Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bad Roads

So are Cow Hampshire roads FUBAR this winter, or what? It was a beautiful day today, so Cathy and I headed up to the Manchester airport and back on Mammoth Rd. Granted, it has been the snowiest winter in over a century, but there's more going on here than the weather. Anybody that travels or rides Mammoth Rd (Rt 128) knows that the state does an annual "patch" job on it. This means they throw down a few shovel fulls of asphalt and scrape it out paper thin with a dump truck over rough spots. At best, it might be a quarter inch thick. No sealer to bond it to old asphalt, no structural top coat (>3" thick), or certainly no repairing the underlying substrate that is failing in the first place. Just Hill overlooking MHT with Pack's in backgroundscrape and escape. What sucks about this is it only takes a few freeze cycles before the thin layer begins delaminating. Not only does the newest layer delaminate, but year's prior layers start coming loose too. Some potholes that might be only 3" deep show a dozen layers of prior shoddy repair work coming undone.

Back in Michigan, I never saw roads repaired this way. When a road started breaking up, it got repaved with a full, several inches thick, new layer of asphalt. They put down a sticky sealer first to help the new asphalt bond to the old. The road drove good as new for several years. But in New Hampshire, you perpetually drive or ride on shoddy roads. Parts of Mammoth Rd were so bad that there were virtually no clean lines. Couple this with cars that go way to fast, it was plain dangerous. I normally avoid Mammoth Rd, riding it only on Sunday's if I must. Some side streets were still messy today. Other than road conditions, we got a nice 2.5hr ride in.

Yesterday I went up to Waterville Valley again, this time with Dave Penney. I was cooked from several days of intensity work, but what else can you do the day after a snow storm? You take full advantage of what Mother Nature throws your way! As expected, I had no top end. I struggled to stay with Dave early on, and went downhill from there. We hit Livermore/Cascade (800ft) climb first, then Swazeytown/Beanbender/Cascade (700ft) climb second. That pretty much did me in. Dave went on to do Tripoli (800ft) while I whimpered on my way back to the Nordic center. I ended up doing about 35km and 2400ft of climbing. I just signed up for the Rangeley Lakes 50km Marathon next weekend. The course will have >3000ft of climbing. Should be more ready than any prior 50k race I've done. The week after that is Ski to the Clouds race at Mt Washington. 2200ft in 6km will be the mother of all ski climbs. The race promoters tout this race as the toughest 10k in North America.

This has been my toughest training week of the season with liberal doses of intensity work. Over 6000ft of climbing in two days on skis alone is probably a new PR. Climbing on skis is easily double the effort on bike. Adding up total vertical from this week's riding and skiing comes up to over 12,000ft. Not bad for February. I'll be heading to Arizona in five weeks, and my first ride will entail over 13,000ft of climbing. Need to train for my training week.

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