below is my ride report of Mountains of Misery 2006. It has four really tough hills (the double metrice). The century has 2 really tough ones, and I think the first one is harder than the last--it is steeper, but shorter. Definitely one of the 'must do' rides in the east. Pace yourself and train on hills and you should be ok-
Mountains of Misery
May 28, 2006
Distance- 130.5 miles
13,000+ feet of climbing
Clock Time- 8:08 –16.05 mph
Ride Time- 7:51 – 16.62 mph
Highest speed reached: 45.65 mph
Slowest speed going uphill: 5 mph
Finished 12th of the double metric riders.—Only 69 finishers… heat did a lot of people in.
This was my fourth year doing this ride. This year it was the first hot day I had ridden this year. It seems the temperature skyrocketed over the weekend—with temperatures in the mid 90’s. “Hot” before meant mid eighties — quite a difference from the 94 it reached on Sunday.
The double metric riders started ten minutes before the century riders. There were about 120 of us. I immediately found myself in the first group—of about 30 riders. I did my share at the front of the ‘peloton’ for the first 18-20 miles, and at one point was leading and moved over to let the next guy lead—and nobody came through. I glanced back and found that I was about 50 yards ahead of the group. My friend Steve later asked me why I was trying to break away from the pack. I was quickly re-absorbed, and stayed near the front until the first (actually second—we didn’t stop at the first one) aid station. I stopped to refuel, and about half the pack kept going. There were some that I would not see for the rest of the day. We had one scary moment, at about mile 17, when a deer jumped across the road in front of the first rider. I was about 2/3 of the way back, and didn’t actually see the deer, but saw the effect it had on the riders around me. We commented that we were lucky there was only one…usually they travel in pairs or packs (sort of like bikers).
Steve and I started riding out of the first aid station together. We passed a few people, and then Steve left me. He ended up finishing fourth overall. I got into a steady rhythm, slow and steady. I passed a few people and then met up with Mark, with whom I would ride most of the day.
The ride was mostly uneventful—it was brutally hot, but the aid stations were plentiful and cold drinks were available throughout. At one point, as we approached the second big hill, there were five of us riding together. One guy was a little ahead, and three dogs burst out a field and started chasing him. I was next in line, and slowed down, and prepared to sprint past the dogs. The leader was in a full sprint, trying to out-distance the dogs, and was spraying them with water (or maybe Gatorade)… Suddenly the dogs gave up the chase, and my immediate thought was, OK, now it’s my turn, but they just looked at me as I sped by—I guess the heat was affecting them as well.
The guys I was riding with were definitely better climbers than I. I got dropped on the second hill, about half way up. Not a big distance, but they were definitely riding better. Once I got to the top of the hill, it was a different story. I got into an aerodynamic tuck and powered down the hill. It was a five mile or so downhill. I was at the front within a mile, and powering the group through by the bottom. The next terrain was rollers, which are my specialty. I stayed at the front, and at one point, was told by Mark that I had dropped the other three. No matter, we would regroup at the next aid station. That was the pattern for the rest of the ride—they would pull away from me on the long steep hills, and I would come back and pull them along on the flats and rollers. It was a lot of fun. I finished about 2 minutes behind two of my ‘group-of-five’. The others were somewhere down the mountain from me.
Mountains of Misery is possibly one of the best run long rides around. The aid stations are well placed and they had plenty of food (even gel at a couple of stops), and liquids. The people manning the aid stations were very friendly and very helpful. The scenery is beautiful—and the hills are hard. All in all a great venue and a great ride. The only negative to the ride is the four hour drive to get there…
Hope to see some of you there next year!