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Is Anyone Doing the Alta Sierra Challenge?

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Is Anyone Doing the Alta Sierra Challenge?

Old 03-15-07, 07:47 PM
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Is Anyone Doing the Alta Sierra Challenge?

It looks interesting, I'm thinking about giving it a shot.

https://www.kernwheelmen.org/rides/alta_sierra/index.asp
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Old 03-16-07, 10:51 AM
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Hey John,
I thought you were doing the Mullholland Challenge this day?
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Old 03-16-07, 11:32 AM
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Nope, I guess I should, though, it is closer. Then again, I like the Sierras and if no one else is doing it then no one can report back that they saw me passed out along the side of the road after only 10 miles!
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Old 03-16-07, 12:16 PM
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John, take a look at the High Sierra Fall Century - Mammoth Lakes - Sept 2007 that I posted about here:

https://www.bikeforums.net/southern-california/261147-high-sierra-fall-century-mammoth-lakes-sept-2007-a.html

It looks AWESOME
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Old 03-16-07, 12:25 PM
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I have to see the dates but it looks like fun.
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Old 03-16-07, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jpconrad
I have to see the dates but it looks like fun.
I rode this 2 years ago and it is a great ride. Once you leave out of Bakersfield and start to climb up to Alta Sierra (Shirley Meadows Ski Resort) you get in to the foothills then into the pines. From Glennville to the top is the hardest part of the ride. On the way back there are some hills, but mostly it is downhill. The support and food at the end of the ride are very good. I'm going to ride most of the ride this weekend as a training ride if you what to join in, Sunday 7AM. PM me if you would like to go.
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Old 03-17-07, 07:34 PM
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Thanks, DanteB, I wish I could take you up on your offer, but I did Vertical Bob's ride today and don't think I have it in me to do this tomorrow.

I am seriously considering doing the Alta Sierra Challenge, however, it looks like fun and I bet the ride is beautiful.
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Old 03-17-07, 10:12 PM
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No problem, if you do the ride let me know maybe we can meet.
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Old 03-18-07, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jpconrad
It looks interesting, I'm thinking about giving it a shot.

https://www.kernwheelmen.org/rides/alta_sierra/index.asp
I almost did this ride last year. It goes WAY up above the Kern River I think. I think the long ride does some really steep stuff, cool. Maybe do it.
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Old 03-19-07, 11:18 PM
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I rode part of this route yesterday. At mile 37, you've already done 2,200' of climbing, you start up towards Glennville with a climb of 5.6% for 5.5 miles. After Glennville starts the real climbing. The loop I did yesterday didn't include the leg from Glennville to Alta Sierra. I had 4,800' feet of climbing and the Century has 10,000'. I'll try to go back and find how long and steep the climb from Glennville to Alta Sierrs is.
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Old 03-19-07, 11:49 PM
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Cool, it sounds like fun. I see they give you a drop bag to bring you cold weather gear to Glenville or the summit, I wonder if you have to choose, or if they'll meet you at Grenville and give you the option to get it then or wait until the summit?

Do you know if the ride sells out, I see they have a 600 rider limit?
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Old 03-20-07, 12:04 AM
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No it doesn't sell out. If I remember it was either the top or Glennville, I would take the top. I did this ride 2 years ago in January, about 2-3 feet of snow at the top. I never got cold going up, but coming down I don't think I own enough clothing. I was looking at the climb from Glennville to Alta Sierra, it's 12.62 miles and you climb 3,625'. I think that works out to be 5.4% overall with some steep areas in the climb. Coming back down to Glennville is great fun, just make sure you have good brakes.
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Old 03-20-07, 12:08 AM
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I was thinking of having the drop at the summit, as well. Hmm, I wonder if I have warm enough clothes?

How was the SAG support for the ride?
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Old 03-20-07, 02:15 PM
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The weather should be fine by then. If you noticed it was January when it was so cold. I was up there Sunday and it was 78 degrees. When I did the ASC 2 years ago I didn't have any cloths dropped. Just watch the weather. As the ride gets closer PM me and I will let you what the weather is like it the top of hill.
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Old 04-02-07, 01:30 PM
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I signed up for this today but it looks like no one else is doing it.
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Old 04-02-07, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jpconrad
I signed up for this today but it looks like no one else is doing it.
John, I'm not doing it, too many other things going on that day. It should be a beautiful day, the weather has been great here. What day are you coming up? I'll PM you my cell# give me a call.
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Old 04-02-07, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DanteB
John, I'm not doing it, too many other things going on that day. It should be a beautiful day, the weather has been great here. What day are you coming up? I'll PM you my cell# give me a call.
Due to time constraints on Friday I'm doing the insane thing and driving up the day of, it's only roughly 120 miles and after Solvang I know what 4 AM looks like now.

I do think I may stay the night, however, and come back the next morning. Once it gets closer to the weekend and I have more of a clue I'll give you a call and see if we can grab some dinner.

Thanks Dante!
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Old 04-02-07, 03:01 PM
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Dante, what city should I look for to get a semi realistic weather forecast?
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Old 04-15-07, 11:35 PM
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Since I think I was the only one who did this I'm not going to create a separate report and picture thread...

Alta Sierra Challenge - April 14, 2007

When I hit the Bakersfield city limits on Friday, I called DanteB and let him know I’d be along soon. DanteB was kind enough to let me stay at his place for the weekend, and I was very happy to oblige him. After we brought in my luggage – I don’t travel light – Dante gave me a tour of his home. He’s in the middle of remodeling and doing a great job, I wish I had the skills or patience he has, but when I’ve tried my hand at it I usually stop after I create a big hole. Anyway, Dante and his wife took me to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner, and then let me run into the Trader Joes for my breakfast foods – currently I’m eating blueberry swirl bread with peanut butter before a ride – and it was bake to their home. I got to bed somewhere around 11:15 pm; I really need to figure out how to get to bed earlier.

At 5 am I hoped out of bed, or more like dragged myself out of bed, and headed to the kitchen to get my breakfast, got my bottles filled, packed up the van, and headed to the starting area at 6:10 or so. Registration and check in was supposed to start at 6:15, but when I arrived they weren’t ready, yet. They finally got set up 5-10 minutes later, I checked in, was given a route sheet and an wrist band, and then I when back to my minivan to finish getting the bike ready, choose the jersey I was going to wear, and hit the road. The Garmin shows I started the timer at 6:35, so I probably got on the road at 6:40 or so.

The first few miles of the ride was on a bike path, but at this time of day there wasn’t anyone on it except for the few riders of the Alta Sierra. After the bike path, the ride turns onto a city street/highway for a bit and heads out of town. Pretty quickly you’re out in the country in what looked like ranchland with the occasional oil well, cattle, and sparse trees. All this time I was watching the elevation slowly tick up, and except for a couple downhill sections the ride into the first SAG stop was generally uphill. Good.

As I was coming into the first SAG I started to get some really bad pain in my right knee, something that I had happen at this mileage on a ride Wednesday, and I started to get worried that I wouldn’t be able to work it out. The SAG stop had just gotten set up before I arrived, but it was pretty slim pickings to begin with.

The food at all the stops wasn’t memorable, pb&j, oranges, apples, bananas, some pre-mixed Gatorade, water, and some Hammer powder, I don’t remember which. What was interesting was the lack of gels, bars, or really anything to though in your pocket except for half bananas. Oh well, I wasn’t here for the food anyway.

I waited around the SAG stop for a bit to see which way we were supposed to go, while the route slip wasn’t complicated it wasn’t written like any others I’ve had, and another group had gone by on the other road (turns out they weren’t part of the ride). I finally got my bearings and set out again. The knee pain came back quickly and soon I was suffering pretty badly, but I noticed that standing alleviated it, so I don’t think it was actually something to do with the joint.

Anyway, you take a decent country road for a while, generally climbing, winding your way through the countryside. This road, while it looked to be in good condition, had evidentially been ridden on by a lot of tractors or something, because they left tracks all over it that vibrated the bike like crazy and was almost impossible to avoid. Cool, now I can think about this instead of my knee. After a nice downhill stretch you go through a place called Woody. I wouldn’t call it a town, that would be a little grandiose, but it did have a Post Office. After Woody, the climbing started in earnest. I slowly started passing the riders that had passed me earlier, not that I was moving that quickly, I wasn’t, but I do make a pretty consistent pace up hills. I would hang behind a rider for a little bit, then at one of the steeper sections slowly pass them. I was conserving myself, this was going to be more climbing than I had done previously, and I didn’t want to run out of steam climbing into Alta Sierra. Also, Dante had warned me that there would be a few climbs on the return trip, so I wanted to make it up those, too.

Another downhill – the roads were really good at this point – and a few rollers and you’re into the town of, let me see… Glennville, population, oh say 100? I refilled my bottles, used the porta potty, noticed there still wasn’t anything I wanted to eat, and started the climb to Alta Sierra. At Glennville you’re at 3000 feet and 42 miles into the ride, while Alta Sierra was at 54.8 and an elevation of 6100 feet so there’s at least 3000 feet of climbing over the next 13 or so miles. A lot of the riders were heading back from Glennville, only a few had continued on up to Alta Sierra. I was feeling good, now, my knee problems were history, so I was of course heading on up.

The road was passing through more scrub brush; the trees were getting thicker, and somewhere around 4000 feet was the first few patches of snow along side the road in the shade. Oh, and it was getting a bit colder, too. I started riding along with a woman from Frazier Park at this point that had done this ride a couple years earlier. When I had said that it wasn’t that bad up until now she told me to just wait, it would get a lot worse.

We climbed pretty steadily, with some occasionally nice downhill stretches. I started looking around at the road, trying to make note of where there was sand from the snowplows, and I was also thinking about how these downhill’s would become uphill’s on the return. Yippee, more climbing!

Anyway, at mile 53 or so we 5100 feet and I started to think that maybe I had read it wrong and maybe Alta Sierra was at 5100 feet, but that’s when the real climbing started. For the next mile we went up 1000 feet, most of which was on sandy roads pitching upwards around 10% with some parts going closer to 20, at least that’s what the Garmin was saying and that’s how it felt. The last half mile to the summit my chain developed a stuck link, which drove me crazy and wouldn’t allow me to get out of the saddle anymore. I passed a couple more riders here, and had someone pass me flying by uphill like I was standing still. Impressive!

At the top they had chicken noodle soup, but only enough cups left for 7 riders. Since I didn’t know if the soup would cause me problems, and I was feeling pretty good, I passed on the soup. Oh, and we couldn’t figure out which link was stuck because it wouldn’t do it anymore. The SAG volunteer drenched my chain and read derailleur in oil; I had a couple pretzels, filled my bottles, and got ready to leave. I had a jacket in a drop bad to wear down, but I decided not to use it. Oh, and the wind started to whip up and it got a lot colder, but I felt that I was dressed okay for the decent.

At the top...

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Old 04-16-07, 08:57 AM
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John, great report! You did a good job. It was our pleasure having you here. Come up anytime and bring the gang, I've got other roads we can ride.
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Old 04-16-07, 09:00 AM
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Nice report so far, John, but I want to know the rest!!! Also, that knee issue may be an alignment issue (or at least that is what I've always been told whenever I have knee problems). You shouldn't have to suffer with it and you sure don't want to injure it! Anyway, post the rest of your ride report, unless getting to the summit is the end of the ride? Also, overall did you love it, hate it...meh?
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Old 04-16-07, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by merider1
Nice report so far, John, but I want to know the rest!!! Also, that knee issue may be an alignment issue (or at least that is what I've always been told whenever I have knee problems). You shouldn't have to suffer with it and you sure don't want to injure it! Anyway, post the rest of your ride report, unless getting to the summit is the end of the ride? Also, overall did you love it, hate it...meh?
I'm still trying to figure out what the knee thing is. I was told that there's a tendon, I think, that it could be and I need to stretch it out prior to riding, and it still could be a mis-aligned cleat, which I'll check out again today.

I'll finish the report later after work today probably. In general, I liked most of the route, SAG support was decent, I did see their cars, but the SAG food needs work. I will not be doing the Spooktacular this year, though, as it conflicts with Solvang, but I do plan on going up some weekend to join Dante for some hill climbing.
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Old 04-16-07, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by DanteB
John, great report! You did a good job. It was our pleasure having you here. Come up anytime and bring the gang, I've got other roads we can ride.
I'll definitely be back. Do you have anything higher than the Alta Sierra?
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Old 04-16-07, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jpconrad
I'm still trying to figure out what the knee thing is. I was told that there's a tendon, I think, that it could be and I need to stretch it out prior to riding, and it still could be a mis-aligned cleat, which I'll check out again today.

I'll finish the report later after work today probably. In general, I liked most of the route, SAG support was decent, I did see their cars, but the SAG food needs work. I will not be doing the Spooktacular this year, though, as it conflicts with Solvang, but I do plan on going up some weekend to join Dante for some hill climbing.
Well, awesome job, my friend! And, yes, hill climbing in that area is amazing.
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Old 04-16-07, 10:04 AM
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Here's the data from the Garmin:

Total Time: 9:00:04
Moving Time: 7:53:43
Distance: 108.45
Moving Speed 13.7 avg, 44.4 max
Elevation Gain: 11,046 ft
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