Hell Of Hunterdon Ride Recap

Hell Of Hunterdon Ride Recap

Team Sixcycle-RK&O was spread far and wide for Easter weekend, with riders taking in some training on the infamous Devil’s Kitchen, others racing at Branchbrook, a few at Brinkerhoff and finally two team members riding at the Hell of Hunterdon ride in New Jersey.

Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s Michael Nelson filed in this ride report from the Hell of Hunterdon, which covered nearly 80 miles (a significant portion on dirt roads) with some 6,000 ft of climbing.

Hell of Hunterdon Ride Report by Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s Michael Nelson

Ollie Davis and I set out for the hills and country roads of Lambertville, NJ early Saturday morning. We were in search of gravel, punchy hills, and long country vistas… L’Enfer d’Hunterdon was billed as a prime tune-up for our early season goal, Tour of Battenkill. Approximately 20% of the course traversed gravel roads, upwards of 5,700 feet of climbing, sprinkled across 77 miles of beautiful country roads.

We arrive at registration and the area is buzzing with activity. Volunteers assisting with numbers and sign-in while dozens of eager riders prep their equipment for the great unknown… 500 plus riders are registered for this adventure. The weather is perfect, a stark contrast to last year’s edition, which took place in wet, near-freezing conditions…

Eager to get a good position at the start line, we quickly gather our thoughts and our gear. Following a few “call-ups” the ride is on. We set off through the small town and make our way to the country roads… Hard and fast, we hit the first sectors of gravel. Riding a road bike through gravel roads is hard enough, but add in some monster pot holes, banked turns, and narrow foot bridges, and we are in for some nail biting fun!

Reading my power file after the race confirmed my faint recollection of the first 1.5 hours of the ride. Hard, power climbs, and lots of jarring gravel roads. A group formed during this period that seemed hell-bent on staying away from the rest of the entrants. It seemed like it was full gas, and the race was on…

Another nice feature of this event was two well-stocked feed stations. The first being at mile 36, this gave the group a nice carrot to work towards. Also, the group worked very well together taking pulls and sharing the work. It seemed like we were benefiting from our earlier effort. A smooth, consistent, collaborative effort…

After the first feed station, we coursed through the countryside and passed well preserved examples of early American architecture. Lambertville and its surrounding environs are a sight to be seen. Coincidentally, this is one of the many qualities of riding my bike. It takes me to picturesque new locations…

But as one might expect, the time to reflect on the history of our ride was slowly drowned out by the pain, bone jarring, and seemingly non stop rolling hills…

And along the way, we start shedding riders, and the pace ticks up, and we continue to shed baggage… Although the ride is billed as just that, a challenging ride, the competitive spirits simmer to the top and we make the most out of the beautiful conditions.

After the last feed zone, we immediately enter one of the final sectors of gravel, pot holes, twists, turns, climbs and descents. Approximately mid-way through, a junior and I separate from the field and power through this section and onto the pavement. I look back and it appears that just two riders are bridging. Being older, and wiser (of course) I suggest that we let these guys latch on and then we make a go for it…

Shoot! another junior, and from the same team… But Rod Millott from Foundation also made the bridge. Maybe some CRCA teamwork??? perhaps…

Then the two youngsters make a run for it… And boy did they lay it down. Rod and I managed to maintain the gap within smelling distance, but the lads were working well together… Eventually, and only after reaching the slower town streets, did the four of us group up. We rolled into the finish area and we were proud of our effort. We did it, and I think we did it right…

We were also the first to try the tasty brew on tap. Ollie and I enjoyed some delicious pasta, a couple beers, and some good laughs as the riders started trickling in. Lots of smiling faces, and many more tails of journeys to Hell and back…

The event was a success for the larger group of riders that achieved their goals. I think Ollie and I also achieved our goals. I say bring on Battenkill, bring it and all the gravel roads it will throw at us. I am ready, our team is ready…

Hell of Hunterdon Website

http://www.hellofhunterdon.com/

Hell of Hunterdon Pictures

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About Team Sixcycle-RK&O

Team Sixcycle-RK&O is a team of New York City based racers that compete throughout the east coast across a variety of terrain and race formats.