Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 Granite State Grind and Roll Century on an ElliptiGO

Another week, another Century. Last week's Seacoast Century was an all out effort to go as fast as I could go on an ElliptiGO. I loved the challenge, except for the wind, and am very satisfied with the result. This weekend, I wanted to do something different and decided a few days beforehand and 5 minutes before online registration ended to ride the first year Granite State Grind and Roll which started in Franconia, NH. I have always wanted to do a fall ride in the White Mountains and another  ElliptiGO rider, Andrew Warby, was also going to do the event. It was an early morning getting up for the ride up to Franconia, but it was looking to be a gorgeous and perfect day to be outdoors. Andrew and I planned to meet at 8 am for the ride and I rolled up with two minutes to spare.

All the other full century riders (actually it was only 92 miles) had already left long before we did. It was a bit chilly at first with a morning fog, but that soon burned away and by the first aid station, we had pulled off the extra clothing. I had decided to ride this one for the fun, the scenery, to ride with a friend, and for the challenge, too! It was a completely different mindset than last week's century, but I thoroughly enjoyed the day.

The course, of course, was beautiful and the trees were in color. The roads and views were awesome and the ride was fun. There were some steep downhills that I was cautious on, but I still hit 40 mph. Andrew was a better downhill rider and hit 45 mph. At 29 miles we hit I steep (average grade of 7%) downhill over incredibly bumpy roads that we had been warned about. Near the top of the descent, as I was being jostled over the bumps and uneven roads, I heard a tinny sound underneath my ElliptiGO, I didn't notice anything falling off my bike and couldn't see any missing parts, but stopped just the same as it was an aluminum type sound and I didn't want to lose a bike part. I walked about 50 yards up the hill to discover that my car keys had bounced out of the not fully zippered pocket of my front handlebar bag. Whew! The ElliptiGO key ring saved my day. That would have been a real long ride home (I have had problems with losing keys and taking long roads home in the past).

Andrew set a great pace and I let him do a lot of the leading. We stopped at all four of the aid stations since the volunteers were so friendly and curious about our ElliptiGOs and also because they had waited for us as we were the last riders. We never do encounter an century cyclist. We did pass a few doing the shorter ride. The sun was out and I never saw a cloud in the sky all day. The variety of the course was great, many of the roads were free from automobiles, and everything was marked very well. It did get a little hot between 60-70 miles or so with the sun beating down, a bit of a headwind, and some big uphills. The last aid station was a welcome relief as we both needed some water. Eventually the course went of the roads and onto the shaded bike path starting at The Flume, going down to Profile Lake, where you used to be able to see The Old Man of the Mountain, around Cannon Moutain and Echo Lake. That was refreshing! At which point it was just a few miles of downhill to the finish back in Franconia.

Here is a short video I took while trying to use my Polaroid XS100 camera for the first time, I posted it low on my handlebar stem so I had to bend down a bit to turn it off and on, and I didn't secure it well enough so the camera kept rotating, but otherwise it took decent video.

At the end of the event, we joined the wonderful barbecue complete with music, and the two best hamburgers I have had in a while. It was fantastic to ride with Andrew, enjoy a long ride just for the fun of it, and to experience a beautiful day surrounded by the mountains, lakes, rivers, and fall foliage of the White Mountains. Andrew and I both agree that this would be a perfect event for an EllitiGO gathering next year.

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