They have a number of options available to the
masochist cyclist, all of which include copious amounts of climbing and quick, technical descents. Last year I signed up for the metric (100K), did the 'super metric' (75 miles), but a wrong turn made it a painful and dehydrating 84 mile battle.
This year I manned up and did the century: 113 miles, 10,950 climbing. They have an ITT (individual time trial) option which my friend convinced me to do.
The ride starts in Mansfield, NJ and winds north into Blairstown and Jenny Jump Forrest and up into the Delaware Water Gap before crossing into PA via the Route 80 bridge (who knew it had a sidewalk?). From there it heads south (to within miles of my Mom's place) before crossing back into NJ at Belvidere and trekking through Asbury and Glen Gardner en route to the finish.
My 'race' didn't last very long at all. Not even ten miles in I passed a rider who was obviously having a very hard time with a flat. I stopped to help him out until SAG came, but by that point the main pack was miles ahead and I was left to try and catch them (wrong) or just ride it and have fun (right).
I met up with a few folks who were riding about my pace and chit chatted until I dropped them (always at a rest stop or long climb), which made the ride go quicker, but for the most part it was a solo affair until the end when I hooked up with two guys from a local cycling club who were struggling just as much as I was on those last few hills.
Speaking of hills... NW NJ/NE PA has some big hills. Some are long and steady, while others are shorter and steep. Others are long and steep. These long and steep hills came AFTER mile 80 on the ride. I'd managed to tackle every hill in my 39x25 without standing and without overwhelming pain.
Those last few hills thoroughly and completely kicked my ass. Having to unclip and walk a bike in LOOK cleats up a 20+% grade is no fun, although seeing cleat marks in the tar patches made me feel a little better.
In talking with other riders afterwards, there was a lot of respect going around to riders who did it in standard gearing (39/53 double w/12-25 cassette), but we all agreed that this ride was meant for triple's or compact cranks or Paulo Salvodelli.
The ride, including the leadout, was a nine hour affair for myself, longer for a few others.
For comparison, I did the 112 mile bike course at Ironman Lake Placid this July in just over 6 hours (identical gearing), including stops, and that's in the Adirondacks.
I can't wait to do this again next year.
10,950ft total ascending
136 avg HR
14.5mph avg (smokin')
200+ miles for the week (half-ironman last Sunday + 2 computrainer workouts)
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