The Idea | White Mountains Bike Tour
There came a point, some time last year in 2017, when I no longer wanted to just read about those epic adventures and sufferfests that I kept seeing all over the internet. But I couldn’t quit my job and just go backpacking in the mountains for a month, or ride my bike across the country. Even though I would love to. What was I going to do? All I knew was that I wanted to push my limits, both physically and mentally. After throwing around some ideas that definitely involved a bike, I settled on the most ridiculous thing I could think of at the time. A plan to bike tour around the entire White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire. The East Coast’s proving grounds for real, rugged mountains. The route I mapped out would have us riding 162 miles with over 8,600ft of vertical gain and then hike three of the 4,000 footers. Oh, and since I had that job I needed to get back to, all of this needed to be done in only 3 days.
What exactly is Bike Touring you might ask? Simple, it can be broken down into three easy steps.
Step 1: Start by coming up with a ridiculous idea for a multi day bike ride.
Step 2: Load up everything onto your bike that you’d need for 3 days and nights. I’m talking food, bike repair gear, water, clothes, camping gear, and candy.
Step 3: Hope con you can convince a friend to join you.
Part three isn’t mandatory, but highly recommended. And somehow I managed to convince my friend Eddie to join me on this quest, and we settled on the first weekend in October.
After months of planning, I thought I had planned for everything down to a T. I mapped out all the bike shops in case of any mechanical issues, every opportunity to make camp in 20 mile increments, and every place we could get food from. Everything except for one, tiny, minuscule, possibility. Rain. Weather reports were forecasting 3 straight days of rain during our ride. I wanted this trip more than anything, but spending three straight days in the rain, on a bike, in the mountains, isn’t on a top 10 list of ways to spend my time; let alone my precious vacation days for that matter. But neither Eddie, nor I, wanted to be the one to call off the trip because of a little precipitation. Next think I knew, I was Amazon Prime-ing some more rain gear for me, additional gear for the bike. And after work, on Friday October 6th, Eddie and I were headed up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
The 162 mile route I planned was broken down by day into the following. Day 1 starts off with 73 miles of riding on fresh legs with an additional bit of fun by hiking a 4k footer. Day 2 would be 58 miles on the bike and a planned hike of Mt. Washington. Then, we would finish the bike tour with 31 miles on Day 3, and maybe hike Cannon Mountain before driving back home. To hold onto the idea of a self-supported adventure, we would be camping out every night at various campsites along the route. In total, the route would cover the entire southern, western, and eastern boarders of the White Mountain National Park, as well as the interior thru-ways. With this many miles and vertical climbing (on and off the bike), something was bound to go wrong. It was just a matter of when.