Saturday September 8th my buddy and I took part in the High Sierra Fall Century. This was our first time participating in this ride and Krisztian's first century. We both love the area and Krisztian has been frequenting Mammoth for years. Both of us got into road biking this year and jumped at the opportunity to tour the area on bikes.
We rented a really nice condo in the new village at Mammoth. Krisztian arrived on Thursday and I arrived Friday evening. We started our ride pretty close to the 7:30AM official start time. There were a number of people who had started before the official start time for our start was rather uneventful. The temps were cool and breeze was slight. Many had jackets and warmer riding cloths but we opted not to. I took off my arm and knee warmers and was glad to have left them behind.
The ride started out on Highway 395, which seems sketchy but in reality was no big deal. The shoulder was wide and surprisingly free of debris. We planned to start the ride rather slow. We held a pace of about 14MPH. After warming up I had a real hard time getting out of this slow pace. I could really feel the altitude and dry air. The first rest stop came pretty quickly at only mile 15. After a quick pee break we started up the first major climb of the day over Deadman Summit.
Luckily I finally pulled myself out of my slump and felt a bit stronger going up the grade. We were keeping up with two tandems and some others when I found and interesting climbing stroke. Rather than just mashing down I began to spin in little circles. As soon as I did this I blasted off. This was a fun experiment in my pedaling stroke.
We were informed by the ride organizers that Greg Lemond was going to be participating in the ride as well. Seeing as I ride a Lemond bike I was really interested in getting a photo with Greg and my bike. So just below Deadman Summit I see this guy that looks like Greg pass me pretty quickly. I look over at the guy riding next to me and ask him if he saw that guy and if it was Greg. We both decided to go have a look for ourselves. We both jumped on our horses and chased this guy down. After expending considerable energy we caught the guy who turned out not to be Greg. Drat....
In short the rest of the ride can be described as up then down, up then down. Most of the climbs are not terribly long or terribly steep but they are frequent. I found the Wildrose climb very manageable especially the steep upper part. I think I built it up to be something bigger than it was in my head before the ride, so that wasn't all that bad. There were many other climbs that kicked my butt far more that Wildrose. The scenery was amazing, ranging from Jeffery Pine forest, to scrub brush, to salt flat, to meadows. This was definitely a ride to take in the scenery. The event was VERY well SAGed. The support staff was excellent and did a first rate job. My only complaint was having to walk in soupy gravel at a few of the stops, especially lunch.
The following are a few photos I took along the way. Krisztian's wife was amazing and followed us around the course throughout the day. It was so nice to have our own personal support vehicle at every stop and someone to take pictures of us. As soon as I get her pictures I will upload some of them as well. She took some really good ones.
This one was take just as we pulled out of the parking lot:
This is a fun one I took while doing 21.8 MPH:
Krisztian passing me south of Mono Lake. He's wearing his Hungarian cycling jersey:
Me at the second rest stop. Man I really hate my helmet. It looks like a big mushroom on my head and makes me look like such a dork. Need to get a new one badly:
Photo of this beautiful salt flat somewhere east of Mammoth:
I thought this area was beautiful. Kind of high desert like environment with what looks to be blooming scrub brush or creosote bush:
Climbing up Wildrose Summit. This is before it gets really steep.
Share the Road:
The last few were all take near Crowley Lake. I have alway seen the lake from the highway, and it is beautiful, but have never ventured any closer to the lake. Let me tell you, it is a beautiful lake. That day the clouds were building, the sun was out, it was amazing. Enjoy!
We will definitely be doing this ride again.