We drove north to support and watch two (certifiably crazy) friends as they participated in the "Newton's Revenge" Bicycle Hill Climb race up Mt. Washington. And, they will do the crazy thing again in August, when they join the bigger Mt. Washington Hill Climb race. There are lots of crazy people in this world: hundreds participate in the 2 races every summer.
Having spent my early life living near and driving and hiking around the Rocky Mountains, i am very familiar with high peaks, winding roads with steep drop-offs and no guard rails. And i used to think, when watching the Tour de France on television, that those "hill"
climbs had to be the most difficult uphill races...ever. Wrong. Now that i've been on the Mt. Washington auto road twice (to wait at the top for my friends to pull themselves across the finish line) i can confirm that it is a very challenging piece of road. Extremely narrow in spots with rugged drop-offs on both sides in parts. (those bloody awful Hummers aren't allowed up the mountain--they are too wide and won't fit on long sections of the narrow track) And, it's packed, slippery dirt for part of the way. Just how steep/difficult is this bike race: " The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Newton's Revenge are known as the toughest hillclimbs in the world... at 7.6 miles in length, has an average grade of 12% with extended sections of 18% and the last 50 yards is an amazing 22%! Sprint that to the finish!"
To make things even more challenging, it was hot on the mountain this year--that infamous heat wave went far north. Usually, it's cold on top--but this year we were sweating in the sun just waiting for the riders. Finishing this race is one helluva feat! And Lili and Carol actually had strength and energy (after they've spent 10-15 minutes sucking air) to do this:
Yes. i came home with the certain realization that i have become a slug. Not that i would ever aspire to this phenomenal physical accomplishment. But, yes. It definitely makes me think: it's definitely time to think about getting healthier.