I’ve got some thinking to do after this one.

The hill climb in 2014 was my last one. I mean, my last one ever. What got me to the top that day was thinking that would be the last time I ever raced on this mountain.

Each year I receive an invitation from the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb to sign up. And each year I ignore it. But having lost 40+ pounds last year I felt stronger and faster than I have been in years. I was feeling it.

The race did not take place last year and this year they were hopeful it could with a reduced sized field. It would be without the big tent and podium. No spectators. No medals. And the conditions seemed to change as the date came closer. I wasn’t 100% sure I would travel to New England until I left on Wednesday.

Mt. Washington Auto Road – the day before the race

I did not have a ride down which is required so I posted on a Facebook page for either a ride down or a driver (of my car) up. Samantha sent me a text and we were all set.

I went to registration at 4:00 p.m. yesterday then set up my bike with the number plate (#218), helmet stickers, and timing chip. I put the bib on my jersey, It was the most prepared I have ever been for an event. I was feeling it.

I was wearing my bright red Roosters Racing t-shirt and a guy saw that and asked if we (Roosters) were based in San Diego. I told him we could be. It turned out that he did a ride with Jim Ray (“Jambo”) a few years ago.

Notice the photo of Phil Gaimon in the Number Four

Samantha and Troy showed up along with Duncan, their dog. I gave Sam a bag of clothes for the summit along with my rider ticket so they could drive to the summit. I then headed back to North Conway for dinner and an early night, although it wasn’t that early.

I was up at 5:30 a.m. and got breakfast at the Hampton Inn & Suites. I drove out to the Auto Road and arrived by 7:15. I talked to the driver of the car beside mine, Jon, until Sam arrived.

Mt Washington from Pinkham Notch Road (Hwy 16)
The summit is straight ahead where the cloud meets the mountain.

Samantha found me and took my phone because I asked her to take some photos at the top. Looking at my starting time (8:50), I told her that I hoped to be there around 10:30. I would be way off.

I was expecting the temperature to be chilly at the start although I had not checked the weather. No arm warmers were necessary. My warmup was a ride out on Hwy 16. I started towards Wildcat ski station. When I reached 1.5 miles I turned around. I felt good but didn’t want to put unnecessary climbing in my legs before the race. I knew with three miles (out and back) that my total today would be around 11 miles. That would be enough.

It was fun chatting with other riders today, first at Glen House and then in the queue for the race. One guy said he had ridden this “35 or 40 times,” although some of those were unsanctioned in the 80s. Another guy wore a Stelvio jersey and we talked about Passo Stelvio. Another wore a green MWARBH jersey similar to the one I have but it appeared to be without a date. And he said he thought they used the design twice. I saw a guy on an Elliptigo – which is basically an elliptical machine on two wheels. It did not look like he had any super low gear and the event photos show him walking. Assume he made it but probably more walking than elliptical machine.

Bernie Ryan
He did a ride with Jambo a few years ago

For the first time, at the start of the race, I was in front of the bridge. Usually, I was on but most often, behind the bridge. I was probably in the third or fourth row although we were all loosely scattered. Our pre-race communications stated that masks would be worn at the start and at the finish. I did not see a single mask all day.

The cannon went off. One guy remarked “I hate that” (loud sound). We rolled out on the only flat section past the toll station. No one in our last group appeared to sprint to the hill about 200 meters away. In fact, I coasted.

Once on the climb, it was a pretty quick grouping. Some riders went to the front. Some stayed way behind. I was near the front but made no effort to stay with them. More or less I was in “no man’s land” the entire race. I do not recall anyone from behind after the first couple hundred yards catching and passing me.

Jersey ready to go

I came in hoping for a PR today. I weighed less than I ever did going up the mountain (unless in 2009 I was at 175). With Strava Live Segments I was getting live feedback. Almost immediately I was 10 seconds down. I thought that might be due to coasting on the flat section. Then I was 20 seconds down. And it was growing. I was not keeping pace with the old me – the former me. Although it was early in the race I knew that was a bigger problem. I would not be gaining that time back.

It was hot. My Wahoo was showing 85º which felt to be accurate. I was sweating profusely. And those are the days I have problems with cramping. I hadn’t thought to prepare for dehydration other than I told one rider at the start that the heat made the decision on how much water to bring easy – both bottles or as much as you can carry.

MWARBH Dirt Section
Source: Phil Gaimon’s Worst Retirement Ever (YouTube), 2017
This is where I crashed in 2008

Some, many, or most of the yellow group were already up the road. Still ahead were pink and green as well as the blue and red groups, each five minutes ahead of the other. I caught a couple of greens and a couple of pinks. That’s hard to imagine since I rode so poorly.

I was truly by myself. I must have been gaining (slowly) on some even slower riders because I thought the visual of a couple of them on a crest was beautiful. I thought maybe I should have my phone/camera although not sure if I could handle it while climbing.

MWARBH Dirt Section
Source: Phil Gaimon’s Worst Retirement Ever (YouTube), 2017

I had taken a drink and altered my pace slightly to replace the bottle in the cage. And I felt a twinge in the hamstring. I knew then I was dehydrating and cramping. It was also when I saw the only photographer on course. I needed to switch bottles and held the empty one by my teeth while I reached down and moved the full one to the front cage. The photographer caught me with a bottle in my teeth. There was nothing I could have done other than take my empty bottle and roll it towards him. I didn’t. I’m no pro. I just let him snap away. I saw the picture. It wasn’t pretty.

Another view of the last curve – MWARBH 2021

Around the five-mile mark, I turned the corner and could see a long stretch of dirt ahead. And I could see a number of riders. It wasn’t so much that I caught anyone, it’s just that I could see maybe a quarter of a mile up the road, the only time all day I could do this. I focused on two riders who looked to be pushing their bikes. It must have taken me 12-15 minutes to catch and pass them. And they were pushing their bikes. I even told them it took me 12-15 minutes – they were walking about as fast as I was riding.

MWARBH Dirt Section
Source: Phil Gaimon’s Worst Retirement Ever (YouTube), 2017
This is near the beginning of the dirt section

At the six-mile curve, I turned the corner and thought that sure is steep. I think it’s 18%. I was expecting a photographer here but there wasn’t one. But the road was steep and the surface was quite hard, almost like granite. Rough granite to be sure.

Phil Gaimon – This appears to be Six-Mile Curve
Source: Phil Gaimon’s Worst Retirement Ever (YouTube), 2017

Then I heard the train. Damn! “We’re late,” I told one rider as I was passing him. In the past, I always ended with the train in the station. It sure makes for a nice photo. But the train was on schedule and I was not. It left the station before I arrived.

In the last mile, I must have passed 6-8 riders. I did not get passed by anyone. The last mile seemed easy and that is relative, of course. But fighting cramps, it was easier in this section to find the sweet spot and keep going.

Steve Liming, 68, Scottsdale, Arizona
Finish by Walking. But he made it.

I saw the final climb to the finish line. I was alone and was greeted by lots of cheers. “You’re doing great!” (I knew better – but anyone who can climb this, well, they deserve cheers). I’ve been up this seven times before so I knew I could do it again. I would have told you that I stood “out of the saddle” until the last 20 yards but the photos tell a different story – the truth.

It gets steep here (22%) – MWARBH 2021
Source: Joe Viger Photography

At the top, Sam was on the inside corner with my phone. I was both disgusted at my performance and wanted a good photo op. So I smiled for my camera (but not for the race photographer).

I rolled across the finish line. Once clear by 10 meters or so there was a stopping area. I put a foot down but couldn’t move. I knew if I swung my leg over the top tube that I would cramp severely. I leaned down on the handlebars, careful not to call it slumping. A volunteer came over and put a blanket on me. Although I was soaked, I did not need it. It was 57º at the summit with a gentle breeze (10 mph). Another volunteer, or maybe the same person, brought me my medal and said she was going to just hang it on my bike, apparently thinking I was too weak to lift my head. I took what seemed like a long time but was probably no more than two, maybe three, minutes to catch my breath and get off the bike.

Last corner and 15 meters of climbing left – MWARBH 2021
Source: Joe Viger Photography

Sam brought my phone to me and then encouraged me to stand in the line on the hillside to get a photo at the summit sign. That took a while but she was waiting down by the finish line. We walked down the many steps to the lower parking lot. I loaded my bike next to that of Jen Murphy. I was most worried about the drive down – for cramps.

Eighth time up the mountain – MWARBH 2021

I was OK riding in the car. We pulled into the parking area. I opened the door in the Tesla and stood up. Then it hit me. A cramp in the left hamstring and buttocks. It hurt so bad. I tried to find a position to relieve it but finally collapsed to the grass. I was only down for about 60 seconds or so when the cramp passed. Sam helped me up and Jen gave me some electrolytes.

I was able to unload the bike and put it in the car. I was still in my sweaty bib shorts and was able to change out of them before the drive home. I just wanted to avoid cramping on the drive.

Almost to the finish

Actually, once I settled in I don’t think anyone passed me after Mile 3. But no one started after our group and all the stronger riders were already up the road.

I saw many paperboying the climb. I did not intentionally but there were times my wheel just seemed to changed directions. At times I had a hard time holding a straight line. But it was a matter of a few feet, not back and forth across the road.

I thanked every volunteer on course on the climb. It seemed at each mile marker there was a volunteer with a clipboard checking off each race number.

I don’t have good heartrate data since I did a 3-mile warmup ride and it is included in the data file. If I would do this again I need to just have a file for this climb. Maybe for RideWithGPS I will split the file and get a better look but keep it the same in Strava.

Maybe because of the cramping it was the second most tired I was at the finish. Or third. First was 2008 when I went up in regular gearing. The second may have been 2009 (PR) but I don’t remember being exhausted as much as I couldn’t unclip. And then today.

Barry, Sam Shipman, Troy

The original name of this blog was IBikedMtWashington. I guess it should have been IClimbedMtWashington except there are lots of hikers who also climb Mt. Washington. And I met a few of them today.

I was pleased they had the Polartek blankets at the summit. However, unlike years 2007-2014, they did not have the MWARBH and the Year on them.

Weight: 175 lbs*


I was sad that I did not have my trusty Trek Pilot. Instead, I rode my 2021 Trek Checkpoint Gravel Bike. It is aluminum which makes it heavier than my Pilot.

It comes stock with a 30/45t front derailleur. And I changed the rear cassette to 11:40 giving me a 30:40 climbing ratio.

I put the Domane’s lighter-weight front wheel on the bike. The weight of the bike is 22.42 pounds.


When I first came to the mountain in 2007 matching lone riders with drivers was easy. Or easier. The event came with a pasta dinner at registration and there was an area for drivers without riders (offering rides) and cyclists needing a ride. Sometime around 2010 the pasta dinner was replaced by a coupon good for a meal at a local restaurant and the matching process went online. There was no food coupon this year.

*I really don’t know about this weight. I had lost 40+ pounds through the end of 2020. I was religiously weighing in every day but then settled into a lifestyle where I felt comfortable. Whereas I may have stepped on the scale occasionally, I no longer recorded it. My last recorded weight was on March 25, 2021, weighing in at 168 pounds. I’m guessing I weighed 175 but maybe I was 180 or 185. But that was a good guess. I really wish I had been recording my weight since my first attempt in 2007.



On my way to Mount Washington, New Hampshire, I was looking to stop the day before a little short of North Conway, mainly so as not to pay North Conway prices. I arrived last night and found a Papa Gino’s where I ordered a pasta dish thinking that would help me on the climb tomorrow.

Abandoned rail in Concord. I don’t think this is part of the railcar adventure.

I stayed at the Tru by Hilton which was a very nice property. It had rained hard overnight and I was hoping this rain would not doom the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb on Saturday. But the afternoon looked good although it was a very gray day in Concord. But I had plenty of time and it wasn’t raining. I asked the young lady at the front desk for routes. She asked if I wanted hills and I told her I did not. With a big climb tomorrow I did not need to ride hills today.

I had looked for rail-trails in the area but found none. I scouted the area briefly last night but didn’t see much. The only rail-trail riding I found was a rail car adventure where one can pedal a railcar on an actual railroad (abandoned). I didn’t think that was good to do the day before the race. Maybe next time.

Scenic Railriders, Concord, New Hampshire
(Photo –
Used without permission but I’m advertising for your business)

I headed downtown having been warned that this was the weekend for the Market Days Festival. Since they didn’t open until 10:00, I asked a volunteer if I could bike through the market area. She waved me through and said, “Welcome to Concord.”

Market Days Festival in Concord

I was exploring completely on feel. While I can create routes and upload those to Wahoo, I need a private WiFi connection (home) to upload it. So I didn’t try.

Market Days Festival in Concord, NH

At the end of town, I wanted to cross the river and it looks like I found myself on Interstate-393. Oops. I did not see a sign restricting usage but knew I did not want to be there. I was able to turn around and find a safer route.

Merrimack River (Loudon Road Bridge)

It was a short ride. Just enough to loosen my legs. Arriving back I had to negotiate through the cars that were backed up off the highway waiting to go through the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts. The Pacific Northwest has its love affair with coffee and long lines at coffee kiosks. And New England has their love affair with Dunkin Donuts.

A Mystical Ride


Over the winter I sketched out a cancer ride with a ride in every state. It did not come to fruition, yet, but this ride was on my Wahoo. I was traveling from home to Mount Washington, New Hampshire, and had time to try this ride from Mystic, Connecticut into Rhode Island at the town of Waverly.

Barn Island Wildlife Management Area
Stonington, Connecticut

There was one thing I did not account for. The weather. There was a huge swath of rain from Long Island to Boston. It was following me. It had rained overnight where I stayed in Norwich. The forecast did not show any breaks all day in the rain and I was resigned to riding in the rain somewhere. But I saw a possibility. There seemed to be a window of opportunity around 10:30 for about an hour, maybe two. So I went for it.

On paper, I envisioned a grassy beach area near the sound. In reality, it was very wooded and buggy too. I was getting bit up by mosquitoes when I wasn’t riding.

One man’s home is his castle

I parked in the Barn area. The parking at the sound was reserved for boats and trailers although, on this gray and rainy day, no one was parked here.

I took a somewhat country road. It was part country and part suburbs. On the Connecticut side, I briefly rode next to the Pawcatuck River. I missed the one photo op thinking I would have a better one. I didn’t. The rain started.

The Sound at Barn Island, Stonington, Connecticut

I crossed the river and entered Westerly, Rhode Island. The rain picked up. I was following my route through town but I was in town. And it wasn’t fun anymore. The roads were wet. I was wet. On a sunny day, I would have continued to Watch Hill, and if I’m back here again I will need to try that. But not in the rain. Not today.

Westerly, Rhode Island

I turned around and was anxious to see how my new Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt would handle the directions I mapped out. Would it continually try to put me back on route or understand I was headed back? Answer: It adjusted and put me on course to go back to my car.

Two castles

The long way, about six miles, would be to retrace the road I had come from along the Pawcatuck River. Or at 2.5 miles, I could take South Broad Street / Stonington Road. I chose short.

On another day I would have gone long even though cyclists seem to have an aversion to out-and-back or retracing our routes. We prefer loops. But I chose the shortest way to minimize my time in the rain. But Stonington Road is a two-lane road, no shoulders, and pretty busy. It was not a fun ride.

Had it been a sunny day, I think I would have liked this ride. I’m not sure about the Rhode Island portion because I didn’t ride much. I would try it again to Watch Hill and then decide if it really is too sketchy. But it felt good to break up the driving today by riding in two states.

The End of Father Time (Posts, that is)


No fewer than six times have I worried enough to blog about Father Time. He is, after all, undefeated. But why worry?

Last week I rode from Geistown (Johnstown) to Rossiter and was worried that I might not be as fast as I was on a ride 11 years ago. After controlling for similar segments (East Conemaugh to Arcadia), I concluded that I went at least the same speed. And if I parsed it further, stopping when I reached Northern Cambria then resuming when I left, I think I was faster last week than I was 11 years ago when I first rode this.

Kirspy Kreme, Belsano, Pa.

Today I had the realization that it doesn’t matter. Sometime, someday, Father Time will catch up with me. And so what?

I parked at the Kia dealership in Geistown (with permission) and headed down Scalp Avenue. I went straight through Johnstown, not electing for photo ops over by the Inclined Plane. When I came to East Conemaugh, my first timed segment began. I was 20 seconds or so up on my best time when it quit giving me feedback about halfway up the climb. I just continued the pace.

Northern Cambria, Pa.

Confirmation of a PR would have to wait until I uploaded my data to Strava. I needed 14:09 (2010) and came in at 13:20. It was good for #1 age group (an age group of two – apparently not many cyclists my age attempt this road and this climb).

The next two climbs “Don’t wanna go to school” and “Station Road Climb” forced me to quickly sit up. Although on the former I got my second best time and on the latter, I became the “local legend” (with two attempts in the past 90 days). Not only aren’t too many people my age riding this route, apparently not too many cyclists of any age ride out here.

Water stop at Sheetz, Northern Cambria, Pa.

Last week I smoked the segment from Belsano to Duman Lake (11:08 – KOM). Today I came in two minutes later. I rode yesterday in Virginia in 95º heat and it drained my resources. I had nothing left for today. Not expecting much on Blue Goose Climb to Nicktown I grabbed a PR (6:49), taking seven seconds off my PR of last week. That moved me up one place (to sixth) and kept me at #1 age group, being the only one in my age group.

Northern Cambria, Pa.

The temperature today was around 70º and very overcast. My shoes seemed to be constantly wet and I wasn’t sure if there was water coming off my front tire or I was dripping that much sweat (and I was). Right after Nicktown came the descent to Northern Cambria. This is untimed by Strava Live Segments so I rode reasonably hard. But I didn’t feel like I put in the KOM effort of last weekend and I was right. At 5:32 it was my second-best effort but was 0:14 off my mark from last week.

In Northern Cambria, I went to say hello to cousins Don and Nancy but it didn’t look like they were home. So I went to Sheetz. Filled my bottles with ice, bought a $0.99 bottle of water, topped them off, and headed to Cherry Tree.

Yinz Bar, Cherry Tree, Pa.

The roads turn “heavy” here and the road at Stifflertown had new tar and chips although I could ride it with no problems. Just not fast. I set a new best time for Stifflertown to Arcadia, even soft-pedaling near the end. I was chased by a big dog – couldn’t tell you what breed.

Then I headed off for Smithport. Arcadia to Trojan Road is not available for Live Segments as it is a slight downhill. Nor was I racing it – more Just Riding Along. But I set a PR (KOM) of 5:32 which was 0:04 better than last week.

I turned on Trojan Road and here is where the road turns up. And I was 7-8 seconds ahead of the Arcadia to Smithport segment. I maintained that lead until I turned off Trojan Road onto Williams Road and the climb. If the road turns up at Trojan Road, it turns up in anger at Williams Road. Less than one-half mile in length, I lost 27 seconds to last week’s KOM effort. And I figured then I had no chance at the larger Arcadia to Smithport segment. But I saw I was bringing the time back and finished in 20:32 which was 19 seconds better than in 2014.

Visiting Dad

Leaving Smithport I was riding in a very light rain although it would last for only about five minutes. Rather than go straight to the (Lowmaster) Reunion, I turned and went up Church Road to Fairview Cemetery. There I visited my dad’s grave. I am sure he approved.

But the short route to the reunion at Winebark Park also took me on dirt, gravel, and chip and tar road (almost all chips). Plus the entrance in and out of the park is dirt or grass so I gave up a lot of time there.

Tyger Road, Rossiter, Pa.

Unlike last week I did not care what my time was. And I am never going to worry about my time now compared to 10 years ago. There will be a time when I can’t produce the power or speed I did 10 years ago. But I am on a bike. And looking at my age group, I am doing things now that very few people my age are doing. So I am thankful for any speed. I am on a bike. I am finding peace.

Father Time is Undefeated


Father Time is Undefeated. I hear that more than I need to but perhaps mostly from Ron Cook on KDKA-The Fan. While accepting that premise I also want to believe I can delay ‘ole Father Time.

I seem to be measuring my rides on average speed. Throughout much of 2021, my rides have mirrored what I did 10-11 years ago (which is basically when I really started tracking such things using GPS). And then there is this ride, Somerset to Punxsutawney. I averaged 16 mph in 2010 and have never gotten back to it. Is Father Time winning?

Parking at Team Kia, Geistown

About today: I parked at Team Kia in Giestown (with permission). From there it is a five-mile descent to Johnstown before the real ride begins. This is the first ride I have done using Strava Live Segments so I had targeted some segments to “race” today.

Downtown Johnstown

The first was the climb out of Johnstown that begins in East Conemaugh. And it did not come in. So I rode the climb at tempo but never going too deep. The result was my second best time (14:30) which was only surpassed by my ride in 2010 (14:09). I am pretty confident that I could have squeezed out 21 seconds if I knew my progress. So this may have been a win.

Inclined Plane, Johnstown

I was plagued throughout my ride with Live Strava Segments that did not appear where I expected them. This evening I figured out why. I had a new Wahoo and did not set it up with Wifi to connect with my mother’s Wifi. So any segments I set up or selected (starred) yesterday did not sync when I selected sync. Operator error.

Conemaugh River, Johnstown

I had a surprise segment in Vinco (PR) but could not get the Station Road Climb segment in Twin Rocks. That was set on a dedicated ride three years ago in which my goal was a PR. And in 2018 it was also near the beginning of my ride.

Morning overlooking Johnstown (from Geistown, Scalp Ave.)

I knew I would PR the four-mile segment from Belsano to Duman Lake. That was 12:32 (2010). I knew I would have to go hard and I saw I was on pace for the KOM (11:08). In the last mile, I went from being 4-5 seconds ahead to being 1-2 seconds down.

Conemaugh River, Johnstown, Pa.

I buried myself pushing the pace. Finally, I saw the time – 11:09 PR. Missed it by one second. What an effort. Then I told myself that what I saw was a provisional time and maybe once uploaded I would gain one second. I was shocked when that actually happened. And I was even more shocked to see that the KOM was 11:09 and not 11:08 which I was fixated on. I got a well-earned KOM. This segment can best be described as a time trial segment more than a sprint or a climb.

I went reasonably deep for a PR on the Blue Goose climb to Nicktown and got it. And I also got a KOM on the downhill from Nicktown to Northern Cambria. But only by six seconds and since this is not a Live Segment (more than -0.25% grade), I could only hope that pedaling the entire way would earn those seconds.

Winebark Park, Rossiter, Pa.

In Northern Cambria, I stopped at Don & Nancy’s house even while figuring they were out of town. Then I headed to Sheetz. I filled my bottles with ice then bought water from their cooler.

Northern Cambria, Pa.

In Cherry Tree, I passed the fair Cherry Tree Days where a banner proudly displays ALWAYS THE FIRST WEEKEND IN AUGUST. Trying to keep a good pace I did not slow or stop to take a photo.

Cherry Tree VFD

Here the ride gets tougher. It’s all up and down (mostly up) and the roads are “heavy.” I did set a KOM on the Williams Road climb but I am the only cyclist who ever recorded and uploaded to Strava on that road. I was getting tired and by the time I did the last stretch to the “Crossroads” (which is where my great-grandfather, John T. States, lived, I was toast. Done.

Corinne and Barry. When you attend the family reunion and find someone else wore your outfit.

It is time now for reflection. Maybe chasing segments left me more drained than just riding along. Or maybe Father Time is reminding me, Father Time is Undefeated.

Reflection time. I wanted to look at the average speed over time. It ranged from 14.0 to 16.4. I am convinced that I had a strong tailwind in 2010 which helped me achieve the 16.4 speed. That was one week after I posted 14.3.

Today’s ride of 15.4 was almost my second best (which was 15.5). I’m thinking I sucked but that’s almost the best time in 10 years.

Weather certainly affected some rides as I was caught in heavy rains a couple of times. I also think, strangely enough, that the longer rides starting in Friedens or Somerset were a bit easier in that they had 15-20 additional miles that trended downhill to Johnstown whereas stating in Geistown is almost starting in Johnstown.

Sheetz, Northern Cambria

Using the ride in 2010 where I averaged 16.4 mph, RideWithGPS shows the average grade was 0.7% Compared to today’s Geistown ride which was 1.2%. So that could explain most of the one mph difference between the two. Of course, so could competing for KOM segments. I was drained after the segment to Duman Lake and it wasn’t too long before I had to start the Blue Goose Climb. Ending in Nicktown it was only one mile before the descent to Northern Cambria. So chasing segments may have been an overall negative. But getting a higher speed on the segment may have helped out. Who knows?


Another factor that is hard to quantify is rest. Yesterday I set four PRs climbing over Ray’s Hill tunnel in Breezewood. My legs felt like Jell-O to start. So how the legs feel leading up to the ride, nutrition both prior to plus while on and off the bike, weather (heat and rain), will all be a factor in how I ride. Plus age – but it doesn’t look like that’s a factor here.

And maybe the final factor is the amount of time I spent sightseeing or stopping to take photos. Today I did not just motor through Johnstown but turned and went over to the Inclined Plane. Likewise, in Northern Cambria, I went to the Lowmaster’s house then went to Sheetz, making a couple of U-turns in the process. No hurry at all. In 2010 I went straight through Johnstown with no sightseeing stops and the same for Northern Cambria. Today’s sightseeing added 1.5 miles but also took 18 minutes. Adding that to the 2010 trip and my average speed would have dropped to 15.8.

I’m not sure what it means but I will include heart rate. Today my average was 136 bpm. My high HR was 174 which was on my “time trial” from Belsano to Duman Lake. Looking back 11 years my HR was 132 bpm and my max was 166 which was on the climb out of Glen Campbell (I missed a turn). I think this is inconclusive. An out of shape rider may have a higher HR than someone in shape. Or if one works harder than the other that could also be a factor. But the work rate as measured by HR was about the same. Maybe I need power meters?

One other comparison. From the bridge in East Conemaugh to Trojan Road (Arcadia/Glen Campbell). It is 41 miles. Both times took me 172 minutes (2:52) at an average of 14.4 mph (it trends uphill beginning with the climb out of Johnstown). Looking at this metric, I rode the same today as I did in 2010 which was my best time ever. And maybe, just maybe, if you take out the eight minutes in Northern Cambria today riding over to Sheetz, then I rode better today.

Also looking at this metric, maybe I didn’t have a great tailwind in 2010. Maybe that was the standard and I matched it today, some 11 years later.

When I did not come close to my 2010 speed I was bummed. But looking closer, I posted a good speed today for the Appalachian Mountains. The difference between total speed between 2021 and 2010 can mostly be explained by the sightseeing component and some by eliminating the long time trending downhill by starting in Friedens.

Father Time is coming for me – but maybe not as fast as I feared. Back off Jack!