On August 2nd, Abram and I climbed Mt. Wachusett on the tandem. Both of us have biked this mountain on our single bikes, but this is the first time we attempted the assent on the tandem. We biked up over 2600 feet. (I know that we did much more climbing than that, but A's got that info. When he's back from his buisness trip I'll update this number.)
Actually, our ride began outside of the mountain area. It was a Sunday morning. The ride from our house is close to 55 miles. This was too long of a ride to do straight from the house and make it to church for 11:30. So we drove the car near the base of the mountain at a tiny breakfast place. It felt odd to drive with the bike in the car to begin our ride, but sometimes you have to do that! Most of our rides begin with a great down hill warm up. Our house is at a hight point in Shrewsbury. This means that all rides end in a tough uphill climb the last two plus miles.
This ride began right away with climbing. We have a hard time coordinating both of us standing at the same time. Our tandem is unique because our chains are not connected together. It is called independent crank system. Basically, I can pedal while Abram coasts and the reverse is true. Because of this, it is tricky to make sure both mine and his right feet are pedaling down together. We must be doing this coordination in order to stand up on the tandem together. This can get difficult for me to constantly keep track of so instead we would switch off who stood. Often I would get frustrated with how slow I felt we were going and stand to make us go faster. Abram has an advantage with his bike computer telling him elevation and what's coming up. I just see the speed and get impatient. I was happy with our success climbing the mountain. The result was a happy tandem couple!
Here we are at the summit.
I am wearing one of my favorite biking shirts. It says Bike Chick on it. There is a picture of a little chick (fuzzy yellow animal) sitting on a bike seat. While biking to this mountain I passed a female cyclist who yelled "Great shirt!"
The decent on any huge hill is always scary for me. I am grateful that Abram has the controls. I often use the breaks too much and this actually makes it scarier on steep decents. As a cyclist decending the mountain is about speed and enjoying a small recovery from all the hard work. This is contrasted with the cars who are driving the same route, but are slow and site seeing. We passed two cars on the decent. No worries, they pull over a bit while I said "on your left". Abram is actually more cautious with me on the back. I prefer to be with him so he doesn't take too many risks!
The ride back to the car was fast. We ate a small meal at the breakfast place and made it to mass on time with the kids.