Archive for July, 2006

Climb To The Clouds ’06

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

The Climb to the Clouds took place Sunday July 16. I’ve done this ride many times before but never in heat like this. It was so hot that breathing was difficult due to the heat coming off the roads in areas with no shade.

The ride started off great. It was hot but I felt very strong. I rode with my friends Dave W and Dave R as well as several hundres others. We covered the first 15 miles quickly. This brought us to our first stop at the convenience store in Sterling. It was so hot that I couldn’t put enough water in fast enough. I consumed almost 2 full 20 oz bottles in the first 15 miles. It was going to be a tough day…

We got some water and food and were about to leave Sterling when Dave W decided to mark another spot in the state. Well, decided is probably not an accurate term. I doubt very much that this was a decision so much as an unavoidable incident. The heat was definitely starting to affect people. We ended up staying with Dave for about 40 minutes till he felt well enough to continue. This was a very tough thing for us as it was like starting over again after waiting that long…

Dave recovered well and it was off to the mountain. We got to the infamous Mile Hill Rd within 5 miles. This road is aptly named. It is the road that leads up to the mountain and is a 1 mile climb at a 9% grade. I am usually able to make it up this road without stopping. Not this day. The heat coming off the road was so high that it was very difficult to breath. I had to stop twice to catch my breath just to make it to the base of the mountain.

We got to the base and Dave W was smart enough not to try and summit. I decided to give it a shot. Not a great idea. I didn’t make it that far before I was out of breath and mentally shut down. The summit would have to wait for another time. We turned and went back down and continued on.

We met up with Dave at the ranger station and decided to head out since the line for water was sooooo long.  The water stop was in about 5 or 6 miles and we had enough to get there.

 Leaving the mountain tooks us along a slight climb up the rest of mile hill road and then down about a 5 mile descent.  This was worth the climb.  We flew…  It was a lot of fun.  We rolled into the water stop, fueled up, and were on our way soon after.

We stayed together and rode strong till about Northborough when I started to bonk.  The heat was kicking my butt.  I backed it way down and watched the Daves ride off.  I made it to Sawyer Hill when a tandem flew by me.  This was my friends Steve and Kathleen.  They were moving.  I caught up to them soon.  No, not because I was flying but because they stopped to help someone that had what looked like a full body cramp.  They helped him off his bike and lowered (not kidding) him to the ground.  They gave him some e-caps which helped his cramps.  I left and was on my way.  The next water stop was over Sawyer Hill and I wanted to get there.  It was not fast as my right leg was starting to cramp.

 Into the water stop I met up with the Daves again.  We got some water and food and off we went.  I made it to the crossover of route 117 and onto Harvard Rd in Bolton.  We started climbing and the leg cramp came back.  Mentally I was done.  I yelled ahead for them to go on without me.  I then turned, rolled back down Harvard Rd and turned onto route 117 to take the easy ride back to the Nashoba school where we started.  This cut out about a mile but it was worth the shortcut as I was able to turn the cranks as long as I didn’t have to engage the muscle that was cramping up.

I got to the school a few minutes before the Daves.  I was spent.  We hung out a little bit, said our goodbyes, and home I went…  Next year will be a better ride.