“What was the hardest part of the ride?”
After “Why the heck did you do this?” it is the most popular question I receive about the ride.
I can’t pick one hard part so here are my top 3 hardest days:
1) The most physically and athletically demanding day of the entire ride was Bike Day 6. We climbed over Hayter’s Gap, Big A Mountain and finally Breaks Mountain at the VA/KY boarder. In this video http://vimeo.com/1836525, it took one idiot 10 min 22 sec to speed up and over the same Hayter’s pass in his BMW. I’m glad he was not on the road with us. Notice the comment “The elevation change is much more drastic than it looks in the video”. Also notice the switchbacks and switchbacks and switchbacks, oh my!
The weather gave us 2 other ridiculously challenging days.
2) Bike Day 29 we hit La Veta summit in the Colorado Rockies and got hit by freezing temperatures, freezing rain/sleet, and numb extremities. The mountain climbing was, dare I say, “easy” compared to the Appalachians, but I’d take some good HARD climbing over numb extremities any day.
3) On Bike Day 34 we rode from Red Mesa to Red Lake on the Indian Reservation in AZ. We faced the most significant headwind of the trip… plus heat plus zero shade (think blow-drying hair in a sauna for hours) equals dehydration. This was also a mentally frustrating day since the terrain was straight-as-an-arrow and flat but due to the headwind it was a struggle to even maintain 4mph – WHAT?!? We saw a Burger King sign in the distance for over an hour before finally reaching the town. I’m not sure how, but we logged 105 miles that day.