"its early, don't talk to me"
a couple weeks back, yours truly - hoffenchard ambassador of the western states - rode the tour of the California Alps with a few other goons: Roy, the always tardy Costa Rican & old man Reve, pseudo-coach and general dominator. this is the recap for those who missed it. which would be just about everyone who might happen upon this blog. sorry, its long - i had a lot of free time this evening.
july 12. early start . . . really early. wheels rolling at 5:30am. i know a few hoff members who can't even picture what the world looks like at 5:30am, unless it was coming in from a really good night at ArtBar. dark, then the lightest purples of dawn. left turtle rock (not to be confused with fraggle rock) state park headed for Markleeville, the cold air biting at the fingertips. quickly through Mville (5501') and out some flat roads to start the first climb - Monitor Pass. make the turn onto hwy89 and 9 ft into the climb the lucky Costa Rican gets a flat. wonderful. a sign of things to come? lets hope not.
lets get back to climbing . . . about 8 miles of it. sun coming up, arm warmers dropping, vest unzipped and flying, sweat beginning to find its way to the surface. 7am - up top (8314') and feeling great. regroup and start descending towards Topaz Lake. bombing downhill on twisty pavement winding its way down to the desert floor (5040') at mile 25. pass a sea of people. at the bottom, refuel with water and various Hammer products and find my riding partners and get the F out. too many folks, chaos. start climbing back up that 10 mile descent. get into a pace, start conversation and just ride. still feeling prime. back up to 8314' and back down in no time. 2 passes down, 3 to go. the sun is up, early morning light bouncing off the mountains with a golden glow. simply amazing. nothing but the jagged peaks of the sierra, 360 degree panorama.
turn onto hwy4 (5500') sometime around 9am and head out the 12 mile climb to Ebbetts Pass. long, twisty and narrow, Ebbetts is probably the most spectacular of the passes - for both the actual climbing and the scenery. following a canyon out for half of the climb, the 3 of us chillin out to the sounds of the river and chatting of the day still left ahead of us. then things get pushed into high gear as you hit some 10% & 12% grade, your heart sitting somewhere just below your adam's apple as you try to control your breathing. boom, Ebbetts (8730') done. 3 passes down and about 55 miles in the saddle. still feeling stout.
zip down the backside to Hermit Valley (7000') where i witnessed to coolest thing on the ride. arriving to the valley all doped up on personal serotonin and HEED i happen to lay my eyes upon what i first thought to be a just a vision, a mere hallucination. there i saw a group of 4-5 riders fully kitted under the team name "GRUNDEL BRUISERS". i rubbed my eyes, focused again to find that i wasn't dreaming! at first wildly amused, then a bit upset at the fact that we hadn't come up with such an obvious and amazing team name. kudos, and keep on bruisin' you mighty Grundel Bruisers.
regroup with the posse and start turning pedals up Ebbetts' backside. up top again (8730') and starting the super tight descent requiring full concentration, especially with all the other yahoos still ascending and most times not paying attention to the riders barreling down on them at 50mph. drop down and catch a little lunch around mile 77 or so.
after lunch we start a 3 man attack over rolling terrain to make time on the way to Woodfords (5800'), which is the start of our climb to Carson Pass - the last pass of the day. pace picks up, pull, rest, rest, pull, rest, rest, pull. you know the deal. anywhos, we pick up a train of folks, 10 or so, and everyone starts helping out. sweet. we're flying, or at least it felt like it compared to going uphill all day. the pace proved to be a little hot and we had to jump out of our own party to find Roy who had slipped away OTB.
we find our little (actually large) Roy and he admits that he is starting to feel it. we have put in some miles, done a bit of climbing and the temp is hot. well, we only have one more pass . . . too bad its about 16 miles to the top. we stay together for some time, the three amigos, maybe 4-5 miles. Roy decides its time for him to just survive the last pass, Reve stays back and i head on. what a freakin' grind up the endless Carson Pass (8580'). made it in time to enjoy a Crunch ice cream bar and chill in the shade, watching for Roy and Reve to appear.
the sky is starting to change . . . clouds, and the temps are cooling off. shit, storms. thunder rolling in from a distance. its time to get this thing over. 20 miles left from the top of Carson Pass back to the start line. we're out. about 3 miles down from the top the rain starts. not drizzle, more like someone turned on the faucet. fat drops and a lot of them. then a minute later i'm almost knocked out by hail coming through my helmet vents. fuck, that hurts at 35mph. continue riding past folks sheltering the storm under tree branches. soaking wet, still descending a road that i can barely see through my rain splattered glasses - i feel like a badass, even if just for a second. i wish the posse could have been there, actually for the whole ride but at least for that moment, riding en mass in the pouring rain down some mountain valley - soaked, dirty, and over 110 miles in. badass.
the roads were dry back at the start/finish line, such is the weather in the mountains. 129 miles, 15,000ft of climbing and 5 mountain passes complete. all in a days work. the comp read about 9hrs, 24 mins for time that the wheels were spinning, averaging 13.4 mph. never thought i'd be stoked about a 13.4 average but, shit, climbing mountains is tough.
come on out next year and get some, you pansies.
a cool B&W that brandi took, unfortunately without a tripod
so don't let his age or overly ridiculous long sleeve T fool you. Reve is faster, tougher and loves pain more than you ever could dream of. i can only hope to be that badass one day. oh, and that bike weighs in around 12 lbs. seriously.
b, reve, roy. what a bunch of queers.
down the back of Monitor Pass. look at all of those goons.
topping out on Monitor, second time around.
roy giving birth to what looks like a plate of chips and possibly that sandwich he is so oddly gripping. reve is totally freaked out by this.
ride through spray wash.
the infamous water bottle penis strikes again somewhere near Carson Pass.
5 passes done, hiding in the shade of a truck. this photo proves that i have the pink housing . . . hopefully no visits from joshie in the night.
unfortunately the Team Hoff kits hadn't come in yet, so the '08 black and plum Bikes East kit had to suffice. just a sweet promotional shot for the old shop. i mean look at that ass.