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  1. #1
    Certifiably crazy! Carloswithac's Avatar
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    Mammoth Fall Century.

    Has anyone ridden in it? How is it? I like climbing, so that's not a big deal. What is a big deal is the elevation. I've mountain biked at 6k feet and got acclimated in a bit. How do I train for the elevation at Mammoth? Looking at the profile, it hits 8k feet a couple of times and doesn't go below 6k much. I'm used to riding at sea level for the most part.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Lesper4's Avatar
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    I will be there, the only thing I can suggest is, sleep a night or two at elevation to get acclimated. That and ride at elevation around here as much as you can to get use to the shortness of breath. When I did Eastern Sierra Double I felt the elevation only at the very top of the climbing in Mammoth and on the east side of 120. It was very manageable. I will be riding this in preparation for White Mountain Double the following week which hits 10,000ft +
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  3. #3
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lesper4 View Post
    I will be there, the only thing I can suggest is, sleep a night or two at elevation to get acclimated. That and ride at elevation around here as much as you can to get use to the shortness of breath. ...+
    This^ I have done it 5 times. Each time I planned a week in the Mammoth area. I came in the weekend before, played around hiking and mountain biking and finished the week with the Century. Gave me a chance to acclimate. I can't imagine just coming in and doing the century otherwise. Plan on coming up at least two days prior...

    Probably one of the most scenic centuries around. Roads are generally in good shape and once off 395, lightly travelled. It is not an easy Century; alot of very steep climbing and the whoop-de-dos after Mono Lake are annoying (fun... at first... then just annoying). There are a few steep descents to keep one alert.

    It's well worth the effort...
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  4. #4
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    The only thing better is the Eastern Sierra Double.

    Good advice up there. Acclimating, even for a day or two, helps a lot. But if you don't have the time, I wouldn't let that stop you. I the Eastern Sierra. Here's the view you'll get riding back to the starting point at the end of the day:
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  5. #5
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    I am also considering this ride but am unsure about the elevation. I could MAYBE arrive Thurs late night but Friday would be easier.

    I was thinking of testing the water with the Tour de Big Bear about a month before. This ride is 75 mi, 4800 ft climbing and I think at around 6000 ft of elevation.

    How much gain is there in actually training some at elevation vs just training more at my home elevation (around 1200 ft)? I understand the going early part to acclimatize before a ride. But does intermittently riding at altitude make enough of a difference to be worth the trouble? In my case, driving to train mat elevation would be at least a 2 hr round trip, would I be better off just riding 2 hrs longer at home?

    H

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lesper4's Avatar
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    Ok I am not mistaken training at altitude will get you used to shortness of breath. But staying at altitude will reduce the shortness of breath.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Gallo's Avatar
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    drink before your thirsty eat before your hungry is especially true at altitude. I have a hard time with it as well.
    "Are you finished and satisfied with the thread up to this point? If so, if you don't mind, I'm inclined to close it now, the quality posts have dwindled - it's circling the bowl now." BillyD

    I can't climb and do not sprint well so I over compensate with bad form and lack of endurance

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  8. #8
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lesper4 View Post
    Ok I am not mistaken training at altitude will get you used to shortness of breath. But staying at altitude will reduce the shortness of breath.
    I mountain bike and often drive up the day of and ride Big Bear. We start at about 7500' and climb to 9000' (no lifts for me - I believe downhills have to be earned!). Immediately its hard to breathe (especially since we start out climbing right off the bat) and for about an 1/2 hr or so, I struggle but eventually my breathing gets regular and I do fine. That said, I don't have trouble much with altitude. Some of my friends however, just can't do it. It's weird because they are in better shape than I but as soon as they get above 5000', the fierce headache takes over and they get dizzy and nauseated. I think its a personal thing and you need to know how your body will do. Definately worth driving up to Big Bear or some other mountain area and see how you do.

    I understand taking aspirin every few hours helps the headaches but isn't all that good if there is an injury (bleeding!). I used aspirin to climb Mt. Whitney, the one place I have struggled from the altitude and it helped.

    The thing about Mammoth, its a century, with steep tough climbing. Add that on top of the attitude. If your fitness is good, most likely it will be easier but then again, like I said, my friends in good shape suffer. For some reason this big ole fat lady does OK.
    Last edited by Pamestique; 03-28-14 at 09:01 AM.
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  9. #9
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    I should probably also throw a few other thoughts out there.

    Until last year, the route started and ended at the Whitmore ball field on Benton Crossing Road. That meant that the ride distance was only about 93 miles instead of 100. Starting last year, the route begins at the Village, heads down the 203 to US395 and ends going back UP the 203 to the Village.

    Descending to start and ascending at the end has some disadvantages ... Namely that it is likely to start with a chilly descent and end with a headwindy ascent. But at least the basic route is now 100+ miles.

    If I have one criticism of the route, its that they bypass the June Lake Loop. The route has you climbing up to the June Lake Junction and heading straight down a 4 mile descent to the 120. A MUCH better route is to make a left at the June Lake Junction and take that to Highway 120. That adds at least 10 miles to the route and will probably add at least an hour to your time (for those that care about such things), but it is more than worth it.

    There is a little climb to Oh! Ridge. So named because this is the view on the other side:

    Me and June Lake.jpg

    You then roll through the burg of June Lake (home of the Tiger Bar, an official Clamper watering hole), then descend through groves of apsens on a twisty road ... with a view of Horsetail Falls.

    Me on June Lake Loop.jpg

    You scoot by Silver Lake (and the oldest continuous running resort in the Eastern Sierra):

    More Silver Lake Mod Compressed.jpg

    Me by Silver Lake.jpg

    Then pass by the much drier (and man made) Grant Lake:

    Me and Grant Lake.jpg

    All that is mostly flat or downhill ... you'll use your elevation gain sparingly instead of all at once if you follow the main route. And from Grant Lake, you do a fast sweet descent down to US395 with a great view of Mono Lake, and head south only a few hundred yards and you're back to the Fall Century route.

    Soooo. If you're disposed to add about 10 miles to the route, definitely take in the June Lake Loop. They'll be the most memorable miles of the ride, and well worth it. If you'd rather not, the June Lake Loop makes for a great warmup or training ride the day before. Start at the northern terminus, ride south on US395 (about a 4 mile climb), and then make a right at the June Lake Junction.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Lesper4's Avatar
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    There is also a nice headwind once you hit Grant Lake all the way out.
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  11. #11
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lesper4 View Post
    There is also a nice headwind once you hit Grant Lake all the way out.
    I've hit tailwinds more often through there. Funny thing ... that descent from Grant Lake to US395 is where I hit my top speed ever ... 57 MPH. It's not all that steep, but I had a rippin tail wind!
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Lesper4's Avatar
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    I hit mine going into Benton 55, and you would think I would have a higher number with Mt Baldy so close.
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  13. #13
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    I love that descent through Blind Springs Valley and into Benton. And that brings up another worthwhile detour from the High Sierra Fall Century route. The view from the top of that descent is AWESOME and worth the short (1/4 mile or less) climb.

    Blind Springs Valley and Montgomery Peak - Photo395 - compressed.jpg
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  14. #14
    shut up and ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    I am also considering this ride but am unsure about the elevation. I could MAYBE arrive Thurs late night but Friday would be easier.
    H
    you mean altitude as opposed to elevation. right or wrong when we refer to elevation we mean the amount of vertical gain on the ride whereas altitude refers more to how high the ride occurs.

    aclimitization takes two to three weeks, if you can't do that you want to show up closer to the event.

  15. #15
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzwillzzz View Post
    you mean altitude as opposed to elevation. right or wrong when we refer to elevation we mean the amount of vertical gain on the ride whereas altitude refers more to how high the ride occurs.

    aclimitization takes two to three weeks, if you can't do that you want to show up closer to the event.
    Whoops yes I meant altitude.

    What do you mean "show up closer to the event"?

    H

  16. #16
    shut up and ride
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    you are better off showing up fri night rather than thurs if the event is sat morn.

  17. #17
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzwillzzz View Post
    you are better off showing up fri night rather than thurs if the event is sat morn.
    Why?

  18. #18
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    I did the ride last year, solely on the inspiratoin provided by some of Biker395's pics. Let me tell you, his pics are great, but the actual scenery is even better. There is a "hugeness" out there that you have to experience first hand. Big mountains, big climbs, big descents. I hit the headwind coming back into town from the ball field, and that was grueling, particularly having to fight the wind next to cars and trucks screaming by on 395. That was probably the worst 10 miles of my life, but totally worth it because of the 90 miles that came before it. Coming from the bay area I didnt think the hills were particularly steep, they just went on forever.

    I came up from sea level on Friday, and based on B395's recommendations did the June lake loop that afternoon. It was great. I started and ended at the junction, and didn't have any altitude problems(headache and some dizzyness) until the last section of the climb back up to the junction, and while altitude probably contributed to the fatigue I was feeling at the end of the ride, the wind was probably the main culprit.

    I've already signed up again for this year. This time I'm planning on coming up some time the week before and getting in some of the bucket list climbs (horseshoe, white mountain, whitney etc.) dont know if that will make the century easier or harder, but the scenery alone will be worth it.

    One note, unlike many other centuries, this one does not have a bail out point. Once you go over the first pass, you need to commit mentally to completing the ride.

  19. #19
    shut up and ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    Why?
    it takes two to three weeks for your body to adjust to the altitude. once you arrive at altitude you body starts the process of acclimatizing, you are worse off fitness wise in the middle off the process than before it begins. so your best options are arriving weeks ahead of time or the night before

  20. #20
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzwillzzz View Post
    it takes two to three weeks for your body to adjust to the altitude. once you arrive at altitude you body starts the process of acclimatizing, you are worse off fitness wise in the middle off the process than before it begins. so your best options are arriving weeks ahead of time or the night before
    Is there any benefit to riding occasionally at altitude while training. By this I mean one day a week for a month, say?

    H

  21. #21
    shut up and ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    Is there any benefit to riding occasionally at altitude while training. By this I mean one day a week for a month, say?

    H
    no.
    the saying in training circles is 'live high, train low'. living at altitude will build more red blood cells but you can't train as hard since there is less oxygen so you can't work your muscles as hard. this is why they sell altitude tents to sleep in, very expensive and now not legal for racing.

    so the occasional trip to altitude won't help, it's a long, slow process

  22. #22
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    I've read the same, but I have to say that my personal experience differs with that. I feel the effects of altitude most seriously the day after I arrive, but spending a few days at altitude helps me tremendously ... it doesn't take nearly 3 weeks to feel a benefit.
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  23. #23
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    I rode it two years ago, drove up on Fri., didn't have any problems with the altitude at all. I know it's an individual thing, but for me (thankfully) pretty much a non-issue.

    Overall it's a beautiful and well-organized event. Easy to find your way on the well marked route and of course (as noted above) wonderful scenery. Yes, there are lots of climbs but nothing brutal.

    Rick / OCRR

  24. #24
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    I've read the same, but I have to say that my personal experience differs with that. I feel the effects of altitude most seriously the day after I arrive, but spending a few days at altitude helps me tremendously ... it doesn't take nearly 3 weeks to feel a benefit.
    I agree... same with me. But again, everyone reacts to altitude differently... some people (I am lucky) acclimate quickly, some never do. Just know yourself...

    Last time I did the Century we finished (and started) at the ballfield past Crowley Lake. I have to say, not certain I would want to do that climb up to the Village to end my ride. It was sucky enough doing it first thing - but early, traffic was light and the climb warmed you up - I get why they change the route but I do think it was better before.
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  25. #25
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    Yes, there are lots of climbs but nothing brutal.

    Rick / OCRR
    Says you and Biker395 the double century guys... boys its all relative... the climbs are tough for normal people... you guys are supermen!
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