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someone tell us about the Death Ride?(24 posts)

someone tell us about the Death Ride?Dog
Jul 12, 2001 2:01 PM
Haven't done this before. Anyone want to describe the Death Ride, maybe comparing it's difficulty to some other hilly rides? Competition? Support? Thanks. ( )

From what I hear, you'll LOVE it ...Humma Hah
Jul 12, 2001 2:21 PM
... just your kind of abuse, something like 16,000 ft of climbing in 120 miles, in 5 mountain passes. There's supposed to be an optional 6th that's something like 20+ % grade.

Sounds like a couple of the singlespeeders over in MTBR may be going, tho' they will probably be on their gearies.

'Fraid I'll miss it again this year.
not one for the cruiser, huh?Dog
Jul 12, 2001 2:30 PM
You'd be an absolute masochist, but a very courageous one, to attempt that one on the cruiser. I'll be in my 39/29 gear most of the way, I imagine.

too bad you missed another good onecyclopathic
Jul 13, 2001 7:59 AM
in your back yard!

Wash area 1000K brevet 625mi, 29000' climbing, some of the best Blue Ridge climbs. and there was a guy who rode it on singlespeed this year (well he desided to skip second day, so.. not official finisher)

here's the URL
I missed the 200 k this spring so ...Humma Hah
Jul 13, 2001 9:30 AM
... technically I wouldn't have been qualified for the 1000.

Not that I could have finished it on the cruiser.

I believe there will be a fall series, and I may try the 200k and 300k. I'm fast enough to do the 200 in the alotted time, and the climbing on the route I've seen is only about 1000 ft worse than my record for one day. The 300 would be a serious challenge (i.e. would nearly kill me), and I could finish it only with lights.

Beyond that, I'll certainly need a roadbike. I'm still shopping for a chrome-lugged 56 cm Paramount, circa 1971, to rig as a singlespeed roadbike.
Jul 13, 2001 12:22 PM
300 is easier then 200, beleive it or not.

There're 3 big climbs one over Catoctin mountain in Thurmond ~30mi mark, then "Big Flat" ~60mi /it's big but ain't flat!/ and another climb over South Mountain @ 120mi mark. Last 60mi section is flat as pancake and it's more or less flat btw 2 last climbs.

I rode 300k with both knees shot, standing on the pedals /and as it turned out after the ride just standing/ was out of question. 1st climb is long but gradual I was able to sit and spin @80-100RPM in 39/24-27. 2 others I walked /I can ride them, but not with knees shot!/.

The "Big Flat" definitely imposes bigest challenge for singlespeeder, it's long (~4mi), grade 8-10% with 1/2mi portion going ~15%. Even the guy who rode singlespeed didn't bring it.

and yes lights are manadatory for 300km /4am start/.

btw if you're interested in local rides there're at least 1 or 2 century rides every weekend put by dc-brevet group. They always have bail out option (50 and 75mi), most of them sutable for singlespeeder with short sometimes steep rollers.

there's one fix gear "NSA-OCE Fixte Century (With Snow Cone Option)"
from Nokesville Community Park, just around corner from you on Sat 21.

Here's info:

..It should be fairly to very flat. We will be using a
lot of the old National Double Century Route.
Meet at 7am to beat the heat. 65 mile option for wimps and shifters.
NSA=no shifting allowed
OCE=or coasting either
Shifting and coasting monitors will be on the route.
Snow Cones at the park after the ride.
We will be riding our track bikes.
Everyone is welcome, especially if they participate in the spirit of the
ride and hold shifting and coasting to a minimum. (No seconds on snow cones
for gear heads!)

Here are the directions to Nokesville:
>From Beltway exit 9, go West on I-66
In 20 miles take Exit 44 (2nd exit for VA234 South) toward Manassas Airport.
In 5 miles exit onto VA28 west (Nokesville Rd).
In about 4.5 miles go left on VA652 Fitzwater Drive (TL)
In 1 mi. go right on VA646 Aden Rd @T
In 0.8 mi. go right into the park (just after church).
Restrooms near picnic area. Park in lower lots away from ballfields.

Sound like a lot of fun /and I'd be doing my 600k in Boston/
Sounds like fun but I've got a coaster brake!Humma Hah
Jul 13, 2001 12:42 PM
If I ever score that vintage Paramount I'm after, I'll set it up with a fixed/singlespeed flip-flop hub. I want it to be capable of cyclocross, at least able to run dirt roads (Randoneering's dirt road roots are easily seen in the low speed averages required).

But for now, I coast, and I've got three, count 'em, THREE brakes on the bike. But only 1 gear. I'm half righteous, anyway.
Haven't ridden it myself, but...Zignzag
Jul 12, 2001 2:51 PM
my enduro-freak friends say the Terrible Two and Devil Mountain Double are tougher. Have a good ride, and post a report next week.
I'm doing itDAS
Jul 12, 2001 2:57 PM
I haven't done it before. This will be my first time. Like Hummah says, it's 130 miles, 5 passes, 16,000' of climbing, elevations from 5,000' to near 9,000. Should be a long day. Not sure how it compares to other mountain centuries. I've heard the support is great, and the weather can be super cold and super hot in the same day. Should be very windy also. I did some practice rides in the area about a month ago and I can tell you it's going to hurt. Something like 7 hours of climbing? Anyway, I'm sure I will have more of an opinion next week.
You gonna wuss out again and ride the gearie ...Humma Hah
Jul 13, 2001 9:34 AM
... like you did at Solvang, or be a MAN and ride your single?

I can say that now, safely on the East Coast with a good excuse not to come. Speaking of which, its about time for my 23-mile ride with 1200 ft of climbing. Talk about wussies!
re: someone tell us about the Death Ride?Cliff Oates
Jul 12, 2001 4:59 PM
Unfortunately, I had to sell my ticket due to an injury. This would have been my first year doing the ride after rediscovering cycling about 2 years ago. All the guys I ride with are up there right now, and we were training for the ride mainly by doing laps on Diablo and Hamilton.

I understand Monitor and Carson are basically Caltrans grades -- steady, not too steep, and fairly wide roads. Ebbetts is another story, about a lane and a half and some very steep sections. Last year they had the Y2K grade option on Ebbetts which featured a chunk of 24%. Mike J. has good write-ups and photos of this and other Sierra rides on his shop's web site: Chain Reaction.

I hear the support is terrific. I've no idea on competition, but that's not my bag. The Devil Mountain Double and Terrible Two are definitely considered to be more difficult rides. The Deathride is remarkable because of the elevation.

Have fun. Sure wish I was up there...
I did it last yearStarliner
Jul 12, 2001 6:08 PM
Its probably too late to enter unless you know somebody who has already signed up but would be a last-minute no-show. That's the scenario I experienced last year, with a guy giving me his place two weeks prior to the event.

It was my first century in my life (at age 46) but I felt mentally and physically prepared for this baptism by fire. Kept my wits and my patience, rode within my envelope at all times, and finished just fine.

The bike I rode was a ti Lemond double with a 12/27 cassette.

Weather was good, no major variations as I heard can take place. First two climbs are long (~8-10 miles) and steady but not terribly steep. Food and relief stations begin at the top of the first climb, and reappear at all summits and the bottom of some descents. Free mechanic service is also available at some, if not all, relief stations. I used their services last year to true a wheel.

Third climb was reputed to be killer by some I talked to, but I found it to be no problem. If the road appeared to be getting steep, a break would soon materialize to keep things getting out of hand. Plus, it and the fourth climbs were the prettiest IMHO.

Descending down the back side of Ebbets was crazy. The road surface was shaky, and the narrowness of the road made it feel crowded. Prepare yourself mentally for that if you are claustrophobic.

I didn't do the Y2K, but that's the point you do it. Turning around and climbing back up to Ebbetts Pass (the 4th pass) was the worst climb for me that day, as I felt the heat of the day for the first time, and the lack of breaks forced me to dig deeper within myself just to keep on chugging along. It tried my patience, as it seemed to last longer than it probably was.

Once I reached the top of Ebbetts for the second time (the 4th pass), I relaxed. Local masseuses were giving riders neck and shoulder massages, and naturally I took advantage of their service. Although there would still be 60 or 70 miles to go, there was only one more pass to focus upon.

Descending down Ebbetts I passed a rider who had crashed next to the lake. He seemed to be in bad shape and I think they might have airlifted him out.

At the bottom of Ebbetts was the lunch stop, and then onward toward Carson Pass, the Big Daddy. That was a fun part of the ride, grouping together with a couple of other riders and opening things up on flat and rolling stretches into Markleeville.

An annoying little climb out of Markleeville crests at the start/finish line. With one more pass to go, keep going straight unless you want to wuss out there.

To get to Carson Pass, you must first climb several miles up a canyon. Prepare yourself mentally for this climb. It's a pretty steady climb, steepest at the bottom, but because it is not one of the featured climbs, it snuck up on me. By then, you're pushing close to 100 miles, it's in the heat of the day and Carson is on your mind. As I climbed the canyon, I kept on repeating to myself, "This ain't Carson....this ain't Carson...."

Near the top I saw an apparition in the form of some kid holding out a cup of ice cold lemonade to riders as they passed by. That, for me was one of the finest parts of the whole ride, for never did something so wonderful come at such an appropriate time as that cup of lemonade.

After several miles of beautiful (but windy) flatlands, you start hitting some rollers leading up to the major climb. Once into it, it's steady and moderate. Just keep plugging, stay patient, and you'll be fine.

Rounding the bend at the top was anti-climatic. Final rest stop, then down the hill and on to the finish. Dinner, then off to nearby Grover Hot Springs for a dip in their warm and cold mineral water pools.

I had to do the Death Ride, just to do it.
Jul 12, 2001 7:11 PM
Good info. Sounds like it's just a matter of "how fast?" Thanks.

what're we going to do when we find out that Doug Sloan isbill
Jul 13, 2001 6:49 AM
a thirteen-year-old girl from Duluth, MN (who does, in fact, own a bike, but it's getting a little small), that Hummah Hah is a twenty-nine year old mother of two from Pensacola, FL who was last on a bike when SHE was thirteen but likes to drive her minivan kinda fast, and that Grz Mnky is a 63 year-old grandmother in Trenton, NJ with arthritic knees who kind of remembers that her boys owned those crazy bikes with banana seats in the late 60's? Well, maybe the last one isn't such a stretch (jes kiddin, Grzy).
And when it comes out that I actually DO own a bike that I even ride sometimes.
(I was out on a little ride this a.m. and for some reason too complicated and dangerous to fathom, these images popped into my head. Made me giggle, although I'm now sort of embarrassed to admit that this, in fact, was what I was thinking about as I huffed and puffed up a little roller.)
Have fun, Doug, wherever you are, whoever you are.
just acting like 13 :-)Dog
Jul 13, 2001 7:36 AM
Hummah and I have met, so we can vouch for each other. He, indeed, does look like Abe Lincoln, and does ride a silver grey cruiser. We met at the Solvang Century earlier this year. I've also met Schmoo, and probably a few others without even knowing it. I can prove who I am (depending upon what you accept as "proof"): Take an extra cynical pill this morning, bill? :-)

But, heck, we are all acting like we are 13. The activity I did as 13 probably more than anything else was bike riding. It meant freedom, speed, seeing the world, meeting new people... Gee, whiz, even the conversations we have here sort of remind me of 13 year olds talking. Not much has changed.

actually, I was huffing and puffing up a little climb thisbill
Jul 13, 2001 8:11 AM
a.m, sort of scolding myself for my wimpiness (I've decided to do intervals just by hitting every hill hard, recovering on the down side -- it actually sort of works with the rollers we've got around here, although I've got to get around to intervals a little longer, I think), and I thought, Doug Sloan would be ashamed. And then I thought, hmm, what if? and then I giggled. and Grz Mnky (the true) is so grumpy that he could, you know, pass anyway, and I giggled some more. and then the hill ended. Hummah Hah was strictly afterthought, but he is sort of avuncular in a hip uncle sort of way, and I ran with it.
ah, the endorphin buzzDog
Jul 13, 2001 8:22 AM
You were basically drugged up is what you are saying. :-)

and NO thought or mention of my haiku talent. interesting. NMHaiku d'état
Jul 13, 2001 8:22 AM
I dunno how to haiku up a hill. But, if I were writingbill
Jul 13, 2001 8:30 AM
17-syllable pithy, witty observations about the physical world or the human condition, you, my friend, would be up there.
had me counting fingers and toes there for a minute. NMHaiku d'état
Jul 13, 2001 8:35 AM
oh, and THREE FOR THE ROADHaiku d'état
Jul 13, 2001 8:44 AM
huffing and puffing
up a small climb this morning
thoughts of message board

on the net too much
when LT brings thoughts of doug
after summit: tom

doug sloan is a niece
uncle hummah, granny grz
don't forget haiku!
now, that's funny. nmbill
Jul 13, 2001 10:46 AM
My $0.021 grzy mnky
Jul 13, 2001 12:59 PM
Much easier than the TT even though the stats look similar. When you top out on a climb it really is the top. You can pretty much hit 50 mph on all of the descents, but the second Monitor descent is the best - except for the cattle gaurd.....

Start as early as possible in an effort to beat the heat out to Carson. There is also the potential for T-storms and hypothermia can be a concern.

In all reality it's like two rides. The first four passes gets you around 12K of climbing in something like 88 mi. back to Turttle Rock Park. The schlep out to Carson and back looks easy on paper - 22 miles (44/2) to do something like 3,500' to 4,000' of climbing - how hard can it be? Woodford's grade at 98 F and no breeze is a killer - especially with all of the radiated heat reflecting off the rock walls. This is where things can get very ugly.

My advice is to carry two large water bottles - I fill them at the bottom of every climb and force myself to drink both before the summit (otherwise I wasted energy carrying water up the hill). I drank something like 4.5 gallons during the ride and only pee'ed once. They have lots of water, but you can never tell about the drink mix - in '99 a lot of us felt or actually got sick off the Fruit Punch Cytomax (new formula after Champion Nutrition sold the brand to Cyctosports). Hopefully it will be cool in the morning, but if it's not it's going to be a hot day. You can scream on the descents, but watch for the morons climbing 5 abreast up and crossing the yellow line. Be exteremely careful descending both sides of Ebbetts Pass - every year there are some good wrecks (I was one of them). The back side has some nasty pavement and you will not have climbed it so it will be new. The front side can still get you even though you've climbed it - some of the corners are heinous and you'll have a hard time scrubbing you speed. Guys exceed 60 mph descending Carson and passing cars and trucks, but all I wanted to do was make it back in one piece.

Getting sleep in the "tent city" is tough, so check out the airstrip across the street for some quiet camping. Gawd help you if you get an ambulance ride and wind up in an ER in the next county and several hours away - the volunteer effort is quite wide but not very deep. You'll find that there is virtually no way to contact the race people and get a message to your buds. Consider hiding your keys around your auto in case someone has to come get you - learned all this the hard way. Trading cell phone numbers and carrying insurance is wise.

Be prepared for a bit of a circus atmosphere - it's a real mix of hard core and happy (to be here) types. People will start well before 5:30 AM. The volunteer effort is quite amazing, but if you're ahead you cna expect getting to some of the rest stops before they're setup. Don't forget the sunscreen.
pretty much like you saidDog
Jul 15, 2001 3:58 PM
It was hard. Sort of like the Terrible Two, but without the flat parts. Also, the hills weren't as steep as a lot of the TT. But, it was all high altitude.

Couldn't believe the number of people. Almost 3,000, many of whom were coming up Ebbets when I was coming down, and as you said, it was pretty scary watching out for the morons filling up the entire 10 foot wide road, not seemingly aware that there were people coming down at 40 mph.

Great rest stops, but the Cytomax mix made me nauseous, with all the hard climbing. I stopped eating for fear of vomiting (a mistake), and bonked really hard headed up the last hill to Carson pass. May have been my worst bonk ever. Barely crawled over the top, nursed some pure water this time, ate a banana, and made the 55 mph plunge back. That part was fun.

Started at 5:30, and finished in 9 hours 20 minutes total, somewhere in the 30-40 range of placing (impossible to tell for sure). Even as I was packing up and waiting for a friend who finished 2 hours later, there were still hundreds and hundreds of people headed past the park on their way out to Carson. Man, this was a whole lot of people.