Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bear Mountain Boondoggle Part II- The Disgruntled Bear

The Ironman Lake Placid bike course is hilly. It’s in the Adirondack mountains! It’s a two loop course and the end of the loop has a legendary series of hills known as the bears. Actually, first there are two hills that make up the ‘cherry patch’, Big Cherry and Little Cherry. Then you’ve got Mama Bear, Baby Bear and Papa Bear.

I don’t want to brag, but I didn’t think the bears were so bad. During my Lake Placid Adventure week, we did the loop twice, with a day rest between, and the bears weren’t so bad. Actually they were easier the second day when we knew what to expect. I am sure that two loops in one day without breaks will be harder, I need to get back to Lake Placid to test that hypothesis. (And also because it’s a little bit of heaven on earth up there. The lower Hudson River Valley is a close contender, see the photo above.)

Anyway, someone decided to call our century the “Disgruntled Bear Boondoggle”. I am not sure who it was, it wasn’t me, but I think I liked that name. After all, a disgruntled wouldn’t be so bad, sort like a bear who got his order screwed up at the drive through. Not happy, but he’ll get over it.

Sometimes Things Work Out Better Than You Expect

Of course after reading some of Adam's posts on during the week, a few of us were a little nervous. Someone asked about a SAG wagon. Javier offered to follow us in his car. I was thinking I might want to ride my road bike with the three ring, rather than my tri bike, so I might survive the hills. After all, we were talking about 100 miles, and a mountain.

Don't we look happy? We made the summit in about 3 hours, just short of 50 miles.

A few things to take away from the experience to this point:

1. Plan stops for water, food and bathroom. Organized centuries I've done have them every 25 miles for a reason.

2. Bring lunch. There are no food vendors at the top of the mountain.

3. Use the rest room before climbing. Those portosans at the summit were not approachable.

4. Spend more time at the summit. That's a long climb, hang out a while and enjoy the view.

Sometimes, When You Think The Worst Has Passed, The Really Bad Stuff Starts

I swear it took an hour to climb that 1300 feet to the summit. Does it seem right that we were at the bottom in 5 minutes? Anyway, it got us down to the restrooms quickly which, at least for me, was badly needed. I had intended to practice peeing on the bike, but i just couldn't. And what I did finally do was other than peeing anyway.

Back over the Bear Mountain Bridge to the east side of the Hudson, and here we departed from the route we had taken to get here, and as Adam warned us, we were now into unknown territory. Meaning he hadn't ridden it himself, but he had heard tales of horrible things from some who claimed to have ridden here. Ha! How bad could it be, surely we had this in the bag.

Note to self-avoid routes that include names like "Gallows Hill Road".

Gallows Hills is a long steady climb leading to a nice long downhill, which feeds into a 5-way intersection and Red Mill Road. That is not a road. It is a wall. Christine and Conner were well ahead and out of sight. Adam and I were climbing so slowly I do not think we could have stopped, lest we just fall right over and never get up again. Fortunately Adam found a little side road flat spot and we stopped for a minute. The scene here to the left is apparently from a previous rider who stopped for too long.

Soon we came up on Christine and Conner, buying orange soda from a vending machine. They said they were all right so I kept going and suddenly realized I was by myself. A Breakaway! I was able to stay out in front for about 8 or 10 miles, but they caught me on the long climb up Seven Bridges. Those two are climbing machines.

I waited for Adam, and we rode into Chapaqua. There, on King Street and about 80 miles, he decided he had enough, gave me his cue sheet and went lookigng for a train station. I pushed on, got a little lost as here the cue sheet was lacking.

Adam called and told me he was riding the course backwards (be careful!) and was going to meet me, which he did, and took me in the last couple of miles back to his house. I was really gettign bonky at this point. I couldnt subtract 13 from 116, was feeling nauseous and lightheaded. I had to stop for a gel at one point for fear I was about to lose conciousness.

Finally I saw my car (" I love you, car"), pulled up and racked it on the roof right away. I didn't want to have to sit on that thing another minute.

One more thing to do; a quick run around the block, probably not more than 400 meters. I like to do this after a long ride just to train my legs to move after being in the saddle for so long. That, and I believe moving my muscles in this way helps speed my recovery.

Course Comparison

Everything I do this year is about Ironman Lake Placid, so here is a comparison of the ascent for both routes.

IMLP 112 miles with 8,634 feet climb

Bear Mountain Boondoggle was 108 miles with 19,385feet elevation gain.

Planning to return to do this one again in the next several weeks, and certainly several times next spring and summer. Hey, this is going to be a gorgeous ride in the autumn if we hit it at peak foliage change. Anyone care to join me?


Bigun said...

Oooh! Colorful foliage! Be sure to wear a skort! K'mon Rambonie, put the "Man" back in Ironman training!

of course, just kidding - could you take some good pics of the pretty pretty much stays green here year-round....?

ramster said...

no worries big guy, i am quite secure in my masculine sexual identity. how bout i send you a frickin lawn and leaf bag full, heh? thanks for reading.

TriScanner said...

Almost 4 vertical miles, well done! All in the aero position to boot. Maybe you could send Bigun one of the bags from the "cyclist boneyard" you passed by.

Coach Adam said...

As if the first post didn't make it clear enough, ride, wait for Adam, ride, wait for Adam, ride wait for Adam. You have to admit, it was nice seeing me before riding the last 5 miles to the Prius.

Yes the Disgruntled Bear Boondoggle Century will be combined with two other notorious Westchester/Putnum routes in preparation for IMLP, the "Putnam Purgatory Century" and "All Hills", yes JJJJavier, Tinker Hill is BAAAAACCCCKKKK!

Javier said...

Maybe I'll Actually swing doing teh SAG thing for the nextride. I do believe that Adam is to be given the credit for the "disgruntled bear" name.

ADam, Tinker Hill? Please how could anything with such a name be a problem?

Flatman said...

Sweet ride, man! Congrats on getting it done...

Jamie said...

I totally hear you on the bathroom break before climbing.

Pulling up on the pedals really smushes the bladder and is NOT a welcome surprise.