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Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 Tour of the California Alps - Death Ride

129 Miles
+15,000' of total climbing
3,000 cyclists

I don't have time now to post a full report of my first experience with The Tour of the California Alps - Death Ride. I may never if our schedule doesn't slow down soon.

I may post later with a few more details, or just throw a movie together and post that (Not that the movies take any less time...). I could summarize for now by saying... I finished all 5 passes.

I finished strong in 12 hours total - which translates into approx. 10.5 hours on the bike (deducting lunch and water stops, and time waiting at the top for friends to catch up). The descents - if I were to guess - averaged around 20 minutes each and provided sustained speeds of over 50 mph. That leaves approximately 9 hours spent climbing up or riding between the 5 mountain passes.

(We go up and over, then back up and over the first 2 passes, making 4 climbs, then climb the 5th pass and descend back down the way we came, claiming a sticker for each climb.)

Top of Monitor Pass (#1)

Look close and you can see eastern approach to Monitor pass snaking through the valley.

Back to top of Monitor Pass (#2)

Top of Ebbetts Pass (#3 & #4)

Top of Carson Pass (#5)
Turn your volume down. Lots of wind noise.

Our "group" (though we each pretty much rode our own pace) consisted of Milt, Kevin, Jeff, Vince, and myself. Becky and Ella came with me, and we all camped near Markleeville Friday night. We tuned up the bikes that evening, and left the campsite just after 4:00 am.

I owe a huge thanks to my cycling friends, who #1 talked me into signing up for the ride and #2, coached me into an excellent training regimen and ride day strategy.

Top of Carson Pass - It's all (Basically) downhill from here - where I managed a new top speed of 57mph


The weather was incredible, with only a short rain shower escaping over the mountains to cool us during the last 2 miles. Vince and I were met just shy of the finish by our women who had been waiting and cheering other riders till we came by and solicited hugs and kisses as the rain drops began to fall. The rain was quickly dispersed by the afternoon sun allowing us to enjoy the post ride meal, and ride back to the campground.

Heading for a much needed shower, before the 3.5 hour drive home.

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