This past weekend I dragged the wife and 11 year old daughter out to Mammoth Lakes, CA for the High Sierra Fall Century. I had done this ride last year for the first time, and was eager to give it another go. The wife and child did it last year as well, choosing to ride the 45 mile route together on a tandem while I tackled the 100 mile route. They sagged out about 6 miles from the finish because of a brutal headwind, and were not as eager as me to attempt this ride again. Especialy since they would each be riding solo this time.
We arrived on Thursday in an attempt to somewhat acclimate to the high altitude. I live more or less at sea level, and this ride had three summits over 8,000' in elevation. In addition, our accomodations at Mammoth Lakes were at about 8,000', so the air was pretty thin.
Saturday morning dawned cool and clear, and the wind was slight. The forecast was for low 70's and clear skies, and we were not dissapointed. starting at about 8am, we rode in shirtsleeves and shorts the whole ride, and enjoyed some spectacular scenery. Like I mentioned earlier, this ride had three good climbs to over 8'000', and that coupled with the thin air and my clydsedale status conspired to keep me on the course for all of 7:36. Unmatched vistas, excellent support/food, almost no traffic, and a 100 mile course that had maybe 3 turns and one stop sign - it was fantastic.
But the real news of the day was my 11 year old daughter not just finishing, but finishing in fine style and with energy left to burn. There were even reports that she was dropping some adults on the climbs - WooHoo! Earning her first event jersey was as much a thrill for me as it was for her, and she was as proud as could be of her accomplishment.
Anyway, enough babbling - take a look at some pictures:
Looking east, just after turning onto Hwy 120 south of Mono Lake:
Looking west, same spot, towards the Sierra crest:
Looking back on the valley just below Sagehen Summit - just about 8,000' in elevation:
Me, summiting Sagehen:
At the bottom of the Sagehen descent, looking back. It looks benign, but last year I attained 56.3mph coming down this grade:
Some rollers on Hwy 120, after Sagehen and going towards Adobe Flats and lunch:
Looking across Adobe Flats:
Fresh blacktop, in the middle of nowhere about 65 miles in:
Top of Wildrose climb at about 80 miles in, something like 6 miles and 1'000' of gain (most of it in the last couple of miles!!):
A couple of miles from the finish, looking at Mt. Morrison. It looks small, but the peak is well in excess of 12,000':