Click here to watch a short video of today's ride.
The start/finish location of this double century takes place at the La Quinta Inn in Bishop, which is on the eastern side of the Sierra. The course covers 200 miles with 10,200 feet of elevation gain; the first half is front loaded with climbing, leaving the second half of the double with only 3000' of ascent. The time limit for this event is 18 hours.
The route takes us from Bishop to Round Valley, Swall Meadows, Mammoth Lakes, Crestview, June Lake, Lee Vining, Benton, Chalfant Valley and back. We ride through Inyo and Mono Counties.
There are 6 check points (CP) with two cut off times. CP#2 at mile 48.7 closes at 9:30 AM and CP#3 at mile 71.2 closes at 11:45 AM. If either CP is missed, you will be required to turn around and ride back to Bishop on Hwy 395.
There is a "Mass" start at 5:00 AM. Temp is 55F. Sunrise is at 5:33 with sunset at 20:11. Everyone calls out their number as they roll pass Gary, the acting ride director for this event.
**Photos may be enlarged by clicking on the selected image
We exit the parking lot and head out on E. Line Street to Warm Springs Rd for a flat loop back to Hwy 395. We continue on Gerkin Rd to Sunland and Shober Lane. It's a nice warm up on the flatlands through the Owen Rivers region.
We continue on Barlow Ln through a residential neighborhood to W Line Street.
We take Ed Powers Rd to Sawmill Rd. The sun is rising and the Sierra Mountains are coming into view; it's absolutely stunning, WOW! The terrain here is totally flat.
The route continues to take us north on S Round Valley to N Round Valley Rds for the next 6 miles through cattle ranches and farmlands. The gradient through the valley is at a steady 2% and the winds have picked up a bit too. We arrive at CP#1, Round Valley School, mile 29.6 at 7:05 AM. The surrounding landscape is gorgeous! I'm in total awe of the scenery here.
We take Birchim Lane to Old Sherwin Grade Rd for the next 7.6 miles. The gradient starts off very gradually at 2-3% and increases to 4-5%. Once you see the left turn around the guard rails, the gradient increases to 7-8% as you make your way through the residential neighborhood. The road does seem to level out a bit; back down to 5-6% with pitches of 8-9% in between. It's very quiet back here with minimal traffic. The road condition isn't bad either. Take the time to look around and let the mountains draw you in, it's a wonderful distraction to the long climb up to the summit. The last 3/4 mile to the top is at a steady 8-9% grade.
The descent takes us down to Lower Rock Creek. You can hear the rush of the water flowing rapidly and see guys fishing along the bed of the creek. The climb back up to Hwy 395 is about 2 miles with an average gradient of about 5-6%. The road does level out a bit and then continues back at a 6-7% grade to the top.
We get a slight tailwind on Hwy 395 to our exit at Tom's Place/Crowley Lake Dr. The winds are howling as we ride through the valley floor towards Aspen Springs. There is a 5% climb and a fast windy descent to our next stop. We reach CP#2 at Crowley Lake Park, mile 48.7 at 9:30 AM.
We stay on Crowley Lake Dr for the next 3.6 flat miles to Hwy 395. It's 5.7 miles to our next exit at Sherwin Creek Rd. The road is relatively flat with one short climb before the turn onto Substation Rd. Substation Rd becomes SR 203; there is a steady 4-5% four mile climb into the town of Mammoth Lakes. The next turn on Minaret Rd takes us through the ski resort area.
We head north out of town via the Mammoth Scenic Loop. The initial 7-8% climb around the right hand bend is short. Thereafter, the road levels out and you get a fabulous 4+ mile descent all the way out to Hwy 395. There's still some snow up there! The temp drops dramatically to a cold 46F.
We continue north on Hwy 395 for the next 8 miles. The 2 mile climb up to Deadman Summit has a gradient of about 5% with several pitches of 7-8%. The road levels out to about 2% as you approach the summit.
We reach CP#5 at Sage Hen Summit, mile 130 at 5:00 PM.
The descent down the backside is fast and I can feel the winds really coming on strong. The terrain is pretty flat with lots of rollers and short steep climbs in between. The road conditions are bad; there are wide cracks running across the whole road for miles and miles; at about 15 feet apart. I felt every bump at every crack!
The winds were blowing fiercely and relentlessly! We were moving but going nowhere fast. This goes on for 30 miles.....
There is one short 8-10% climb out of the red lava canyons into Benton. The dramatic views of the changing and shifting of the clouds and the sun setting above us was really visually appealing to me. It's striking and mesmerizing, I'm loving it!
We reach CP#6 at Ida Lynn Parkinson Memorial Park, mile 158.9 at 7:20 PM.
The last 36 miles on Hwy 6 back to Bishop is absolutely flat. The winds are still very unforgiving and blowing as strong as ever. It's now pitch black, I look down at my odometer and we're moving at a slug pace of 7-8 mph. At this rate, we're lucky if we can get back to the finish within the time limit.
In the dark, you have no depth perception; there are no street lights to count up or down. We would occasionally see the the tail light of some cars disappearing into the darkness and never seem to get to where they were. It's a very strange feeling.
My lights did catch sight of a snake on the road along with mice. The winds never let up, it kept hitting us harder and harder. I would get up front for a pull and the wind would just blow me around; it's very demoralizing.
Finally, we could see some car lights in the distance; they're on Hwy 395! We're getting close. The last 3 miles into town was heads down pedaling. We arrive back at La Quinta at 11:00 PM. YES, we're done!
The winds just beat us down for the last 60+ miles of the ride, it was absolutely horrendous!
Thanks to Gary and all the PU volunteers for being out there and supporting us. The course was well marked and there was even a volunteer with his dog at almost every turn during the first 70 miles of the ride. I saw several SAG vehicles roaming the whole route throughout the course of the ride. Great job!
The views and scenery on this course is hands down "the best"! The Sierra Mountains, lakes and forests makes this one heck of a spectacular ride.
Elevation: 10,645 feet
Avg Speed: 12.1
Saddle Time: 16:29:29
Total Time: 18:00
Weather: Morning sun turning to overcast cloudy skies with some rain. Starting temp of 55F, reaching a high of 60F and dropping to a low of 46F around Mammoth Lakes. Strong winds through out the day and night.
Nutrition: Maltodextrin mix, lots of water, PBJ sandwich, a banana, a few pretzels, half of a turkey sandwich, some chips and a can of Coke.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PUSH ON-KEEP MOVING!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>