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Shall I Do It Again?

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Shall I Do It Again?

Old 02-28-14, 04:01 PM
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Shall I Do It Again?

Couplea years ago, I got frustrated with the fact that I always seemed to be busy whenever the Eastern Sierra Double was offered, so I decided to try to talk some friends into doing what I called the "Caldera Double" ... in the same area, but with a route modified here and there.

I'm thinking of doing it again, and that reminded me of the trip report for the ride ... which I offer below for your reading enjoyment:

Last Saturday, a milestone event in the history of the Eastern Sierra passed unnoticed to all but a privileged few ... the First Inagural Caldera Double Century.

The genesis of this ride is simple. I love riding in the Eastern Sierra. And my favorite ride in the world is the Eastern Sierra Double. It has it all ... great scenery, generally great weather, great climbs ... you name it.

But for the past several years, events conspired to keep me from doing the ride ... just plain bad timing. Then the thought occurred to me ... rather than carp about my schedule, why not organize the same ride with friends at a time convenient to us? And we could do it even one better by picking an even better route.

Well, it seemed like an even better route. You see, US395 is dotted with gas stations and restaurants, suitably spaced apart, so I reasoned that the ride could be self-supporting.

... except for the 50 miles or so between Lee Vining and Benton along Highway 120. My plan was to cache water and some food along the way the night before. Problem solved.

So I invited about 100 friends to the event. I got exactly one bite on the Double Century. Poor Ken ... he should have known better.

I found a way to incorporate a century into the ride, and that attracted two more people ... a grand total of two ... Jorge and Anny. And then, there are my friends John and Bill ... they would ride as far as they felt reasonable and turn around from there. That made six of us all together.

Although US395 has ample water, food, and restrooms, the Double Century would go from Lee Vining to Benton along Highway 120. As anyone can tell you, there is no water, food or restrooms whatsoever along that stretch. As a matter of fact, there is little to speak of at all, save for some pretty monsterous expansion cracks.

So Friday night before the ride found me driving on a dark and empty Highway 120, hunting in the creosote for places to hide caches of water and food. Actually ... “dark" doesn't begin to describe it. It was so utterly dark, there were no physical landmarks whatsoever, save for the glowing reflective signs in front of us. It was disorienting ... no small feat when you consider I know that route as only someone who has cycled it many times can.

Arriving at Adobe Meadows, I shoved a cooler between two giant creosote bushes. Glancing skyward, I could see the Milky Way on the horizon but not above. Uh oh. Black clouds. I hoped those clouds didn't rain on us the next day.

Driving home from the water drop off was a blur of wide-eyed suicidal jackrabbits and cottontails, yellow caution signs, and dashed white lines. It was now almost midnight ... not good, since I would be waking up a scant 3 hours later to drive down to Bishop and meet Ken for the start of the double century. I was ready to be home and in bed.

Finally, back home. I showered, got my stuff ready, and went to sleep ...

... for a measly three hours. I gotta start getting more sleep!

3:30 AM, I woke up, changed into bike clothes, loaded up the car, grabbed a Mountain Dew and headed down a very dark US395 to Bishop for the start of the ride.

I think I was somewhere near Tom's Place when I realized I forgot my water bottles. Crap. That made me over half an hour late meeting Ken for the start of our ride.

I met Ken at the La Quinta and got myself ready to ride as soon as I could. We had planned to meet the century riders at Footloose at 8:30 AM and we were already behind schedule. It was chillier than I expected, but I didn't want to take the time to put on a base layer, so I rolled it up and shoved it in my jersey. Just call me Quasimodo.



We headed down US395 to CA168 (Line Street), and right turned it toward the Sierra. There were few cars at this hour, so Ken and I rolled down the road, chatting each other up, side by side. Somewhere near the edge of town, we saw a 20ish man, laying on his side, peacefully sleeping on the shoulder. I'd have reported him for dead, but his arms were folded for a makeshift pillow ... not something you see with cadavers.

Never seen that before. I'd have snapped his picture. Still regretting that.

We wound our way though the side roads of Bishop, near Millpond Park and through the Round Valley. Rolling by sage, poplars, and cottonwoods, we warmed up slowly. The sun was up by the time we left turned onto the Old Sherwin Grade.



There is typically a headwind on this climb ... a product of the heavier colder air on top of Sherwin Summit flowing down to the warmer Round Valley below. Today it seemed a bit stronger than usual. The views were awesome.







The Sherwin Grade is a long climb, but not terribly steep. We made the summit in pretty good order, and turned up US395 for Tom's Place ... a few miles away.



Tom's Place has bathrooms, food, and water, so this was our first stop. I had promised to call the century riders from here, giving them time to leave their hotel rooms for the rendezvous at Footloose.



The ride from Tom's Place to Footloose went quickly. We passed the sled dog facility, and climbed 1000 feet or so into town, where Anny, Bill, Jorge and John were waiting. Yay!



John complimented my choice of tires.

"Nice tires ... those Conti 4000s are my favorites."

But he looked at them closer than I did.

"Say, there's a blister on your sidewall. Did you see that?”

As a matter of fact, I didn't. And I've had high speed blowouts before ... complete with broken bones and terrible road rash .... not something I want to repeat. I decided to get a new tire. Footloose has a great bike shop that came in mighty handy. I got a new tire, and installed it myself, idly chatting with customers about our ride. Fifteen minutes later, I was back on the road with some new rubber ... playing catch up.

From Footloose, the Caldera route heads up Old Mammoth Road to Lake Mary Road. This is essentially the back way into the Lakes Basin, and it is steep. Jorge later remarked that it got to about 18%. I believe it. But it has nice views of Mammoth Rock and passes through a quiet wooded forest. It’s really a better way up to Lake Mary than Lake Mary Road.

But boy, what a grunt. I climbed it in my lowest gear and had to stand up much of the way. And it doesn’t let up until you get right up to Lake Mary Road. I waited for Ken at the intersection, and we headed around Lake Mary. We ran into John at the Lake Mary Marina.



“Where’s Bill?”

“Inside using the restroom.”

“How’d you guys like the climb?”

The answer was something about how Bill wanting to wring my neck. I guess it was steeper than I thought. Jorge said it topped out at 18% ... ouch. No wonder.

I thought it best to head up the road before Bill got outta the bathroom, so Ken and I took off. We looped around the rest of Lake Mary, noting the building clouds.

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Old 02-28-14, 04:01 PM
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(cont)

And took the screaming descent down Lake Mary Road to Minaret



Now for the next climb. About 1500 feet to the top of Minaret Summit. The climb isn’t terribly steep or long, but there are other factors ... Ken mentioned something about wanting another lung.

I got to the top before Ken and used the time to put on my base layer and get a little water.

The descent from Minaret Vista is amazing. We were admonished not to pass anyone on the way down, but there was no traffic anyway. All we got were amazing views.



Near the bottom, the road U-turns South and heads to Red’s Meadow.

It’s hard to enjoy a descent when you know that ever inch you descend is one that you’ll just have to climb a short while later. Every time we rounded a corner, I hoped Red’s Meadow was there, but every time, it was still a little further down the road. It seemed to take forever.

Just below Red’s Meadow, we saw Anny, and chatted her up a bit. She took a wrong turn to the Devil’s Postpile trailhead, but was now back on track. She didn’t know where Jorge was, but I knew we would see him.

And he was right there at the Red’s Meadow General Store.



We all got some food and some water and chatted a while. None of us were looking forward to the climb out. We knew it would be steep and long. And those white puffy clouds from the morning were now darkening. Uh oh.

Ken and Jorge started up while I bought some water and mixed in some Cytomax. I spied a couple of backpackers, fresh out of the backcountry.

“I know what you’re going to do ... the restaurant’s open.”

“We’re just here to get supplies. Are you going to ride all the way back up the hill? That’s a long way.”

I assured them I was ... or at least, I intended to.

“It’s a lot easier than carrying that backpack of yours all over creation.”

They laughed and allowed that I might be right. They were cyclists too, but being from Michigan, didn’t have much experience with long climbs.

I screwed up my courage and mounted the bike for the ride out. It was actually a pleasant climb, the road terracing its way higher and higher. And there was little or no traffic to contend with. I caught Ken and Jorge somewhere short of Starkweather Lake. We snapped a few pix, and continued on. Anxious to get to Minaret Summit and within cellphone coverage, I left Ken and Jorge behind on the climb and headed up the hill.



“B-o-o-m.”

Uh oh. Lightning. I hate lightning. I didn’t see a flash, though ... and it didn’t sound too close.





The climb is actually very doable until about half-way up. Then it gets steep and punishing. I pushed hard until I got to the top at the ranger kiosk.

“You got here just in time. It’s supposed to start raining. They are getting a lot of rain North of here. Highway 120 may be closed for flash flooding.”

Peachy. My cellphone rang.

“Yea, this is John. Bill and I just sat and watched a 30 minute hailstorm from the June Lake Junction. We’re packing it in.”

Can’t argue with that. Truth is, as the “organizer,” I felt responsible for everyone on the ride and was glad they were packing it in if the conditions warranted. That’s good judgment.

BTW, here is what it looked like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6znk...layer_embedded

A little later, I got a call from Anny. She was down at the 203/Scenic Loop junction, and she was getting rained on as well.



“Go down the 203 and hole up in the condo for a while. If it lets up, you can head back out.”

She agreed.

It had just started to rain when Ken and Jorge arrived. After a short discussion, we decided to jacket up, and to ride down to the Scenic Loop cutoff and make our decision from there. That, of course, took no time at all, and soon enough it was decision time.

The score? One to quit, one to keep going, and one on the fence. I voted that we keep going because it looked to be clearing to the North, and that was the direction we were headed. Jorge voted to quit because there was spotty rain everywhere and we would surely be caught in it no matter what direction we went. Ken was on the fence because he’s a rational, sane person.

Ultimately, logic and reason did not prevail. Jorge went back to the condo, Ken and I continued.

We rode down the Scenic Loop, all the while knowing that if it *did* start raining, it would be a slow slog back up the hill to the condo. We had passed the point of no return.

But arriving at US395 and looking North, we couldn’t believe our luck. It was clear, and the weather was finally warming. Could it be that all the thunderstorming was over? Could we be that lucky?



Ken needed water, so we stopped at the Crestview rest stop. A car pulled up.

“Excuse me ... which way are you going?”

“North, up to Lee Vining.”

“You don’t want to do that. We just came from that direction, and it was raining and hailing really hard. We had to stop on the road because we couldn’t see where we were going.”

I glanced northward. It looked clear.

She reiterated. “I’m not kidding.”

Hmmm. Unsolicited advice. The most sincere kind. And probably the most accurate. And if I didn’t think so, there was always the second motorist, who, unsolicited as well, told me essentially the same thing.

What did we do? We kept going north. We couldn’t believe our luck. All it did was get warmer and clearer as we went along. Could we be this lucky?



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Old 02-28-14, 04:03 PM
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(cont)

We got to June Lake Junction and turned into the short climb to Oh! Ridge. There are rumble strips along the side of the road here, and they irritate me every time I pass them.

You should know that when bicycles hit rumble strips at just the right speed, the tires bounce and float on them, and it becomes very easy to lose control. My bud Saralie had a wicked crash into a guard rail because of rumble stripping, and it took her months to recover.

Supposedly sensitive to those concerns, rumble stripping is supposed to be installed only where there is a larger shoulder than usual, and Caltrans is supposed to sweep the side of the road more often than otherwise to keep the non-rumble stripped area clear. Rumble strips are supposedly designed to keep autos ... presumably driven by sleepy or inattentive drivers ... from leaving the road.

Tell me now ... how likely is it that someone who successfully negotiated a left turn from US395 to the June Lake Loop would fall asleep just moments later on the drive between the Junction and Oh! Ridge? Pretty much zero. Caltrans was told as much and installed them anyway.



Caltrans also discovered that they couldn’t widen the shoulder as planned, because of some trees just before Oh! Ridge were in the way and they did not want to remove them (they didn’t survey this in advance?). Did that stop the rumble stripping? Nope.

And as for the sweeping of the shoulder? You guessed it. It is not swept any more than anywhere else. And in the narrowest part, the shoulder to the right of the rumble stripping is pretty much all gravel. Worse yet, the ruble stripping does not stop before the right turn lane at the top of Oh! Ridge. Cyclists are force to go over it, or risk a dangerous maneuver crossing in front of the right hand turn lane. Someone, sometime, is going to be hurt there.

The final slap in the face is that the same trees Caltrans did not want to remove are now dying of bark beetle infestation. Oy.

Anyway, that’s my rant. When you're driving on this section of the Loop and you see see cyclists riding to the left of the fog line instead of the right, thank Caltrans.

*Sigh*

Ken noticed something.

“Look, there’s still snow.”

“I don’t think that’s snow. I think that’s hail from the hailstorm John and Bill sat through. You know ... the one they told us to avoid.”

But it was sunny now, so we kept going.

The ride over the June Lake Loop was spectacular as always. We got a couple of snapshots of June Lake, and swooped down into town. Ordinarily, I’d stop for a beer, but it was getting late, so we moved on.

Horsetail Falls was really going off ... I’ve never seen so much water in it.



The aspens were beautiful as always.



Even Grant Lake was calm and beautiful.



We spied another cyclist just before the northern terminus of the June Lake Loop. It was Anny! Apparently, she decided to venture out after the storm had passed. We made our left turn and caught her on the way to Lee Vining and the Whoa Nellie Deli.

I tell you ... I was happy to get there. The original plan was to be at the WND for lunch, and with all the delays (and a route front-loaded with a lot of climbing), it was nearly 5PM when we arrived ... more like dinnertime than lunch time. And we were all tired and hungry.

I ordered the Jambalaya and hot coffee. It had cleared, but it never really warmed up. I spent a lot of the day feeling cooler than I wanted. Both the Jambalaya and the coffee tasted divine. It was nice to sit down on a seat larger than a coffee cup too.



We lingered and discussed our options.

The original plan for the double century was to head over Highway 120 to Benton, then return to Bishop. The problem was that the skies were looking mighty black in that direction, and there were rumors of flash floods on that route. If we found ourselves in a thunderstrom over on Sagehen Pass, we would be as exposed as exposed could be, with little prospect of a rescue ... there is zero cell service out there.

A short discussion later, we decided to head back to Bishop via US395. At least that would offer cell service if we needed it, and some duck-out points along the way. We had only gone 120 miles or so at this point, so we had a long way to go.

Just before we left, we snapped a picture.



Turning south on US395, things began to get ugly. It was now apparent that the skies were not finished raining, and these were no ordinary everyday come-and-go thunderstorms. It had rained hard, cleared, and now ... it was about ready to rain again. It was already raining and lightning over Mt. Wood.



Our hope was to skirt the rainstorm and get to the June Lake Junction reasonably dry. Somewhere along the way I saw the second strange sight of the day. Remember the gent snoozing on the shoulder along Route 168 outside of Bishop? Well, this time we saw an upscale Specialized mountain bike ... perhaps a $2000 bike ... leaning up against the sage and rabbitbrush on the side of the road. About 30 feet away from the bike, a clearly homeless man in a dirty suit and a scraggly beard lay sleeping, his arms crossed to form a pillow for his head.

If it weren’t for the fact that Anny and Ken saw it too, I would have thought it an apparition of some sort.

No time to think about that now. Looking ahead, it is clear we are in for a deluge.

It’s starting to rain. Oy, I hate riding in rain.

Riding in the rain is wrong on so many levels. Yes, is it uncomfortable to have your chamois and shoes turn into a sponge. Yes, it can be cold. But there is more.

Rain makes you harder to see and makes it harder for you to see. It slickens the road, particularly painted and metal surfaces. It washes debris onto the road and increases flats. Rain and grime gets into bearings and makes your bike a mess. It even washes all of the dry lube off of your chain. Rain truly sucks.

But like it or not, rain was on the menu. The question was how much. I looked at my VDO and noticed that in spite of the fact that it was only 6PM, it was 52 degrees. It was effing dark too. Almost like night time.



“C-r-a-c-k.”

Much as I hate riding in rain, I hate riding in lightning storms even more. The reasons are obvious.

“B-o-o-m.”

The pitter-patter of raindrops on my jacket intensify, little by little. Within minutes, it is literally pouring, and we are all completely soaked. There is more than an inch of water on the ground.

As we started up the Deadman Grade, I noticed a little hail in the mix. Peachy.

After a long, wet climb, we pulled into June Lake Junction and discussed our options. Anny had parked her car there, and had decided to pack it in for the day. Something about lightning and cycling being a bad mix. Hard to argue with that logic. Ken and I were hemming and hawing when a couple emerged from the store.

“Were you those guys out there riding your bikes in that hail? You’re our heroes!”

Nice of them to say that, but I wasn’t feeling particularly heroic.

“Never confuse heroism with stupidity.”

They laughed, but I was serious.

After a short discussion and a look in all directions, we decided that it would be best to pack it in. I didn’t like it, but it was the safe, reasonable thing to so.

Fortunately, the Annywagon is a minivan, and there was plenty of room for all of us to stow our bikes and get inside. The van was outfitted for cycling, with all kinds of stuff inside ... even a makeshift bed. Kinda cool, actually.



Anny is very petite, and suggested that she get in back where there was less room, and have Ken or I drive. The driver’s seat wasn’t easily adjustable, so that meant I was the best choice. I looked at the odometer.

“497,000 miles! How do you get a car to last that long?!?”

“I just take care of it.”

Apparently, so. I thought I was doing pretty good to get 250,000+ miles on some of my cars.

The Annywagon ran pretty well, too. Rather than head to Mammoth, Anny insisted she take us down to Bishop to fetch our cars. I was glad to be somewhere warm and dry. With any luck, my chamois would dry out soon. My shoes? Those took over a week to dry out.

We got back to Bishop and chatted over a cup of Starbucks. In the end, you could consider the weekend a failure. No one complete the ride they set out to do. Ken and I ended up with 130 miles, not 200. Anny and Jorge ended up with under 100 miles, and Bill and John ... well ... I guess the did do the ride they intended ... they rode until they wanted to stop, which is what they intended to do in the first place.

But on the other hand, it was a great adventure. The route, although too heavily front loaded with climing, was truly beautiful and challenging. And the weather was the star of the show again, shredding our plans, but making the day’s ride more of an adventure than it otherwise would have been.

So in the end, I think I’ll try to plan it again for next summer. What changes will I make? I dunno ... I'll think about it ... I’ll figure something out. Things are looking up.

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Old 02-28-14, 08:45 PM
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"Being run over by a dumptruck full of awesome" hardly seems an adequate description.
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Old 02-28-14, 10:15 PM
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That was an awesome read, thanks for taking the time to do the write up and post it.
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Old 03-01-14, 07:18 AM
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Sweet ride report!! Thanks for taking the time to write it! I rolled outta' the rack this morning, read it, and now feel like I should change out of this rain soaked kit. Kinda' tired, too! But it was a good (virtual) ride; thanks for organizing it.

Can I sign up now for your next event (virtual, via ride report)? If it's still fun for you, I'd suggest you take up the 'cause again.
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Old 03-01-14, 07:39 AM
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Wonderful report thanks. Makes me wanna go do some crazy ride.

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Old 03-01-14, 08:04 AM
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I rarely make it through those long ones, but that was well written. Good job, but dude, I would not even roll out of my driveway on just three hours of sleep.
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Old 03-01-14, 08:11 AM
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I'll have to go back later to read when I have more time, but the pictures are awesome!
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Old 03-01-14, 09:13 AM
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I gotta move.
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Old 03-01-14, 03:54 PM
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Great read and write. Love the pictures. What time of year was it? I ride most of these roads at least once during the summer but never did the descent/ascent to Red's Meadow. I have driven there and it seems like a tough bike ride. I usually throw in the climbs from Bishop to So. Lake and Sabrina and the road to Yosemite out of Lee Vining. The Eastern sierra is some of the best riding on the planet. Have you guys done the "Markleville Death Ride"? That is a "must" also.
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Old 03-01-14, 06:33 PM
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Thanks!

We did that ride in July. Not usually a terrible time in terms of thunderstorms, but that year, they had some doozies. Here is a thread from someone hiking up Mt. Whitney ... I think it was the same weekend.

https://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthr...9_11#Post16872

The Red's Meadow descent/ascent really isn't all that bad. The only really steep part is the last mile or so down from Minaret Summit. Much easier than the other climbs you've already done.

It's a beautiful descent and climb too, and in the summer, very few cars, cuz only campers with permits down there or tour buses are allowed in. Go for it!

I did the death ride back in 2006. And now that you mention it, I got caught in a thunderstorm there too! Ho-ly crap, was that frightening ... I saw a bolt hit a tree about 50 yards () away! That is waaaay too close.

I've also done Alta Alpina's 8-pass challenge (same as the DR, but they throw in Luther Pass, Blue Lakes and Kingsbury). That one taught me something. On the DR, you climb Monitor first, right? And even thought long stretches are 9% or so, it was no big deal. But on the 8 Pass challenge, Monitor is the last climb, and oy, does that 9% hurt!

Anyway ... you're absolutely right about the riding up there. And the skiing, and the hiking, and picture taking and fishing and ....
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Old 03-02-14, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395
Thanks!

We did that ride in July. Not usually a terrible time in terms of thunderstorms, but that year, they had some doozies. Here is a thread from someone hiking up Mt. Whitney ... I think it was the same weekend.

https://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthr...9_11#Post16872

The Red's Meadow descent/ascent really isn't all that bad. The only really steep part is the last mile or so down from Minaret Summit. Much easier than the other climbs you've already done.

It's a beautiful descent and climb too, and in the summer, very few cars, cuz only campers with permits down there or tour buses are allowed in. Go for it!

I did the death ride back in 2006. And now that you mention it, I got caught in a thunderstorm there too! Ho-ly crap, was that frightening ... I saw a bolt hit a tree about 50 yards () away! That is waaaay too close.

I've also done Alta Alpina's 8-pass challenge (same as the DR, but they throw in Luther Pass, Blue Lakes and Kingsbury). That one taught me something. On the DR, you climb Monitor first, right? And even thought long stretches are 9% or so, it was no big deal. But on the 8 Pass challenge, Monitor is the last climb, and oy, does that 9% hurt!

Anyway ... you're absolutely right about the riding up there. And the skiing, and the hiking, and picture taking and fishing and ....
That 9% climb though on Monitor was balanced with the same 9% descent to 395. That was only the second time I was over 60 mph for a significant time. The other time was Panamint Grade coming out of Death Valley on the DV Mount Whitney RR. When I started doing DR we started out from Markleville to Daggat then later they changed it to Monitor down to 395 and back to get 5 passes. I am usually up there in July and the end of August. Even though we are roadies we also get some mountain biking in at Mammoth. When does Alta Alpina do their ride. I hadn't heard of it.
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Old 03-02-14, 04:52 PM
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Let me get this straight. You post spectacular pictures that make us extremely envious of your opportunity, and then you ask if you should do it again? Do I have that right?
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Old 03-02-14, 07:00 PM
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I don't know Victor, but I'll think about it. Are you interested in having Chuck Bramwell certify it as a CAL Triple Crown event?

If so, you could do it this year as the qualifier to have it certified for 2015. Or are you worried about a conflict with Debby the Eastern Sierra Double?

I know Anny very well, Victor fairly well, and Ken somewhat too, so if these three would do it, I should ride it too. From the description it sounds like it has a lot more climbing than the Planet Ultra Easter Sierra Double. Maybe I missed in the narrative above, but how many feet of climbing if we complete the 200 miles?

Plus, I think you'd get lots more riders if you had a real checkpoint out there on 120 and one or two SAG vehicles on the course. On the other hand, this would require more organization, which equals work (oy!) to put the whole thing on.

Finally, where was Stefan? When it comes to over the top rides of adventure (and Miles of Unusual Size) he's usually right in the thick of it!

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Old 03-02-14, 07:37 PM
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Wow! That was cool.
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Old 03-02-14, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR
I don't know Victor, but I'll think about it. Are you interested in having Chuck Bramwell certify it as a CAL Triple Crown event?

If so, you could do it this year as the qualifier to have it certified for 2015. Or are you worried about a conflict with Debby the Eastern Sierra Double?

I know Anny very well, Victor fairly well, and Ken somewhat too, so if these three would do it, I should ride it too. From the description it sounds like it has a lot more climbing than the Planet Ultra Easter Sierra Double. Maybe I missed in the narrative above, but how many feet of climbing if we complete the 200 miles?

Plus, I think you'd get lots more riders if you had a real checkpoint out there on 120 and one or two SAG vehicles on the course. On the other hand, this would require more organization, which equals work (oy!) to put the whole thing on.

Finally, where was Stefan? When it comes to over the top rides of adventure (and Miles of Unusual Size) he's usually right in the thick of it!

Rick / OCRR
Nah. The reason I wanted to put this ride together was because I kept missing the Eastern Sierra Double. The last thing I want to do is organize a ride that would reduce participation in the ESD. The notion was to do it more brevet style ... getting water water and food along the way where it's available. No problem anywhere near US395 ... there is plenty off food, water, and cellphone coverage along that entire route. It gets dicey on the 120 between the 395 junction and Benton, which is why I cached food and water in those two spots (near Mono Mills and Adobe Meadows).

The one thing I would really like to do is have a sag vehicle patrolling that stretch ... just in case something went wrong and help was needed.

I'll dig up a map of the route, but it is the same as the ESD route, except:

(1) We exclude the looping around Bishop at the beginning of the ride, and head right up Highway 168.
(2) Instead of going up Highway 203 to the Mammoth Scenic Loop and back over to US395, we took Old Mammoth Road up to the Mammoth Lakes Basin. The climb though Old Mammoth is a road many have not seen, and there is a forested (and steep) road that leads to the Lakes Basin that is really sweet. After looping around Lake Mary, we headed down to the 203 and took it all the way to Red's Meadow. Then, back out to US395 by the scenic loop.
(3) Instead of heading to that park at the North end of Mono Lake for Subway sandwiches, we went to the Whoa Nellie Deli. Gourmet food, real chairs to sit in, and if the weather turned ugly (as it did), we had shelter.
(4) From there, we follow the usual route ... 203 to Highway 6.

(2) above adds a lot of climbing. I'm gonna say maybe 3500 feet? But that's not the problem ... the problem was that it front loaded all the climbing, so you arrive would to lunch later in the day. If I do it again, I would ride up to Minaret Summit for the view, but not down to Red's Meadow.

I think we did this back in 2011 ... I hadn't met the crazy Romanian yet.

I really think I might plan to try to do it again next year ... I really think the route actually improves on the ESD.
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Old 03-02-14, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395
I think we did this back in 2011 ... I hadn't met the crazy Romanian yet.

I really think I might plan to try to do it again next year ... I really think the route actually improves on the ESD.
Okay, thanks Victor! That explains a lot. Oh, and Stefan is the crazy Bulgarian (not Romanian) . . . but you knew that!

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Old 03-02-14, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR
Okay, thanks Victor! That explains a lot. Oh, and Stefan is the crazy Bulgarian (not Romanian) . . . but you knew that!

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Ah, crap ... you're right! He and I were gonna do some skiing today, but my flippin work schedule got in the way again. :-(
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Old 03-03-14, 08:07 AM
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BTW ... here is the planned route. Ridewithgps sez total climb is about 14K.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/570067
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Old 03-03-14, 10:58 AM
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looks like a great route, Biker395. I agree with Rick, you should do it again. and if your pics are any indication of the Eastern Sierra double, I definitely need to add that double to my bucket list.
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Old 03-03-14, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by az_cyclist
looks like a great route, Biker395. I agree with Rick, you should do it again. and if your pics are any indication of the Eastern Sierra double, I definitely need to add that double to my bucket list.
You should! The Eastern Sierra Double is my favorite. And if the weather cooperates, it is one of the easier doubles.

Are you a member of the Bullshifters? They typically volunteer the ride and do the staff ride the next day.
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Old 03-03-14, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395
You should! The Eastern Sierra Double is my favorite. And if the weather cooperates, it is one of the easier doubles.

Are you a member of the Bullshifters? They typically volunteer the ride and do the staff ride the next day.
Yes, I am a member of the Arizona Bull Shifters. I know several Bulls who have ridden the Eastern Sierra, but none that have volunteered.

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