this is a little overdue but still worth reporting on, so here goes.
our would-be group of 10 dwindled to 5 just a few days before the ride. they were calling for cold weather, and rain and snow promised. so we lost 4 other guys and one female. the weather forecast proved too much for our race promoters as well and they changed the course last minute to avoid major risk to riders. instead of the bishop to tom's to mammoth to june lake to lee vining to benton to bishop loop, we headed south of bishop to big pine heading up into the Inyo Mtns then dropping towards Death Valley, spinning around to climb the pass again, heading back to bishop, up to benton then out to some pass, spinning around and heading back to the finish in bishop. still a lot of climbing, still 200 miles and still getting rain and snow as we'd find out.
the morning start time was 5 am. thats early. we started 10 minutes behind everyone as it was early and we were lagging a bit on the readiness. so instead of a nice warm up, chatty roll out my morning consisted of a 3 man pace line to catch the group. our average speed for the first hour of the ride was 25+ mph until we caught most of the pack and settled in to first climb of the day.
i might be crying because its early and we were working hard
the first climb was long. i have no idea how long in terms of mileage, but long will suffice. the sun came up, the clouds formed shortly after, and we got wet. descending the back side we got hailed on. that shit hurts at 40+ mph. i was dressed for a bit of weather but nothing too major since they changed the course - base layer, jersey, arm warmers, vest and wind proof gloves (thank heavens) up top and bibs, knee warmers and toe covers down below. needless to say at elevation and wet from rain i was cold. the descent towards Death Valley was bone shaking cold. the up side was when we reached the check point we found ourselves in the top 10. sweet.
check point in Death Valley area. cold. wet.
the climb back out was long also but i was stoked to warm up again. it was still raining and we had the entertaining sights and sounds of folks descending in all kinds of clothing configurations, some with the shakes and shivers, some with teeth chattering and by the time we were within 5 miles of the top we started seeing some sag vans scraping up those who were throwing in the towel.
climbing in the rain with bruce, reve and dave.
on the climb back out of the valley we met some other guys pushing hard and started shooting the shit. i met some characters on this ride, like bruce and dave, who are on another planet. these ultra endurance racers are insane. this 200 mile ride/race was just a warm up for them. they do things like race across oregon (700 miles), furnace creek 508 (508 miles) and others ranging from 300-1600 miles. insane.
dave on a Cervelo with custom made rack.
training to be mostly self supported on a 400 mile race in alaska next month. WTF?
while climbing we lost our buddy pete so we had to let dave and bruce go. reve and i waited in the rain for 20 minutes while pete caught up. come to find out pete was have doubts . . .
pete: shattered. mile 70.
the top of the pass brought snow. yippie! so the descent was really cold. frozen hands and feet. it was sunny back in the valley but it took a while to warm up. we pace lined back to bishop where we bid adios to pete who was calling it a day around mile 110.
leaving bishop it was just reve and i. so we shared the work (for what seemed like eternity) up to Benton, a mile up front, a mile off. we did this for who knows how long into a headwind that drove me crazy until we picked up a 3rd. don't know his name, but he was tall and a good body to draft so i was stoked. i get a draft off of reve up to about my belly button, either because he is too small or i'm to tall, or a combo of both.
reve spinning his new storck. its weighs 11 pounds. seriously.
once in benton much to my relief we turned out of the headwinds we had fought for over 30 miles. but we still had climbing left to do, about 7 miles of it. it rained a bit more just for good measure as we on the pass. once that was over we spun around and headed for home - about 40 miles away. somewhere along the way we had managed to get ahead of bruce and he caught up. we had a 3 man train rocketing towards bishop, ready to be done. miles rolled by, minutes, then an hour, then i could tell we were getting close.
bruce sporting a furnace creek 508 jersey. which he raced solo.
33 hours and change was his time last year. WTF?
on the final miles
we rolled into town just under 12 hours - 11:55 total time i think, 11:08 wheels rolling - the three of us tying for 3rd. damn. i finished my first 200 mile ride, and not only finished but held it together with some strong guys. i was stoked. and tired.
the next day we rode around lake tahoe on 'america's most beautiful bike ride' at a pretty spirited pace with some other folks. total mileage for the weekend was 275. pretty solid.