I did the ride for the first time last year and bagged the bugger. Here's my ride report I sent out to family and friends. I'll be there this year. Good luck.
I'm screaming down Carson Pass, having the time of my life, picking up speed, letting gravity take me home. 35, 40, 45, 51 mph...I can't look any more. I got to concentrate on the road or I might die....
It all started at 4:00am with U2's Theme from Mission Impossible
waking us up. We get up, take our time having breakfast of Oatmeal, Banana's and a Bagel. I get a cup of Major Dickinson from John Neil and I'm so ready. Jack is ready to go by 4:30. "Good luck, get outta here...He's takes off.
At 5:35, we roll out. Damn, it's cold on the descent down into Markleeville. Even though I'm wearing a capilene, jersey, windbreaker and arm warmers, I am shivering. So much so, my bike is getting the wobbles. The first little hill takes the chill off. I'm holding myself back on purpose. I keep telling myself, this is an endurance ride, not a race...take your time. John Neil rolls by and say's to start stretching. I do and it feels good. There are people out in Markleeville cheering us on and at the turn towards Monitor Pass.
I'm with Andy and our friend Eric from Reno. Welp, here's the start of 5 passes. From here on forward, it's sit and spin. Monitor wasn't bad at all. It starts out at 9%, then 10% and finally finishes at 7%. Took a little over an hour. As you go up, the riders begin to thin from the big bunch on the bottom.
At the top, you stop at a check point and get your sticker put on your bib, so the organizers know how many passes you grab. I need to fill up my water bottle, so as I lay down my bike I notice Jacks bike on the ground. I call out his name, and hear my name coming from the porta-potties. I wait and he tells me he is off to the backside of Monitor. Jack is in for a long day.
The descent down Monitor is fast and swoopy. No tight turns, just long and flowy. I'm picking up speed when I see John Neil from our group off to the side changing a flat. I think about getting a flat at 45 mph and start to slow down. I realize I don't have my pump with me. You always forget something...
After a quick refill of H20, I start the climb and promptly pass Jack. It's going to be a long day. Halfway up the hill, the Boyscouts have a refueling station of water and Cytomax. They call out "what do you want?" and you toss them your bottle. They toss it up to the next person "relay style", that person tosses it to another and then you have your water bottle back, without having to slow your pace. Unbelievable support.
Monitor is beginning to get a bit warm and the road is one big line of cyclist.
At the top I refuel and Andy, Eric and now Mark have all come in. We make our way down the bottom and turn left to Ebbett's. It was at the rest stop before Ebbetts, where I took a drink of Cytomax. The stuff is the suxxor! Never again will I put that in my body. For some reason, I was dreading this climb. I don't why, I just was. The beginning of the ride spanks you with a 10% spot, but it's only for a few hundred feet, then it's mostly 7%, save for the hairpin turns, but those were not bad. Hell Hamilton is worst than Ebbetts.
The support was great.
I came upon a young rider with his Dad heading up Ebetts. Very cool.
The top off Ebbetts was a zoo, the girls handing out the stickers were wearing angel wings. They would also give you a stick of red licorice.
We all regrouped on the bottom of Ebbetts. I can only stay for about ten minutes or my legs will get tired, So I take off. Even though this climb is about 7 miles with 1600 elevation gain, to me it was a tough climb. My stomach started to feel bloated and I couldn't find my rhythm. It just didn't flow. I get to the top and blow down to the other side where the lunch stop is. I make it into the lunch area at 12:00. Knowing that I need this nourishment, I have to force myself to eat. Let's see, watermelon, grapes, two slices of turkey, a slice of ham, and a hot cup of veggie soup. These guy's know what is good for you and the soup did the trick. At 12:30, Andy and Mark come in. Along with Jim Roberts. I tell Jim I am leaving at 12:45 and he's up for that.
After replenishing myself with spf 45 sunscreen, Jim and I take off to go tackle pass number 5. We've gone so far about 72 miles and we still have another 55 to go till we finish. It's getting warm and the breeze is picking up. As we ride pace line style, others join in. Soon our paceline is about ten deep and each rider helps pull. We get up to about 25 mph. The group falls apart on the small hill up to Markleeville and then another one begins on the descent into town. Everybody and their Mother is out in support for the riders in Markleeville. For a brief two seconds I pretended I was in the tour. A few more hills and we descend into Woodfords. Carson Pass is the last hurdle.
We pull up and Julie asks if I want her to hold my bike while I refuel. Did I mention how amazing the support was?
We leave the rest stop and climb up 8 miles to Picketts Junction into a head wind. Jim is cramping bad, so to give him some relief, I tell him I will pull. We blow by a group of three, who join us. After about a mile, one of the riders takes over pulling. This guy was perfect. He must stand at 6'4'' and was the best windblock I could ask. He kept the cadence just right. Soon we were at Picketts. The adrenaline from everyone is infectious. We all know the end is near.
After ten minutes we are off. We fly though Hope Valley and make are way up Carson Pass. The wind is in our face again, but the big guy is doing a great job. Other riders are descending and I can't wait to be one of them. Our pace is about 6.5 to 7 mph as we grind pass other riders. Soon, we round the final turn and there are people along side the road again supporting us. Cow bells are ringing...amazing. We pull into the parking lot and get our 5th sticker and 5 pass pin. I'm asked what flavor of popsicle do I want?
Crunch Bar sounded perfect.
Jim and I sit under the tent and enjoy the ice cream. Everybody is stoked to be there. We leave at 5:00 and like a horse going home to the barn we fly down the mountain. I hit an all time personal speed record of 54.6 mph. It felt good to be one of the people flying down the hill while others are still climbing it. Jim and I make it back to Turtle Rock Park at 6:00. Total ride time was 12hrs, 22 minutes. Total wheels spinning was 9hrs, 58 minutes. My average heart rate was 136 with a max of 180. Google Earth can be found by clicking here.
Will I do this again next year? Yep, you bet. I'm hooked. By the way...Jack made 4 passes...with only three rides for training since the beginning of the year...What a stud or sicko.