Friday, May 22, 2015


Author:  Leon Matz

It was with huge relief to have day 2 and Mt. Washington in my rearview mirror. Whiteface Mountain is # 26 on the list and covers 3,566 ft. over 7.9 mi with an average grade of 8.6% and a max of 12%.  As I drove into town, huge signs were in place advertising a bike race on Saturday. I wish I could have stayed and watched or participated; but I have a race in Toronto on Sunday and can’t stay around. Wilmington NY is in northern NY and is about 20 miles from Lake Placid the site of two Winter Olympics.

Wanting to get to Toronto ASAP, I was up at 4:15 and on the bike at the first sight of light (4:45). I also wanted to get the ride going because they were repaving part of the road, and I didn’t want to get stopped from climbing.  This climb is more similar to climbs in Washington State (i.e.longer and more gradual gradient).   In addition to the aching of my muscles from the two previous days, I noticed that my HR was about 10 beats lower than it normally would be with this kind of effort. The road surface was smooth and consistent.  Except for a fairly strong head wind, the climb went fairly well. They have a cool castle at the top of the climb. I wish it had been open so I could explore!  The descent was pretty thrilling.  Summerson says that it is one of the fastest descents in the US (45mph in several sections) .

At the bottom, I asked a construction worker to take a picture of me and he graciously helped me out.  I HAD FINALLY COMPLETED SUMMERSON’S “100 TOUGHEST CLIMBS” – 6 YEARS OF WORK!!  I plan to total up the miles and the climbing feet for these 100 climbs when I get back.  It is with jubilation that I have completed this goal.

Leon after climbing Whiteface Mountain - the last climb in his quest to do the "100 Toughest Cycling Climbs in the  USA"...
After a change and a quick breakfast, I headed out on my 7 ½ our drive to Toronto.  Collingwood, a city 1:30 from Toronto in the Blue Mountains, was the site of this year’s UCI qualifier for Amateur Worlds which will be held in Denmark.  My drive was long and tiring.  I relied on my i-phone GPS to guide me.  So many turns it was incredible.  I could never had made it with just Mapquest directions and a map (although, at one point, the GPS directions took me on dirt roads for 20 some miles).  I kept thinking it had me lost and that I would run into a dead end soon.  Eventually, it took me back on major roads; but I was real concerned.  The highlight of the drive was seeing some Amish horse and buggy carts crossing the road.  I then found and Amish man selling baskets at the side of the road. Joshua was a very nice guy, and he was happy to pose at the side of my car. 

Leon's new friend, Joshua...

Day 4 post (racing in Toronto) still to come...

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