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Old 02-23-11, 06:34 PM   #1
jmX
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Who's in the Death Valley event this weekend

Are there many BF members doing the event this weekend in death valley? The weather forecast looks pretty lame!

Friday night (aka early sat morning):
Lows 24 to 30 in the mountains...around 45 at furnace creek. South wind 20 to 30 mph. Gusts up to 55 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

Saturday: snow likely and a chance of thunderstorms.

We'll be riding up to right around the snow level at one point along the course, so I went out on a hunt this morning to try and find something warmer than shorts and a jersey, hopefully I'll be prepared for whatever the weather may be.

Are wet legs an issue? I have shoe covers and a water proof jacket, but nothing special for my legs.

I was having some anxiety about doing the ultra century even when I thought the weather would be great, but now it's only doubled.
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Old 02-23-11, 06:40 PM   #2
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Geez, that's this weekend?!
Now I glad it was full when I attempted to register.
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Old 02-23-11, 08:00 PM   #3
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pass...too cold i dont ride below 65
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Old 02-23-11, 10:36 PM   #4
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jmx, I'll be there. I've seen the weather reports calling for low temps, but I haven't seen the wind speed being that high.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:59 PM   #5
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The gusts were for friday night, saying gusts may calm to 40mph. No wind data was mentioned for saturday morning.

I'm sure the weather wont nearly be as bad as I'm imagining, but considering I hardly ride if its below 60 here it should be a pretty rude awakening.
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Old 02-24-11, 12:19 AM   #6
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I am there, maybe. I am ok with cold and wet. I am not ok with thunder and lightning. I queried AdventureCorp about their policy on allowing riders on the course during electrical storms. I got a smarta$$ answer back, "bikes don't melt". AC just sent out another email extolling the attributes of merino wool and how we should all go out and stock up now on our foul weather gear. They did briefly elude to the fact in their email that a decisions on canceling the event due to weather would be made in conjunction with the NPS. Sounds like the NPS is going to be the bad guy. I am not filled with confidence by AC. I guess they are in this to make a buck off us. I am sure Furnace Creek Ranch would be POd if we all started canceling reservations. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 02-24-11, 01:04 AM   #7
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We're there, assuming the mountain roads from the Bay Area aren't snowy. Looks like we'll probably need to take the long way via Baker to avoid the high part of Hwy. 190.

I'm reminded that lots of these storms have a history of overpromising and underdelivering. It also appears that this one is moving faster than expected, meaning the worst part might fly across Death Valley overnight Friday into early Saturday, leaving ride day just blustery and slightly damp.

But given that even a moderate storm would be highly unusual on the valley floor, I too am a little worried about the possibility of the NPS yanking permits ... recalling when the CHP did the same for a day of AIDS/LifeCycle two years ago after record-breaking rains hit the Santa Barbara area.

(After the pre-Christmas storm, there was lots of mud and debris across Badwater Road in several places.)

Last edited by Kniwt; 02-24-11 at 01:19 AM. Reason: Added Christmas info
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Old 02-24-11, 01:25 AM   #8
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Kniwt, are you coming from Fresno? Are you going through Bakersfield, interested in ride sharing?
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Old 02-24-11, 01:29 AM   #9
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Oops, my bad for not changing my old profile info. I'm already +1, so our vehicle is full of both people and bikes, alas.
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Old 02-24-11, 01:31 AM   #10
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HOLY ISH!!!

Good luck guys, seriously. That is going to be an INTENSE ride.

Just remember, the harder the beatdown and less comfortable the ride is, the better the reward: rest/hot shower/liquor. Don't forget that. It might be a physically devastating ride and you might not be able to keep the pace you want (you won't) but remain steadfast and don't relent. If you've never done an event like this you will have to pace yourself in a way you never have had to.

I'm doing this event with a friend in May. So I can't wait to hear how the ride went for you guys. Good luck!!!
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Old 02-24-11, 02:17 PM   #11
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Here's the latest notice from NOAA for the area:

DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY

WEST TO SOUTHWEST WINDS WILL STRENGTHEN ACROSS NORTHERN SAN
BERNARDINO COUNTY AND PORTIONS OF SOUTHWEST NEVADA FRIDAY AS THE
STORM MOVES SOUTHWARD. WIND ADVISORIES ARE IN EFFECT FRIDAY AFTERNOON
AND EVENING FOR THESE AREAS. PRECIPITATION WILL CONTINUE TO SPREAD
EASTWARD AND SOUTHWARD ACROSS THE AREA FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY.
ADDITIONAL WINTER STORM WATCHES ARE IN EFFECT FOR SATURDAY FOR THE
SPRING MOUNTAINS AND SHEEP RANGE AS WELL AS LINCOLN COUNTY AND FOR
LATE SATURDAY MORNING INTO SUNDAY MORNING FOR MOHAVE COUNTY. THE
HEAVIEST SNOW IS LIKELY ABOVE 5000 TO 6000 FEET WITH THIS SYSTEM
BUT SNOW WILL BE POSSIBLE SATURDAY INTO SUNDAY AS LOW AS 2000 TO
3000 FEET. LOCAL ACCUMULATIONS OF AN INCH OR TWO MAY OCCUR IN
ISOLATED AREAS ESPECIALLY IN AREAS BETWEEN 3000 AND 3500 FEET
ESPECIALLY ON SATURDAY INTO SUNDAY. SLIPPERY TRAVEL IS LIKELY ON
MOST PASSES ACROSS THE AREA AND SOME HIGHER ELEVATION ROADS WILL
SEE DIFFICULT...IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE TRAVEL CONDITIONS. AN INCH OR
TWO OF SNOW IS ENOUGH TO MAKE TRAVEL SLIPPERY AND THIS COULD
POTENTIALLY OCCUR EVEN IN AREAS THAT DO NOT OFTEN SEE SNOW. BE
ALERT IF YOU HAVE ANY TRAVEL PLANS THIS WEEKEND.

The key will be just how much white stuff sticks on Salsberry Friday night. That'll make Saturday's junket over the pass pretty slick! Most of the local weather guessers have the winds in the 12-15 mph range from the south. It was that way yesterday going over Salsberry; even with sun the wind had a bite.

I'll be there,.... sitting in my van, sipping my hot tea, and looking for riders in trouble [I think that's the same as road kill!]. One thing to keep firmly in mind. Salsberry Pass is a long COLD descent. It will be especially nasty if it's wet!

Be safe out there people. I can only carry 3 at a time!
YMMV
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Old 02-24-11, 05:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LgB View Post
I am there, maybe. I am ok with cold and wet. I am not ok with thunder and lightning. I queried AdventureCorp about their policy on allowing riders on the course during electrical storms. I got a smarta$$ answer back, "bikes don't melt". AC just sent out another email extolling the attributes of merino wool and how we should all go out and stock up now on our foul weather gear. They did briefly elude to the fact in their email that a decisions on canceling the event due to weather would be made in conjunction with the NPS. Sounds like the NPS is going to be the bad guy. I am not filled with confidence by AC. I guess they are in this to make a buck off us. I am sure Furnace Creek Ranch would be POd if we all started canceling reservations. We'll see how it goes.
I feel the opposite, I'm totally filled with confidence by AdventureCorps. They seem to put on great events that everybody talks highly about. I've heard some people have poor opinions of competitors such as planetultra.

Anyway, the NPS has the final say. If they're calling it off, they aren't the bad guy to me, they're just doing what they feel is right and I personally probably wouldnt have wanted to go anyway.

I'm gonna go out for a late night ride tonight to test out my clothing, I popped out for a ride a few minutes ago (its 60 degrees) and I was very clearly underprepared. I'm so spoiled by our weather.
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Old 02-24-11, 06:23 PM   #13
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I feel the opposite, I'm totally filled with confidence by AdventureCorps. They seem to put on great events that everybody talks highly about. I've heard some people have poor opinions of competitors such as planetultra.

Anyway, the NPS has the final say. If they're calling it off, they aren't the bad guy to me, they're just doing what they feel is right and I personally probably wouldnt have wanted to go anyway.

I'm gonna go out for a late night ride tonight to test out my clothing, I popped out for a ride a few minutes ago (its 60 degrees) and I was very clearly underprepared. I'm so spoiled by our weather.

I agree, NPS isn't the bad guy, they'll make a decision based on risk management principles. My point was AC left the burden of the decision on NPS rather than take ownership of it themselves. Not what I consider confidence-worthy behavior. I am sure AC has put on good events, but my communications with them (or lack thereof) and their attitude has soured me and I'll simply refrain from entering future events they sponsor.

Enjoy your ride!

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Old 02-25-11, 10:56 AM   #14
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Forecast for tomorrow is a little better now...
Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of rain and snow level 3000 feet, dropping to 2000 feet in the afternoon. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. High around 55. Low around 39.

Still gonna suck at that 6am start at 39 degrees with rain, but I bet the afternoon will shape up nicely.
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Old 02-25-11, 11:43 AM   #15
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That's pretty hard to believe. They're talking about the snow level here in San Diego dropping to between 1,000-2,000 feet.
Either way, there'll be some stories worth hearing at the end of this one! (Just glad none will be told by me.)
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Old 02-25-11, 12:02 PM   #16
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AC is pretty much a one-man-show BTW. Chris Kostman is full of integrity and he has a lot of great people who volunteer for him. I've only done two AC events, but both my experiences were awesome. Chris is constantly out on the course checking in with riders and making sure they are ok. On last year's Mt. Laguna training ride, he dumped a handful of Endurolytes in my hand as I was cramping. I rode with Elizabeth up Kitchen Creek, and when I started cramping on that climb, she stayed with me until I was well enough to get moving on my own, while Bill Walton replenished my nearly empty water bottles. This organization cares about the riders who take part in their events.

BTW, I had a great experience on a solo Orange County to La Jolla ride a few months ago. I was wearing full AdventureCorps Death Valley Velo Club kit, when a pair on a tandem came from behind complementing me on my gear, it was none other than Chris and his partner Elizabeth. We rode together for a good 15 miles. Chatting the whole way. I have nothing but admiration for what AC does.
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Old 02-27-11, 08:45 PM   #17
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Worst. Ride. Ever. I'm glad I did it.

I cut my 150 short, and took the 102 mi century route instead. My time was over 10 hours. 25-30mph+ headwind both ways thanks to a coldfront, gusts to 40mph. At one point I looked down, HR at 160, in my lowest gear, on a 1% decline, pedaling as hard as I could going 6.2mph. There was about 20 miles that were fast on the way back before I hit the cold front, and those 20 miles were fantastic.

Once I knew my time was gonna suck, and I failed the 150, I took my time at the stops...it was hard convincing myself to get back onto the bike and go back into the headwind. So demoralizing. Doing GMR+GRR 3 times in a row would have been easier I think. Would have been more fun, thats for sure.
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Old 02-27-11, 11:40 PM   #18
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Well jmx, you went farther than I did. It took me 1:45 to reach the first rest stop at 17 miles. I left there and headed towards the next stop, but after 3 miles and strong headwinds I deceiced to call it a day. I had seen on The Weather Channel that the wind was going to switch directions around 10am, and it did. I just didn't feeling like battling the wind all day. As I was leaving Death Valley over Towne Pass it was snowing. I was hoping it wouldn't end up snowing on the riders.
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Old 02-28-11, 10:27 AM   #19
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I know what the winds can be like in Death Valley, courtesy of the 35MPH headwinds and 65MPH gusts that blew me off the road at Mormon Point on the 2009 508. Yikes.

I heard that this ride was well nigh impossible, with only 8 people finishing. Huge headwinds, blowing sand ... all kinds of stuff.

And I'll admit it. There is a part of me that wishes I was there. So tell us more ... I eat this stuff up!
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Old 02-28-11, 03:31 PM   #20
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The preliminary results say 11 people finished the 200mi, 20 finished the 150, and 62 finished the 100.

The roster was 400 entrants, 324 started.

This has gotta be the worst DNF percentage they've ever had.

BTW, About mile 95 Red Eyed Vireo blew past me as I was putting on my rain jacket...he was at his mile 145. What a machine!
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Old 03-01-11, 03:47 AM   #21
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A shot of the fantastic roads we rode on:


And here's 2 shots of the ride back from the turnaround...off in the distance you can see the wind change coming at us, ready to ruin our day. Wall of white dust/salt/rain/whoknows what.



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Old 03-01-11, 09:50 AM   #22
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Nice photos! Glad I wasn't there though ;-)

George posted the results on his 'blog: http://epictrain.wordpress.com/2011/...outhern-route/

Hoping for a bigger "race report" soon.
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Old 03-01-11, 10:49 AM   #23
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jmX, what you can't quite see in your last photo is me going over Towne Pass in the snow. I'm glad it didn't snow in Death Valley, that would have really been miserable. I had done Camino Real the week before and just wasn't into bad weather again.
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