more feet of climbing. Honestly, I was feeling awesome, I was up for the climb and given what I was seeing from Alison I was not surprised that her response to my question of, “decision time?” was an immediate response of, “going right”.
“Okay,” was all I could say, but the feeling that I had was something else. I felt pride, I felt courage, I felt love, and honesty a little bit of lust. The choice to go right and not left was truly epic, it’s not like she didn’t know what she was in for she knew and she said, “F-you Kanc, I am Alison take it and like it!” and so she did. We spent the next hour and fifteen minutes climbing the Kanc and it was wonderful. I felt so much pride, I felt like a coach, I was impressed. There was a point as we got above tree line that I knew it was going to get harder so I reached into my pocket and pulled out a gel packet, tore the top off, shifted into a harder gear, and road up beside her, I said “take the gel and suck it down,” she did and soon thereafter she dismissed the idea of giving up. Alison then made a comment that there was no way that she was going to stop. Holy crap this is awesome! As a side note, I was feeling awesome! I was climbing better than I ever have before! I was happy, to say the least. Then out of nowhere there it was, the sign telling us that we were at the top. After a few pictures and a reminder that we have almost 20 miles of descending ahead of us, we were off. I was in HEAVEN! I was riding at well over 30 miles per hour and tickling 40 mph. I was fist pumping both because I was having fun and because of the pride that I had for my wife and for myself. What a ride!!!!!! I mean it when I say, EPIC!!!!
So here I sit, looking back on a day that will always live in my memory of accomplishments both as a cyclist and a husband. Even with all the memories that I will have from today there are only two that will embed themselves into my fabric and those are the words “going right” and the moment after we got back to the car when we gave each other high fives, hugged, and shared an “I love you”. Now that’s a day to remember.
Check out our day on Garmin Connect via this link