19 Jul

900 mi drive, 20 mi hike, 77 mi road bike ride in 42 hours

As preparation for Untamed New England, a 3 day adventure race and qualifier for the Adventure Race World Championships, my teammates and I planned to drive up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to train in the terrain, where the race will take place. The training involved 20mi hiking across the White Mountains with about 15,000ft of climbing. We planned on climbing eight peaks of the so-called Presidential Traverse. After this estimated 12 hours hike, we would jump on our road bikes and cover another 77mi hilly road. To make this possible, I sped up a car purchase on Thursday so I was able to drive up to Connecticut. I planned on leaving on Friday 6am to arrive at 1pm in Connecticut where my three teammates live.

The execution of the plan looked a little different since the NYC traffic delayed my arrival time by three hours. Having finally arrived in CT at 4pm, Ernie, Ben, Fritz and I drove with two cars up to the White Mountains, which took another four hours. At around 8pm we left one car at one side of the mountain range, where we would arrive after our hike. After another 50min drive to our starting point, we started our hike at 10pm. The first part of the hike involved climbing up 5,367 ft to Mt. Madison, followed by Mt. Adams (5,774 feet), Mt. Jefferson (5,712 ft), Mt. Washington (6,288 ft). We arrived at Mt. Washington at about 5am or 6am and enjoyed our breakfast (soaked wraps with unidentifiable stuff in it) on a small bench.

We definitely couldn’t complain about heat (Washington, DC had 100 degrees) because it was around 40 degrees up there. We were already behind schedule and I take full credit for this. I hardly would define the paths on this mountain range as trails but more like as clustered rock formation, which asks for sprained ankles. After ten falls I stopped counting and I again proved to myself that balance is not high on my skill set list. After Mt. Washington, we headed towards Mt. Monroe (5,372 ft) realizing that this hike endeavor would take longer than anticipated. On Mt. Eisenhower (4,780 ft) we unanimously agreed to head directly back to the lodge since the prospect of breakfast at the camp lodge was threatened. Breakfast closed at 10am and we had about 1.5 hours to make the cutoff. So we took the fastest way down the mountain.

Finally, at about 9:30am we arrived at the parking lot and made our way to breakfast. After having taken advantage of all-you-can-eat breakfast, we got ready for the 77mi road bike ride, which was known not to be flat. I was actually looking forward to the road ride because I would consider biking my strength in adventure racing. However, after 10 minutes into the ride, having not slept for 30 hours and being physically exhausted, I revised my feeling of enjoyment and decided that misery would describe the bike ride better. The road ride course was basically a square. The first 20mi was easy, primarily downhill, which we smoked in 20 minutes. The second section was the worst because it was mainly everything uphill, which we went downhill before.

Since I was mentally in a different world, I have no clue how long it took. The third section was rolling hills, which could be described as pleasant again…not sure though. I stuck to the wheel of my teammate and we made a good time. We made some stops on the way. I felt increasingly better because my legs actually started working again so the last 17mi were fun. We spent the last two hours of our ride in the rain but we finally made it back to the car at 4:30pm. After a dinner at a local restaurant, we drove back to CT….very sleepy. I volunteered to drive for an hour until I saw everything double. After 42 hours non-stop action, we finally arrived in CT. The training weekend served its purpose: We were able to train as a team at the race venue. I am excited for August 12th! Check out the race at http://www.untamedne.com/

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