DURHAM, N.H. – Bicycling 100 miles through the White Mountains is an impressive feat for any cyclist. Doing so without the use of your legs approaches insanity. But that’s what Marlon Shepard, a senior at the University of New Hampshire, will do in early September, at the eighth annual Three Notch Century to benefit UNH’s Northeast Passage program.
Shepard, who lost the use of his legs in a fall, will ride a handcycle and join 300 cyclists, about 50 of them disabled, in New Hampshire’s White Mountains Sept. 9, 10 and 11, 2011. The ride tackles three scenic but grueling notches – Franconia, Crawford and the Kancamagus Highway – in one, two or three days. The event is designed for people of all abilities, including expert cyclists and people with disabilities.
“An amazing aspect of the Three Notch is that the range of ability and age of participants is incredibly vast. There are bike teams that do the entire century in one day and then there are 50-year-old paraplegics who do the century in three days, but they are still doing it!” says Shepard, for whom the ride serves as off-season training for Nordic skiing competition.
Three- and two-day rides start in Lincoln and cycle to the Flume and the State Forest Recreation Trail, nine miles of rolling hills that crisscross the Pemigewasset River to Profile Lake. After climbing through Franconia and Crawford notches (three-day riders will stay overnight at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center), cyclists cruise a speedy descent into North Conway, where they connect with the one-day cyclists for a celebration dinner at the North Conway Grand Hotel. All riders “crank the Kanc” on Sunday, with the one-day cyclists continuing through Franconia and Crawford notches and the two- and three-day riders stopping in Lincoln.
Sunday’s ride will mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks – particularly poignant for the disabled veterans who will ride – with a brief remembrance ceremony and American flags for all cyclists to attach to their bikes. Among the disabled veterans participating will be eight amputees from Great Britain and several from the Warfighters Sports group of Disabled Sports USA.
Northeast Passage is a program of the University of New Hampshire’s College of Health and Human Services and an affiliate of Disabled Sports USA. Northeast Passage develops and delivers innovative, barrier free recreation and health promotion programs. All proceeds from this event directly benefit Northeast Passage’s programs. The Three Notch Century is sponsored by Martin’s Point Health Care.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.
Photograph available to download: http://unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2010/aug/bp19nep.jpg
Caption: Tyler Walker of Franconia cycles in the Three Notch Century.
Credit: Steve McKinney, Big Dawg Images
Watch a video of the 2009 Three Notch Century: http://vimeo.com/12460747
Media Note: Northeast Passage staff and participants will be available all weekend for interviews and photo opportunities. On Friday, Sept. 9, we will be riding through the Franconia Notch recreation trail, past the Mount Washington Hotel to the Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center in Crawford Notch. Please contact us at 802-598-8542 for specific times and locations. B roll footage from previous years is available.