Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Return to Markleeville or Tour of the California Alps part II

This weekend we went back up to the Sierra. I took Dan to his race early Saturday morning and headed off on the bike to climb Carson Pass, the final pass of the death ride route. The climb is in three parts over about 14 miles. First a climb up to Pickett's junction from Woodford. Next, a very gradual grade winding through a mountain meadow. Finally, the 1500 foot climb up to the summit of the pass. None of this is particularly steep except for a bit in the last mile or so.

I had a most enjoyable climb! Car traffic was minimal due to my early start and the air was quite clear despite the forest fires in the area. I reached Pickett's junction and pedaled through the meadow enjoying the view (pictured above).

The steeper bit started next, and my pace slowed due to the grade, a moderate headwind and the effects of altitude on my heart rate. I stopped to admire the view of a mountain lake, then made my way to the top. There I hung out a bit, chatting with a college student who was riding from Indiana to SF. He had climbed the pass in a 38-21 gear, towing a 40 lb loaded trailer. Oh, to be young again...

Then the descent. I hit 54 mph on the upper region, aided by a tailwind. And maintained a fairly fast pace back to Diamond Valley, where I hung around the race and tried to hand up water bottles to guys in Dan's club. After the race, we headed back to Markleeville for ice cream, a visit to the hot springs and some lolling around the river by our campsite. Nice!

We woke up Sunday to dense smoke, apparently from the fire near Yosemite. We decided to ride to Minden taking backroads, about a 25 mile trip each way. As we climbed up gorgeous Airport Rd, we wondered why this hadn't been included in the road race. The answer was provided when the road turned to dirt! It seemed quite rideable so we proceeded, winding past another pretty lake and up and down some short climbs. The surface was pretty firm, though there was severe washboarding on some of the descents. Made me excited for cross season! The scenery was gorgeous and it always feels adventuresome to ride on dirt on the road bike!

We hit pavement again on Diamond Valley Road, and rode for a few miles to the next turn onto Mud Road. Where was the road??? It turned out to be little more than a dirt cowpath, or at least that's how it seemed to me as I was a bit hot and thirsty at that point. So I vetoed further progress on dirt and we decided to turn back to Markleeville. We rode back on the reverse of the Diamond Valley course. There was a stiff headwind and the smoke was very smelly. I was becoming tired and at the edge of a grumpy bonk. After crawling up the hill to Turtle Rock (at least I was crawling. Dan was gliding as usual, damn him), we descended into Markleeville. There I recovered my good mood after a drink and snack and some time resting on the porch of the general store.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Carson Pass summit!

Carson Pass summit!
Originally uploaded by NadiaMac

Carson Pass is the final pass in the Death Ride. This weekend, I "completed" my death ride by climbing Carson Pass. I hit 54 mph on the way down, my personal record. Amazing what thin air and a stiff tailwind will do for your descending!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Cyclocross season approaches (kind of.... September) so my mind has turned to running. Last year, I did anything to stay on the bike. This included tottering slowly around technical corners in soft dirt as others ran swiftly past carrying their bikes. Riding up soft dirt hills at a cadence below 40 rpm as others ran swiftly past carrying their bikes. Remounting to ride when others were still running. You get the idea.

Why did I do this? Because as soon as I got off the bike and ran, my heart rate went through the roof. I have never been a runner. My monster quads simply fail to cope with running.

This year I am doing a little running in preparation for September. I will never be a strong runner, but I am hoping that I can avoid the cardiovascular insults of last season. I've started slowly, to allow my body to adjust to the impact and unfamiliar strains and to make it as easy as possible on my weird foot.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

tour de fat

Slow bike contest at tour de fat: slowest rider wins. finalists faced the additional challenge of drinking a full beer before the finish line

Today I rode in the bike parade in Golden Gate Park at SF bike coalition's tour de fat. It was fun to ride through the park with police escort, but was completely fogged in and thus a bit chilly in my somewhat scanty costume.

I've been extremely tired since the death ride and today was no exception. I was a bit puzzled, since I didn't think I'd be quite this tired after the death ride. I realized today that my allergies have been acting up and I had accidentally switched to possibly de-caffeinated coffee (now rectified!). I feel a little better about my fitness, but wish I would stop being so tired.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

more cats

By popular request, a few more shots of the kitties. Thanks to Sue for the pic on the upper right

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Death Ride Photos

Tiny route sheet

We camped at Grover Hot Springs State Park

I rode to the top of Monitor Pass, twice

I rode along the Carson river at the base of Ebbetts Pass

I rode to the top of Ebbetts Pass, twice

Four passes!

Misty meadow this morning at grover hot springs.

I am very pleased to have completed four passes of the death ride,
as planned, despite cold rain and hail during the ebbetts descent.
92 miles, 12,300 feet of climbing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Death Ride Route Profile

Climb stats for the death ride, kindly extracted from motion-based data by the BF. More detail than in the official climb profile-- percent grade is provided, cumulative feet climbed in a separate graph, and the climb profile is in larger size. Thanks Dan!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

riding in the smokey sierra

Since my blog audience of one has already heard about the weekend's riding (the Tollhouse century minus the new Maxim out and back, which I missed), I will merely say that it was a lot of fun and went very smoothly. Smoke masked the wonderful views, but was not as intense as in the bay area and even smelled a little bit like artichokes. 91 miles, 7000 feet of climbing. Death ride is in two weeks.


Nadia (left) and Mac relaxing in the sun