New Hampshire Bike 1995

Well, it's 1995, I'm 41 years old and now officially do not consider myself a runner. I've been pretty healthy for almost 2 years, but am only averaging about 100-150 miles running each year. On the other hand, I have cycled about 1500 miles each of the last 2 years. Not sure how that relates in comparison, but I think that it's safe to say that I don't train anymore. I workout to stay in shape, and I compete in events for fun or to be social, but I don't train.

The biggest reason for this is likely because I still don't workout on consecutive days, even being as healthy as I am. I still get worn down very quickly whenever athletic events stack up. Other than bike trips, I have not done consecutive days as a rule for a number of years. I don't see this changing in the near future. I like my health as it is, and have no real desire to train for a competitive event. This is probably why I am looking at mountain biking as a way to compete without doing a lot of stamina training, since it looks like the racing events combine as much technical skill as stamina. We'll see how true this is 5 minutes into my first event.

Anyhow, this note is about the latest GONZO Biking event, the '95 tour, which this year took us to New Hampshire. This is the third annual. I wasn't into biking for the first one, but have made the last two. Last year we did a week around the Gaspe in Quebec, putting lots of people in one van, a few rooms and putting up with a lot of weather. It was great fun. and we even got some good hiking in and spent very little money ($150) since we car-pooled, split 2 rooms and made most of our meals.

This year's trip was more expensive for a number of reasons. We decided not to use a support van, as most people had multiple times to come and go, and accomodations were a bit more, and in American $$. Probably the most interesting fact about this trip was the individual amount of give and take it took just to get the 10 people involved. First I'll name the participants, then the interactions.

I left Thursday since I was driving alone and needed a break.I needed my car because I had to get to a wedding in New York, and the easiest way seemed to be me driving the entire way. Robert took his motorcycle to Montreal on Thursday to visit some family. I took his bicycle with me. Larry and Carolyn left on Friday, in their own van, since Larry had to fly out West on October 20. They stopped in Fredericton to drop off their 2 kids and spent the night. Larry almost missed the trip due to some training setup for a project, but luck was with him. He would have travelled with me, except that he convinced Carolyn to take a break and come down for a mixture of time-off, biking, painting and socializing.

Chris, Betty and Claudia left on Saturday, driving the full 11 hours and bringing that night's supper with them. Ross, Gordon and Bruce had to work a basketball game Saturday night, so they left after the game, driving overnite, and arriving in time to put in a 3 hour bike to Conway on Sunday, matching up with the rest of us. Robert showed up on Tuesday afternoon, during our hiking day.

The return from this trip included Larry, Carolyn and myself leaving Friday morning, with me going down to New York, Larry to Bangor, and Carolyn to Frederiction. The rest left Saturday morning, sharing the motorcycle driving amongst Bruce, Robert and Gordon.

All the preparations and bull required to get us all on this trip were worth it. If that's what it takes to get 10 adults to get away for a week long bike trip, so be it. The confusion was part of the fun. The reality was, we all made it and put in some great days cycling, hiking and hanging out. It was quite a trip.


After 3 weeks of really pushing it work, and at home, I packed up the 2 bikes in my trunk and left Dartmouth around 6:00 PM. The drive to Calais was nice, but tiring. I am still fighting the plugged ears from a cold (even went to doctor today to ensure ears weren't infected) and I had a brand new crown placed on a tooth this afternoon. Now that the freezing has worn off, I am sure that the little high point will cause me grief over the next 2 weeks (and it does). I am so tired when I pull into the Calais Motor Inn parking lot, that I tuck myself to sleep without even a beer or a bit of radio. I sleep fine, with a bit of twisting and turning. In the middle of the evening, I hear a loud thunk, and am worried that someone has hit the car. Turns out, that wasn't it.


I wake up pretty late (8:00 AM AST), which is surprising, since I wanted to get going by 6:00. Just a measure of how exhausted I am. The last 3 weeks were too much. Work has me stretched beyond a breaking point. Even so, I was lucky to get out, and only need check in here and there for emergencies. I left Thursday to get a break, and have one less day to have things blow up and force a missed trip. As it turns out, the software performs fine. Good for me.

The drive is pretty easy, and when I get to Bangor, I have to decide to visit Al and Pat, or head to Franconia. I pick Franconia, which turns out to be a wise choice. I zip along the #2 highway, stoipping here and there to stretch the day out. I didn't realize that Mt. Washington was in this area, and I luck out in driving up the thing and looking around. Tough on the ears and brakes, but easily worth the trip. Feel guilty driving. Get more of a buzz from hiking. The day is gorgeous and the top is at 65 degrees, a real rarity. I get to Franconia around 7:00 PM, but really bushed. I need a break. Robert is full up, but he sets me up in a friend's cottage. Little uncomfy, but I sleep a lot and really take it easy. Not a bad day, and I'm here!


Real lazy start. This place is gorgeous. Mountains in the soft morning sun. Reminds me of northern B.C. Everyone here seems active. The landlady is a sprightly 75+ who details a 5 mile run for me, should I feel perky in the morning. I roll into the village, and hang out in the little stores, drinking coofee on a park bench. The air is grand and I feel really good. Someone has shot a moose and is showing it off. Lots of people going by on bikes. The roads are in great shape. I stop in at the farm, and start putting the bikes back together. Mine is easy, but that thunk in the night was Bob's derailleur. Quick trip to the village bike shop (one of many I saw on this trip) and bank gets this fixed up, but I've already spent a fair bit of cash and we haven't started yet. The weather changes to rain very quickly, and any thoughts of a little local hike are banished, so I drive to see the "Old Man" then do some touristing in Lincoln. Run into Larry and Carolyn in the grocery store and we're off to the farm. Claudia, Betty and Chris show up with supper, and the reality starts to hit home. I'm on another bike trip and this is going to be fun.


Up early, but a slow start. Lots of details to get out of the way, but we're off by 9:00 AM after some problems with bags (Chris and Claudia). First stop a big breakfast, which is really too early, but not much else on our way. Carolyn's chain breaks right away, which is too bad, since this is one of the easier days. We tool along to Twin Mtn and then Bretton Woods. stopping for lunch in a little roadside convenience. I made my breakfast at the farm, and lunch at the break, continuing the style set in Cape Breton. I like having my own food, and control over when I eat it. Larry, Claudia and I gravitate to the front after seeing the Mt. Washinton hotel, and keep a light but steady pace, all the way to Conway. Pass a really nice lake and railroad cut into a big rock hill during a fair downhill. We are cycling along rivers, in passes between little mountains. Cool.

We arrive in Conway just as I'm starting to get tired, running into Gordon, Bruce and Ross downtown. This is so neat, generating a large group in the middle of another country. It's like my field of view has been increased. I always think of Montreal and New York as in my range, and now I'm adding Maine and New Hampshire. Lots of things are possible with that kind of range. The motel is really nice, letting us store the bikes in the basement, and the rooms are quite big and spiffy. Do a bit of shopping, getting some leather golves at Bean's, and stocking up on food. Scrumptious lasagna at an Italian restaurant and 1 too many beer for the day. Early to bed to finish a great first day.


Nice early start with blueberry pancakes for a local breakfast, since we'll be in the boonies most of the day. Pretty short run to the #112 or Kancamagus Highway. Really nice ride down the rode, although going up-river the whole way. Nice close line of trees, and a fall sun on our backs. Not too many cars on the road, and this is a treat. We're slowly moving uphill, but the grade changes are nice, and Larry and I notice that we're not changing gears. he's at about 60 and I'm around 57. Decide to keep the gear as long as possible. After some nice little stops, including an old graveyard, we start a 9 km ascent to the top of a 2000 ft hill. It's a pig, but the determination to hold that gear is very high. The group spreads out as we go, with Legs Larry moving easily to the front, even though he and Ross did a marathon just last week. About 2 km from the top, it starts to snow and hail! I thought inland weather would be more consistent, and it was in the low 80's on Friday, but mountains make their own weather, so snow it is.

The slogging is very slow in this gear. At times, I am barely moving, but altho the grade is always up, it's never really drastic, so I push on, following Larry's track in the snow. How much affect this will have over the day(s), I don't know, but stubborness being what it is, I am extremely gratified to make it to the top. Like is a series of ups and downs, and this trip is a high, with this ascent being a biking moment to treasure. The weather at the top is atrocious. Too scary to go down, too cold and windy to stay and make lunch. Carolyn to the rescue. Larry, Ross and I lunch in the van, and just as we get out to start a 12 km down, the sun breaks out and the ride, altho chilly, is a nice treat. We pass Loon Mtn and roll into Lincoln, stopping for hot chocolate to thaw out and wait for everyone to catch up. Carolyn leaves the van on the mountain and rides the rest of the day. The trip north along Franconia Notch is a real pig. The legs are shot. We end up on a 10 mile bike path that would be a real treat by itself, but is very painful at this time. It's a great path and altho I'm stuck in my lowest gear, we do finally make it where the "Old Man" is, and suddenly the legs kick in again as we get past Cannon Mtn.

Surprise, surprise, there is a 2 mile downhill of glorious proportions, with just enough degrees to keep the speed cooking, and wide enough turns to keep the hands off the brakes. Best downhill I ever had. Some were faster and scarier, but this was a real skimmer. Larry coasted for many a meter after the initial run, which put us right back in Franconia. We spent some time collecting the cars. (not me, I was drinking beer). Gordon found a great big mushroom that he carved some trip details into. Betty and Chris made their chicken casserole special and we all had a great big meal. Perfect way to end a great biking day.


Up early, breakfast at farm and out into a nippy day to do some hiking, We went across from Cannon Mtn, up the Bridal Path to the Green Leaf Hut, and then a push up to the top of Lafayette, which interestingly enough, is the same height as Katahdin (a fiver, where Washington is a sixer) Green Leaf is closed, which is too bad. Would like to see one of these huts. Maybe in the spring. It's too cold and too early to stop, so Gordon and I push on, up past the tree line and into the clouds. Just before the clouds, we can look down on Cannon, which is a really cool feeling. The range of view is just like Katahdin, but the scenery is even better. This is as much fun as biking anyday. The trip to the top gets a little hairy (or hoary).

Snow on the ground (with some amazing crystal, really amazing, like cotton fluff), clouds everywhere, and all you can see one or two rock cairns above or below. Like being stranded in the fog on a boat. Lose your sense of direction very fast. Definitely on the edge of my clothes. Fine as long as we're moving, but it wouldn't be pretty if there was any sort of accident. Lot of wind and you have to keep movin or the cool-down is quite dramatic. We get to the top and squeeze out 2 pictures. Remembering to mark our descent, as there are quite a few paths off this thing, and all of the other ones are a lot longer that the way we came up. Run into Larry and Ross on the way down. The others stopped at the cloud line, and retreated to Green Leaf. Lunch at the hut is nice, since the weather has warmed up , and the wind is down. Gordon really scooted down from the peak, even in the snow, and keeping up was difficult, but reminded me of days on PEI beaches when I was a kid. We continue the scoot all the way to the bottom, doing 65 minutes from the hut to the base. My quads don't recover for 3 days, but once again, the fun was easily worth the pain.

Bob has arrived, parked by our cars, and gone for his own hike. It's like we're at Shubie or Kedgie. Just another day at the office, dear.

Larry and Carolyn are doing supper, so Ross, Claudia and I trip to Littleton to get money and do some shopping (bike gloves this time), while the others do a little hike out to catch the sunset. My legs, once agin, are toast. The meal is great, and this is a nice size group. The women are getting along fine, full of giggles and a little wine. I'm sure Betty is glad to not be alone with this group again. Try to think of how many women you know who would go biking and travelling in close quarters with 6-8 guys, and it would be a short list indeed. Again, everyone to bed early. A 3 day route coming up, with some sort of van support as Carolyn will be doing a mixture of biking, painting and relaxing.


Up early, quick start down the #116, over a rebuilt, long drawn-out hill by Lost River and onto North Woodstock for one of the best breakfasts ever. Nice little town, a little chilled from the downhill, lots of coffee with eggs, hash browns and pancakes for under $3.00. I start my attempts to call into work. Should have called ATT at the start. Lesson learned. We met a fully loaded guy cycling all summer from Seattle. Little humbling, what? Really nice sunny cycle on the #3 and #175, taking some nice breaks, pictures and lunch in ?Holderness We're going to ... by Lake Winnipesaukee. Larry starts to pull ahead the last 10 miles or so, and I tuck into his draft and follow him. Big mistake.

After 2 days of toasting my legs, I decide to burn off whatever free energy I have. What a doof!. After 10 miles and 2 killer hills, we run into Carolyn, who has opicked out a really delicious set of cabins, with access to a pool and hot tub. Unfortunately, Larry and I miss the turnoff and do 2 or 3 mores hills, there and back. I am a real basket case, and it will take me 3 days to recover. Well. I hit my limit on Cabot Trail '94, not on Gaspe '94. Didn't hit my limit on Cabot Trail '95, but have really found out where it is today. The hot tub is great, (we jump from hot to cold to hot, buzzy) and Bruce's supper would resuscitate a dead man. So the evening ends quietly, with me sleeping on a window ledge and very comfy, and very tired.


It's a weird day. Lots of sun. A great breakfast and photos and a 50's diner after an hour of cycling. Pretty easy riding to lunch in Canaan. I finally reach work, where there's no problems, and the day is cut a little short, as we are trying to shorten the next day's ride, as there will be rain, but Carolyn can only find accommodations at about the 55 mile mark, leaving the map boys lots of work to figure a route. The motel is great. Perfect sunny day on a quiet lake. Chris and I go for a swim, people go touristing, we play some cards. Nice time for a break. I'm still buzzed out, so the break is very welcome. I have decided to return to Franconia with Larry and Carolyn, dropping a day of cycling. I don't think I could do a tough day on the bike, then continue with my plans to N.Y. and home.

We all head out to a Chinese buffet in Lebanon, and really stuff ourselves. No negative calorie days as yet, and none in view. The food is fantastic, and I really get my money's worth. I'm feeling pretty good, knowing that I have a day to relax at Alex and Pat's. After dinner, Ross and I go get Ben and Jerry's ice cream for everyone, just to finish off the tummy. "Cherry Garcia" is the best. Off to sleep, again with those giggling females bouncing about. Have been sleeping pretty good all week, other than waking up a few times during the night. Still getting a full 8 hours in every night. A quiet, slow day, but the timing was perfect.


Up early, hugs and goodbyes, and on the road back to Franconia at 6:30 AM. Larry and Carolyn take off from the farm, getting Larry to Bangor for a flight. I store the bike and head south to Craryville. Nice day for a drive, and I take it easy, staying in Greater Barrington for most of the afternoon, and going through a big bag of sunflower seeds on the drive down. Car is working great.

I arrive at Pat's. No one home. so I start a laundry, a beer and the paper. Everyone but Alex comes home and we have a noisy supper and I play with the kids. Ariel and I go for a walk with the new dog (Our first. She yaks just like Emily). The twins are a real treat and Dylan is a doll. I finally get to use the Jacuzzi and give those legs some relief. The dog causes some minor allergy and asthma, but I sleep like a log.


Up early. The twins have decided (lots of hush-hush plans in the bathroom) to scare me awake with their Hallowe'een masks on. Glad I'm awake. Their hair is different, so I can tell them apart. They're not as shy, and not as rambunctious, so they're a lot of fun. Dylan is cool, as always. Great kid.

It's raining. so I head out to Barrington to browse, realx and shop a bit. Buy some used books and hang out in little diners and coffee shops. Meet a guy who took 6 months off and did the Appalachian Trail. Again, that slightly humbling feeling, but not really. Back to the house for a nice big meal. Some neighbours drop over for the baseball game, and Alex gets home. Bit of chat and off to sleep. I needed a quiet day, and I got it. Wedding tomorrow.


Quiet morning. We all went for a little walk. No chance to see Jordan, as he's sick. We leave for the wedding around 1:00 PM and arrive just in time. I talked to Sarah in the morning. Surprised that I was upstate for a whole day without calling. Turns out they had a tux for me. Too bad, so sad. The ceremony is at Terrace Park at the World Fair site in Queen's. Great view of the Manhattan skyline, and the sunset is so soft rosy, I rank it among the top 5 or 6 in my liketime. Really a special treat. Regina and Sarah show up with NEW haridos. Sara has cut he hair to shoulder length and dyed it very black. Takes 10 years off her life. Regina has STRAIGHTENED her hair. Words escape me. Couldn't find my own wife in a crowd. What a shock. Between the hair, and a pant-suit, something I never see, she reminds me of Merrill, a look I don't like.

The wedding ceremony is nice, but quite fast. The whole family is there, including Jaffa, who I haven't seen since Israel in 1981. Still no English. The video boys are back. They run the show, no doubt about it. At those prices. they sort of have to guarantee results, and that they do. We don't see anything of Ruti or Mark on a personal basis. Sort of an impersonal wedding. Really nice speeches from Mark's father, sister, and best friend, including a really cool newspaper article handout.

I danced with Regina, Emily and Sophie. Had a good time, got a little buzz on and watched Alex go over very quickly. Pat had to decide to drive home, as Al was useless. He ended up getting sick in the bathroom, on the street, on the highway, in the car..etc. We made a quick exit and after a little fun finding gas at that time of night, made our way upstate, past about 40-50 deer feeding off the side of the highway. As well, the dog crapped all over the house as we arrived and it was one hell of an evening, and quite a day.


Tried to get up early, but we didn't get to sleep till past 2:00 AM. Said all my goodbyes and headed up to Franconia to chat with Bob and pick up the rack and bikes. Made it to Bangor, and used Robert's money to justify staying in the Fairfield Inn, where we always stay as a family. First time in a motel room by myself. Have to say that I enjoyed it a lot. Went to the Ground Round for a nice steak and beer and enjoyed myself immensely. Funny smell from the car. No idea what it was.


Bad timing for a visit to the Saucony store, so on my way to Calais. Nice drive, except for that smell. Stopped at the Irving in Calais, and it turns out that my battery is being cooked as I drive. Guy from local garage convinces me to fill up my completely dry battery and continue on, which I do, but I'm nervous all the rest of the day. Car is working fine, but I'm as tight as a drum till I actually park the sucker in the driveway. I still have to get to hockey that evening, which I do, after seeing the rest of the family arrive from the airport.


Boy, am I bushed! I'm like a zombie at work. I'm OK for Wednesday and Thursday, but my health is failing fast. I should have stayed home on Thursday. I end up missing Friday AND Monday. Needless to say, the weekend did not go well. I felt like I needed an IV or I was going to pass out. Definitely ran my own battery dry. Counting being ill for the better part of 2 weeks before the bike trip, this makes a good case for not doing 2 bike trips within a month anytime soon. Good idea to stick to the no consecutive workout routine.