Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Eastern Sierra Double Century—May 2004

Bishop, California

There is only one word to describe this ride, EPIC! This is by far the most beautiful scenery in this country! Planet Ultra, once again, did an outstanding job of hosting the event. Unparalleled support by staff and volunteers.

The ride started at 5:15am sharp. A short hop in and around Bishop and then to the Mountains! If you think you are a good climber, I double dog dare you to tackle this one. About 5 hours at 8 miles an hour and a butt load of altitude later, I finally made it to the summit at Mammoth. Did you know that there aren't very many oxygen molecules at 8500 feet? I forgot that part. And, did you know that the wind does blow in your face at that altitude? I forgot that part too! Well, anyway, the 3 ladies hosting checkpoint 3 made it all worth while. Cheery faces and cracking jokes the whole time. Over Deadman's Pass (gee why do they call it that I wondered) we started our trek towards Mono Lake. Now this was the coolest part. Seeing and taking in God's beauty.

If you have not been to the Eastern Sierra's you are missing a true wonder. I'm cruising along searching for oxygen while at the same time marveling at the vistas before me. And to think, I haven't covered a hundred miles yet! Let me say that June Lake was a real treat and if you are a fisherman, you would be in serious paradise. Anyway, the tailwind God blessed us with for a short while coming out of the June Lake loop and we made our way to Mono Lake park. Exiting June Lake we were greeted by Mr. Headwind for the next 15 miles until lunch. As fate would have it, the Planet Ultra staff put the lunch stop at the bottom of a long descent, by which, we would have to climb back up to continue the ride. Great, I thought, Subway sandwiches always taste better the second time around. Undaunted, my new found riding partner from Redding, CA (Jeff) and I pressed on to conquer the last pass of the day. It is amazing how little climbs can just kick your ass after a long day in the saddle with nothing but climbing. Up and down, and all around we went. The next rest stop was supposed to be at 130 miles, the summit. Well, my cosmo supercharged computer measured it at 136. How cruel I thought! Anyway, the two teenage gals checking everybody in were great! Full of teenage enthusiasm and encouragement, even for an old geezer like me! They hooped and cheered us all the way in. Great fun! I stopped to look over my shoulder and all I could see was snow covered peaks to the West. Awesome was the word coming to mind!

Watered up and ready to go, Jeff and I pressed on and this is where things got fun! 50 miles an hour downhill for what seemed like forever. That was the bomb for sure and I felt like those Tdf boys descending the Alps. The last 70 miles or so I ended up by myself. That's not all bad because it is amazing what goes through your mind peddling along as the sun descends to the West. As I cruised along Hwy 6 southbound back to Bishop, I got a great rush of accomplishment, I just kicked the 200 mile ride square in the butt! The best part by far were all the prior finishers standing in the parking lot cheering everyone on as they came in. Hands down, the best bike ride I have ever done!

I'd do it again in a heartbeat...Well, maybe a years worth at least.

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