There's not much for side items at Gauchos. You start with a salad bar. I generally don't eat salads, as there is minimal energy content value in salad. The Gauchos salad bar is very fresh, so I had to try a little bit. Then I loaded up on meat until I was disgustingly stuffed. To top it off, Cathy and I shared a cheesecake dessert afterwards.
Hardly a meal to charge up the energy stores, wouldn't you say? When I got up Friday morning, an off-day for me, I checked the weather. The forecast looked pretty bleak Saturday night going into Sunday. I had planned to do a MTB race Sunday morning, but I detest racing in rain or mud, and breaking bones sucks even more. On the flip side, the weather was going to be spectacular on Friday. I'm a bit behind on training this spring, and going right into full-on race mode is not a good way to build a successful season. I haven't established an adequate base yet. Races on Sundays suck the most, because they tend to curtail getting any serious volume in on the weekend. At least a Saturday race lets you do a five hour hillfest on Sunday. Hillfests on Saturday tend to produce pitiful results in Sunday races.
So I didn't think twice and kitted up for a mountains ride. I parked at the White Mountains Visitor Center in Lincoln. I asked if Bear Notch was open yet. Nope. So no 4NaaP ride. I'd have to settle for out-and-backs on passes from Lincoln.
The day couldn't have been more perfect. Well, ok, maybe a little warmer. Winds were light to start, brilliant cloudless skies, and no cars. Heading out on the Kanc, I think a car went by maybe once every ten minutes. I got into a sweet groove, a hard tempo pace. I passed two other riders on my way up, who also were enjoying the fabulous conditions. The road was dry despite 8ft high snow banks in places. There's still a lot of snow in the mountains. I kept going right over the top until the Kanc started to flatten out on the other side. That was good for a solid 45 minute effort from town. Coming back up the east side took upwards of 30 minutes. My legs were holding up well.
I had a bit of headwind heading back into Lincoln. No surprise there. I topped off my water at the car and headed across I-93 to climb Rt 118, also known as Gonzo Pass. It gains nearly 1800ft from I-93 and presents a more challenging gradient. The road was a mess. Sand all over, 4" deep cracks running the direction of travel, huge frost heaves and divots. The descent was going to be a handful. I reached the top in less than 40 minutes, wolfed down a Mojo bar and decided to not descend the back side. I would do Kinsman Notch instead.
The descent was not much different than skiing down a mogul field. It was a shame to waste so much earned energy in rim warming. At the bottom, I turned left to head up Kinsman. The wind was kicking up pretty strongly now. Figures I'd save the steepest climb with the strongest headwind for last. It's not much vertical though, less than 1000ft. The 12% section near the top had my speed dropping below 6mph. My legs were finally tenderized. That didn't stop me from descending a good ways down the other side before turning around. I wanted to make sure I got at least 7000ft of climbing in.
Heading back down the 12%, I did nothing to enhance my speed. I was running semi-aero wheels, and with a cross wind, my bike was quite sketchy. I still managed to hit 55mph. This section was recently repaved, and with no cars in sight, I could use the whole road. I needed it too.
Not a flat mile in this ride
That was one of my better early season rides in the Whites. The traffic was almost non-existent. I finished with 67.3 miles in 3.9 hours and 7000+ feet of climbing. Legs were noodly later in the day. Interestingly, I didn't bonk or cramp. I wonder if all the protein the night before had anything to do with that?