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Mammoth Fall Century - Who's In?

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Mammoth Fall Century - Who's In?

Old 08-18-14, 04:15 PM
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Mammoth Fall Century - Who's In?

I'll be joining a (decidedly non-Clyde) client at the Mammoth Fall Century on September 6 and, after such a nice time riding with other Forum-ites on the Cool Breeze Century, I thought I'd send out the call for another one.

Here's a link: Mammoth Fall Century Ride & Gran Fondo - Century Ride | California | High Sierra Fall Century

I'll be staying with my client/friend and his wife in a rental condo in Mammoth Lakes but he'll be accompanying his wife on a shorter ride so I'll be doing the GF solo.

My current plan is to drive up from the LA area after work on the prior Wednesday, September 3 to allow a few days to get acclimated and explore the local beer gardens. We'd head home Sunday the 7th after a lazy morning. I'd be game to share travel costs with someone who could work with my schedule and wanted to ride up there with me in the comfort of my Ford truck. I have a bed rack for two bikes but it's a crew cab so I could take more passengers and bikes if someone could come up with a hitch-mounted rack.

There may or may not be an additional room available at the condo they've reserved for this trip. Not sure about details or costs as of this writing.

HD
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Old 08-18-14, 04:24 PM
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Thanks for the offer. Like I said on Saturday, this is on my bucket list. Maybe next year, maybe the next. But I WILL do this ride.

Being that you chose the Gran Fondo, you are doing this for time (potential ride partners should know this). I will only be doing the un-timed version because I just don't need to pay an extra $15 for someone to tell me I was nearly the slowest person out there.
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Old 08-18-14, 05:13 PM
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Yep, when I registered today I wised up and clicked on the "Century" button instead of one for the "Gran Fondo" for that very reason.

Just want to have a nice ride in the mountains around Mammoth Lakes. Never been there and looking forward to seeing it astride my bike.

HD
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Old 08-18-14, 05:27 PM
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It is by far my favorite vacation spot. I go fishing about 2 hours North of there every chance I get. LOT'S of pictures, please!
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Old 08-18-14, 05:33 PM
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I need to get my stinking kids out of the house so I can do stuff like this.
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Old 08-19-14, 07:24 AM
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Have fun! Mammoth is my favorite place to vacation in all of CA. We go every summer for at least a week. I was up there in July for a week. I left the road bike at home and road downhill mountain bikes for 4 days. What a blast! My entire family averaged about 40 miles of downhill a day. Will be back next year for sure and possibly twice if the finances allow.

I saw the adds for the Century and Grand Fondo. They look pretty challenging with all of the elevation. Good luck and have fun. By the way, the beer garden at Mammoth Brewing is a great place to hang out!
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Old 08-19-14, 09:40 AM
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@HunkerDown, I'll be arriving sometime Thursday afternoon and sharing a condo with two lady friends.

Two of us signed up for the 70 miler and the other friend signed up for the GF. Maybe we can share a beer or two sometime Thursday afternoon. I'm sending you my cell # via PM.

Victor
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Old 08-20-14, 04:09 PM
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Anybody not registered yet - here's a very nice offer from a fellow SoCal BF'er.

https://www.bikeforums.net/southern-c...l#post17053790
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Old 09-07-14, 06:24 AM
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Any ride reports? I hear the wind was pretty brutal toward the end. I have a local friend who sag'd out at mile 70....then her bike fell off the sag trailer at speed. Seat and post are mangled, gearing has been "re-adjusted" and the carbon frame is going to have to be inspected carefully. Very sad. I have two other friends that finished it. They're both strong riders, and said it was pretty tough.
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Old 09-07-14, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe
Any ride reports? I hear the wind was pretty brutal toward the end. I have a local friend who sag'd out at mile 70....then her bike fell off the sag trailer at speed. Seat and post are mangled, gearing has been "re-adjusted" and the carbon frame is going to have to be inspected carefully. Very sad. I have two other friends that finished it. They're both strong riders, and said it was pretty tough.
With damage that extensive, I can't imagine the frame surviving. I think your friend is likely in the market for a new bike .
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Old 09-07-14, 10:31 PM
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Hi All:

Back home in TO after the epic Mammoth Fall Century and, as usual, all the memories of pain and suffering are fading and leaving only fond recollections of an incredible, scenic Century ride.

Many months ago a former bike racing friend/business client and I made a pact that we’d do the Mammoth Fall Century together. Somehow everything (mostly) came together and I departed solo for Mammoth after work on Wednesday. I had our condo to myself on Wednesday night as my friend John, his wife and 20-year old son followed on Thursday. Work commitments kept my wife at home.

Finding myself completely out of breath just carrying my duffel bag up the condo stairs told me all I needed to know about the amount of oxygen in the air in Mammoth Lakes…

Thursday morning I rode from our condo – just right up the hill from the Mammoth Village – to the Mammoth Scenic Loop. My considerable enjoyment sailing down the mountain at almost 50mph was considerably tempered by the knowledge that I’d be climbing right back up that hill to get home. But scenic it certainly was and I kept the effort fairly low while I explored the limitations of riding at 8000ft.

On Friday, John, his wife Liz and I loaded up my truck and headed for the June Lake Loop for a short warm-up ride. John only wanted to do 12 miles and that was fine with me – I wanted all the juice I could muster for the Century on Saturday.

John decided to do the 70 mile option and, despite some minor trepidation, I stayed with my plan to do the whole Century.

On Saturday morning the temperature was in the low 40s as I got my bike out in the dark and put on arm warmers, full gloves and a light windbreaker over my jersey and set off down to the start. Not sure if it was my best idea ever but after some hemming and hawing I decided to leave the leg warmers back at the condo. During the half-hour or so of waiting before the start I saw just about every imaginable manner of dress ranging from full summer to full winter attire. That only told me that no one else had any more clue how to dress than I did.

Eventually the announcer called the riders to the start. Gran Fondo competitors – the ones who paid a little extra for numbers and timing chips – were asked to line up first, followed by the Century riders. I slotted myself in about halfway back and waited for the start signal. I found myself next to a nice guy named Dave and, with a quick good-luck handshake, we clicked into our pedals and away we went. It was a pretty surreal feeling riding into the rising sun in a pack of over 1,000 riders of all shapes and sizes (not sure what the real numbers were) with a helicopter hovering above and police waving us down Main Street and onto the main highway. I can’t imagine how the pros do it; I spent most of my time worried about getting run into by one of my fellow riders and we weren’t packed anywhere nearly as tightly together as a pro peloton.

The first leg of the ride was north on the 395 – the main artery north to Yosemite Park. The Highway Patrol and local law enforcement kept the drivers slowed down and well away from us while the thick masses slowly began to thin out along the shoulder. It was easy to stay away from the traffic lane – deep ruts were embedded in the road were seriously teeth-rattling for any cyclists who got caught over them.

Around Mile 12 came our first real climb. Really nothing serious by SoCal standards – about three miles and 500 feet of gain and a nice way to warm up our frozen fingers and toes. At the top we found our first rest stop with the usual Century fare along with a nice woman helping riders bag up their newly-shed outerwear to drop at the finish. After checking to make sure there’d be another clothing drop at the next stop I decided to hang onto my warm layers a little longer.

The descent from the first rest stop was a blast – fifteen miles and 1500ft of descending straight down the highway with no worries at all except a fear of not finally hitting 50mph for my first time ever. I took full advantage of my Clyde status to rip past just about everybody I came across. At the bottom our route took a right onto the much more lightly-traveled Mono Lake Basin Road and along some truly spectacular scenery. There we all learned the price of a 1500 descent as we began our climb right back to 8000ft again where the kind organizers thoughtfully placed our second stop.

Then, zip! Back down we went what Strava calls the Sage Hen descent – another 10 miles and 1500 feet of high-speed descending. Then the party abruptly ended as we battled 15 miles of whoop-de-dos in a 20+mph headwind across the least photogenic part of the ride. It took a while but eventually I got myself into a decent paceline that made the ride bearable to the third rest stop. That stop had more legions of cheerful volunteers making sandwiches to order. One nice lady casually mentioned that the first group or riders had passed through a full two hours before us. Pretty darn impressive, that. Then she equally casually mentioned that the hardest climb of the entire ride was starting right down the road from us.

That nice lady wasn’t kidding. That six mile/1100ft climb through the high desert started at six percent, then rose to eight, then ten, then even hit 16 percent for a little stretch before the summit. And there, in another demonstration of the organizers’ skill, was the fourth rest stop. A lot of high-fives were tossed around at that rest stop.

The 15-mile section between the fourth, fifth and six rest stops provided yet another spectacular downhill followed by another long climb and then a long, relatively flat, section where we were finally able to ride without a headwind and the miles really flew by. Mile 75 has always been a really tough mark for me on prior rides but this time I was feeling pretty darn good. I got hooked up with a couple from NorCal and we got a smart little paceline going that had us sailing over the hills and vales as we enjoyed finally being rid of that damned headwind.

At the sixth stop I started to hear that what remained of the ride would be the hardest part yet. Meh. I’d driven the road and knew it was a long, relentless hill up the 395 before turning off to Mammoth Lakes where another hill would bring us home. How bad could it be? Well, during the section past the Mammoth Airport the headwinds got so bad that, along the nearly flat highway, I had my bike in the small ring and could barely crank out 9mph. It seemed like it was forever before I could get past that puny little Airport. Our route then turned off the highway onto a frontage road and there the final climb began with the headwinds blowing unabated.

Finally, at the highway underpass where the 395 and the Mammoth Lakes Road met, some of my fellow riders and I finally had to make an unscheduled stop and muster the energy for that last climb home. The final ten miles were accomplished purely by making myself keep turning the crank. At the 100-mile mark a group of volunteers had parked, chalked out a great big “100” on the shoulder and were handing out malted milk balls and cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon (!?) to the suffering riders . The thought of adding even the weight of a Pabst to my jersey was appalling and I couldn’t get my arm up fast enough to snag a packet of malted milk balls and doubt I could have opened them if I had.

Then there was just one little right turn and short hill to the finish line at the Mammoth Village where, when greeted by the announcer, I somehow managed to put my hands in the drops and stand up and “sprint” the last 30 feet through the finish. That got me a minor round of applause but also made it impossible for me to reach up to take one of the little wooden “Mammoth” finishing medals from the smiling volunteers. One was kind enough to bring me one as I was gingerly climbing off my bike.

Under a tree in the grassy area next to the finish like I took off my shoes and visited with a few fellow riders before heading over to the plaza for a few Sierra Nevada beers and a nice chicken buffet offered as part of the entry. There I ran into many of my new-found friends I’d met along the way and shared congratulations and thanks for the support and good company throughout this epic ride.

A few random notes:

• This was a beautifully organized and thoughtfully laid out event by a very professional group. A major undertaking with countless delights – large and small – and handled with exceptional grace. The Mammoth Fall Century deserves to be on any rider’s bucket list.

• There were many, many, more women than at the Mammoth Fall Century than I’d seen at any of the five or so others I’d done. And some of these women were impressively, impossibly beautiful, were fine riders, great company and added considerably to the already spectacular scenery.

• My Pinarello Big Dog(ma) bike didn’t miss a shift and was the best, most loyal partner a rider could have. On that one steep grade I wouldn’t have traded my 32-tooth cassette for anything in the world.

• Two Sierra Nevada Pale Ales in quick succession can have a significant effect at the tail end of a 100-mile bike ride.

• Assos bibs are worth the money.

• So are a Selle Italia Flite saddle, Di2 shifting, HED wheels and Veloflex Master tires.

• The altitude wasn’t any big deal but I was very glad I’d had those two days to get used to it. I might have been a bit faster if the same ride had been at sea level but who cares?

• Do what I did and, if you’ve never been there before, take an extra hour and drive up the Tioga Pass to the entrance to Yosemite National Park before heading home. You’ll be glad you did.

HD
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Old 09-07-14, 10:45 PM
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Dang, sounds like an epic adventure!

Except for the PBR part, what's up with that?
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