Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cycling in the Sierra

Heading out to Monitor Pass near Markleeville CA
Quick post to put up some pictures from a short weekend trip in early July. It's been a pretty un-fun July due to excessive work and I am somewhat down about having such a crummy and stressful summer.  These pictures from our long weekend trip up to the Markleeville area in the Sierra Nevada cheer me up.

Nicest campsite ever at Grover Hot Springs SP. Right by the river in the dog-friendly loop.
The big ride for me was the climb to Ebbetts pass, which tops out at about 8700 vertical feet.  I quite enjoyed the first 4/5 of the climb, which I rode mostly alone. I had forgotten how long the climb was, and was very surprised when Dan joined me (having summited already) and informed me that there was ~4 more miles and 1800 feet of climbing ahead. This last bit proved to be a bit of a slog, with the stair step climbing (flat, steep, flat, steep) and my formerly comfortable but now painful shoes making me kind of grumpy. I made it to the summit eventually, and the rest of the ride was fun, especially after I refueled on ice cream at the Markleeville store. Ride stats= ~44 miles, 4300 feet of climbing.

On the way up to Ebbetts pass. I am in this picture, dwarfed by the cliff
 I last climbed this pass on the Death Ride several years ago and I was flooded with memories of that day. Ebbetts is the third climb of the ride, so you've climbed about 6000 feet by the time you hit Ebbetts, the most challenging climb of the ride. My memories are dominated by the physical challenges -- turning over the cranks in the noon heat, already tired from quite a lot of climbing, and the emotion I felt when I hit Ebbetts summit and knew that I'd meet my goals for the ride. 

At the top!
 I had forgotten the spectacular views, which I really enjoyed this time around. I tried to avoid comparison between my current (crummy fitness level and increased body mass) and past fitness levels, and focus on the positive that I was generally making progress up a challenging mountain pass on a beautiful day. Not entirely successful on that front. It's hard to not kind of miss my pre-injury fitness and robustness (no achy knees and back, god what was that really like).

Mountain meadow on Luther Pass road intersection. I hung out here for a while waiting for Dan to get back from a longer ride. Such a pretty spot.
We ended the weekend with a ride out to Blue Lake, which is off of HW88 on the way to Carson Pass. Blue Lake road is really nice and the ride is just beautiful. I was pretty tired from the prior day's ride and didn't make it all the way to the Lake (which involved a fair amount of climbing). Instead, I headed back to the pretty mountain meadow near our parking spot & hung around by the river until Dan's return. A nice end to a mountain weekend. I look forward to doing the entire ride the next time we are in the area.


Christine said...

Way to go. Beautiful scenery. The BF and I will be doing Eastern Sierras again in Sept. with Dick and Donna Matthews.

djconnel said...

That was a really fun weekend. Your blog post is, as always, excellent. It really captures the essence of the day in a nice blog-optimized dose.