Oh, Mount Washington.
I found this picture on VeloGoGo and was reminded once again of how badly I want to ride my bike up Mount Washington.
I've been on the mountain several times, and to the summit once - in my hiking boots when I was a teenager, which provided me with the self-congratulations necessary to scoff at those bumper stickers that read, "This Car Climbed Mount Washington." Oh yeah? Well these legs climbed it.
My aunt, cousin, and I left Lakes of the Clouds a bit earlier than the rest of our family, who were heading south along the Presidential Ridge. We left our packs by door and half-hiked, half-jogged the mile and a half up to the summit. The mountain up there is rocky and the wind blows hard; the conditions alternated between incredible views of the entire state of New Hampshire, and near white-out conditions as we became encased in cloud. When we were at the summit, the wind was strong enough to make me lose my balance once or twice. It was stunningly and terrifyingly beautiful - once I tricked myself into ignoring the buildings up there. I eventually developed a little bit of a mystically ecological side and grew to resent the buildings, the road, and anything that impinged on the pristine beauty of the spot - my own presence excluded, of course.
Now, as a cyclist, I begrudge the road less, because it offers the possibility of someday climbing the thing. It's 7.5 miles, at an average of 12% grade. Ninety minutes of crawling up a hill. It sounds awful.
Oh, and, there's a $350 registration fee. That's a barrier.
I'll tell you what: pledge me some money. Help a kid who's not exactly flush with funds raise the scratch necessary to register next year. Wish me luck with the registration. I'll have to buy a compact crank and a cassette with, like, a twenty eight. Or more. Maybe a long-cage derailleur to accommodate all of that.
Help me raise the money, and I'll do it. Okay, I'm half requesting the money tongue-in-cheek - there are better places to which to donate your extra money. But someday I'll ride my damn bike up that mountain, up that final 22% pitch.
Good luck to the jerks who are doing it this weekend. I wish I was one of you.
Photo found on Bicykel.com.