Last Saturday, a friend and I took our yearly trip to Donner Summit to record video of the riders in the Donner Summit Bike Time Trial. As usual, watching the riders suffer got me all hyped up to do my own suffering, which I also recorded video of.
Our first stop was at the general store in Soda Springs. We always like to give them business, as they are very friendly. Also, when I went up there to buy snacks after a mtb ride at Hole-In-The-Ground in July, the owner told me he hadn't been able to do much mountain biking because he had to lay off his employees in order to make ends meet. In spite of this, when I went to pay for the snack-size Snickers bar after I had already bought the rest of my goodies, he told me the candy bar was on him because I did that gnarly downhill on a hardtail (never again, btw! The climbing was much better!).
On this trip there was another employee there, which was good news. While I was picking out my food items, she received an emergency call. When I paid for my stuff, she told me that the call was about somebody's house that was ransacked by bears! (she volunteered that info, I didn't ask as it's none of my business).
Back outside, I got my bike ready to ride the easy west side climb up to the summit. This was my first ride with my new Shimano M520 SPDs, and my first clipless ride in twenty years. I had been using clips and straps all this time. Yes, that's right. All those steep climb videos of mine up until now were not done with clipless pedals.
There was an interesting banner on the storefront that said "SAVE DONNER SUMMIT LET'S BUY IT". Interesting. I didn't know Donner Summit was in danger. I guess I'll have to do some Googling to see what's up.
Since we both enjoy video as a hobby, we both came armed with multiple cameras. I had a ContourHD on my helmet, my new GoPro HD Hero2 on the chest strap mount, and a ContourGPS on my handlebars. I already had one, but I bought this one from a member of the cycling club I belong to. He had me pick it up for him from REI a couple months ago, but he was having problems with it and wanted to return it. Since I bought it on my credit card, they wouldn't give him a refund. I bought it back from him, reset it, reloaded the firmware, adjusted a few settings, and bought a new 32 GB Class 10 card for it. He had been using a Class 4, which is too slow for HD video. After that, the camera performed flawlessly.
My friend had a Kodak Playsport Zx5, a Samsung camcorder, and a new GoPro HD Hero Naked (those are now $130, btw). He mounted these at various locations on his vehicle to capture third-person footage of my climbs.
When I was almost to the summit, I noticed that the rock people I posted in this thread last year were in different positions, so after I reached the top I rode back down to take some pics. Due to the ridiculous 10 image limit here, the rest of the pictures from this trip are here: http://s149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/hardmf1/
We went downhill about 1/4 mile to our favorite spot for recording the riders. This is also the best view spot and most fun for walking around on the rocks above Donner Pass Road.
While we were waiting for the riders in the time trial to arrive, my friend had some fun with the panorama mode on his still camera.
During the time trial, there were many other riders climbing who weren't in the race. This one stood out from the crowd. You can see my bike leaning against the guardrail across the road.
Here's the video of the hill climb time trial.
After watching that, it was my turn to have some climbing fun! I managed to do this climb about a minute and 15 seconds faster than last year (28:34). This is in spite of a 7 pound weight gain since last July and a pulled muscle in my back that I got from sneezing while sitting in a chair, of all things! Luckily the endorphins took over and the pain disappeared on the last half of the climb, just in time for my usual hard push for a PR.
I think the clipless pedals and the "draft" I got from the riders I caught up to helped out. There are some headwinds further up that are always there whenever I climb this mountain. I don't ever remember a completely calm climb, so in this case there was some benefit from following another rider at climbing speeds.
Here's a pic my friend took of me slowly catching up to another rider. Don't worry, he dropped me right before the vista viewpoint at the Rainbow Bridge, which is where he turned off.
Here's my video. This was one of the more fun climbs, IMHO. The woman you see in the video thumbnail gave me one hell of a workout on the last half of the climb (for those who don't know, I'm also a female cyclist). I just didn't have enough oomph to pass her. Very motivating!
Here's the third-person video from my friend's Kodak and Samsung cameras mounted on his vehicle. This is the climbs up the west and east side of Donner Pass Road, plus the climb up Donner Lake Road.
Here's the video from his GoPro HD Hero Naked. This one does a little better with the scenery, but unfortunately he had the waterproof door installed, which muffled and muted the audio somewhat. This is especially noticeable when his vehicle is stopped.