This was by far the most challenging ride I have ever done in my whole life. That I am sure of. I finished with 77.6 miles of over 5,200 feet of climbing in sub 30 Degree weather the entire time at an average speed of 16.4mph. It was extremely difficult to keep my legs moving for the last 10 miles and my feet were completely numb by mile 15. Here is a link to the route, plus an extra 6 miles that I did because I got lost in the end:
As the link says there was a 12.6% max gradient, and that was on Mt. Weather. Before we got to Mt. Weather there was a 10 mile tempo ride with huge rolling hills. There were 6 leaders in the front, consisting of Chuck Hutcheson, Robbie Wade, Jared Neiters, and a couple guys who used to be pro. Then, 100 meters back was me. Then 50 meters back was the 25 or so person group that I guess you would call the peloton. And thats how it was the entire time, a few times I got really close to the break away group and a couple times the peloton caught me and drafted off me. But I was never drafting, which is exactly what I wanted, thats not how you get better.
After that there was a 5 minute rest and we were off again to head towards Mt. Weather, only about 10 riders went together and I was one of them. The beginning of the mountain is a menacing 10% 1 mile long climb. Robbie won the climb so shout out to him! I got 6th which I thought was a very respectful place to come in on such a trying climb with such experienced riders. I'll never forget this ride. I'm not sure how the rest of my week is looking yet, but it will definitely be a very relaxed "off" week for me.