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The Death Ride... (long)(12 posts)

The Death Ride... (long)rwbadley
Jul 14, 2002 8:53 PM
Just got back from a great weekend in Markleeville.

My son Dave and I drove the sixty miles from Reno early Friday morning. We set up our tent in the Turtle Rock campground amidst tall pines. Nice, with running water and real toilets!

The temperature was quite hot, until the afternoon thunderstorm came up. We were cooking up a huge pot (15 gallon stainless) of pasta and watching the lightning to the east, when we saw smoke.

About 3/4 mile to the southeast a fire had started. The flames were visible from camp and this was quite alarming. The wind was blowing the smoke away from camp, so that was good. If the wind had shifted towards our direction it would have been miserable. The trees were blowing up like firecrackers, as it's been really dry here.

Air tankers arrived and it was really a short time before the fire was controlled. We watched as the tankers dropped several rounds of retardant. This was quite a show!

We invited the other riders staying in camp over for some of the pasta with basil and a side of garlic clams. We had a party of about twenty of us, including the camp ranger. The clams and pasta were soooo good, sorry you missed it!

We turned in early, and were awoken by the sweet tune of 'Here Comes the Sun' played over the camp P.A. As there was no snooze button, we lay in bed and listened to a few more songs before struggling out of the tent. This was a real treat, two years ago for this event the DJ had different taste, and the opening song was so loud, I damn near suffered heart failure Before the ride.

Had a breakfast of Gu sample and cliff bar, followed by a quart of water, and good to go. Dave wasn't going for the ride, so off I went at the crack of 6 AM.

The front side of Monitor pass was nice and cool, and well shaded at this time of morning. Clear blue sky, no smoke from the fire and gorgeous views as we gained altitude. Speedy descent, quick stop for more water and bite of food and a wait in the potty line, then up the backside Monitor.

A few miles from the top, we saw a helicopter coming in for landing. Approaching the scene it was apparent a biker was in trouble, and being airlifted out. We all had to wait, as the road was closed. After a bit of time the 'copter took off, and we were back to riding. It was a little unsettling that a pool of blood was left in the road. Jeez, we hope they're OK.

I hustled to the top to get ahead of the throng to the rest stop. Picked up more water, another bite and then off. Down Monitor and over to Ebbetts pass.
re: The Death Ride... (long)rwbadley
Jul 14, 2002 9:20 PM
Started up Ebbetts pass. This was a tough one. I had put some alpine gears on, but was still limited to a 42-28. I remembered why I thought a triple ring would be a good idea. Going up the temperatures were starting to climb, but I felt pretty good (and looked even better) in my white long sleeve dress shirt. There was just enough breeze to keep it cool, in fact that wasn't the problem. I think I may not have been getting quite as much water as needed, and near the top was feeling a little beat.

At the top of Ebbetts, I doubled up on water, enjoyed some snack, and even got a back massage from the 'massage booth'. This was great! Massage at 8700 feet!

Down the other side of Ebbetts, then back up.

Down the front side of Ebbetts is GREAT! It's like some sort of amazing arcade game. Zooming down with curve after well banked curve. I have to say the old Schwinn Paramount really shined here. Lovely fun fast ride.

Lunch stop, then off.

Hooked up with a squirrely paceline back to Markleeviile, then on to Woodfords.

After a stop for more refreshment up Carson Pass. This was the final pass of the day. By the time you reach Carson, you have gone a bit over 100 miles, and done maybe 12,500 ft of climbing. This pass is not really really steep, like Ebbetts, but the final three miles or so are relentless. To make things worse, you come around a corner and are faced with the view to the top. This is very discouraging, as it looks long and very very bad. And it is.

Extremely lucky that for Carson pass, a storm was brewing again to the east, and this gave us some high cloud cover, and a respite from the heat and blazing sun.

At the top, you are rewarded with ice cream, more snacks and a crowd of happy tired people. Time to take off down, as it is starting to look like the very dark clouds will be active soon.

Went screaming down Carson, and then hooked up with another rider and we took turns pulling back to Woodfords.
re: The Death Ride... (long)rwbadley
Jul 14, 2002 9:35 PM
The last few miles to camp have some pretty good hills to contend with. These are soon history, and the ride is over.

One hundred twenty nine miles and sixteen thousand vertical feet later, stick a fork in me, I am done. I was quite happy at this point it was not 130 miles and 16,001 feet. This ride took me 11.5 hrs. start to finish, with 9:34 riding time.

Back at the camp, there is much joy and merryment. So how about an icy cold Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale? Yes, thank you very much!!

A very fine, fun, brutal, well supported, perfect weather, make new friends, wood smoke free ride. I hope you all had as fine a time getting sweaty this weekend!

RW
Hey, think I saw you...PseuZQ
Jul 14, 2002 9:50 PM
As you descended the front side of Ebbetts then later at dinner. (I commented on your shirt...)

Anyhow, driving over Monitor this afternoon there was another fire (looked kinda big) on the back side. Tankers were dumping on it as I drove down. This was at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Oh, one other thing, (a lesson in humility)...rwbadley
Jul 15, 2002 6:40 AM
After the ride, after packing up the car, just before getting in to leave, we saw a biker sitting at his campsite.

Now, I had just finished a long ride, and was feeling like a REAL cyclist, (a stud if you will) like maybe I had accomplished something.

This guy was sitting at his picnic table relaxing with his bike propped up at the tree. His bike was old, it was ratty lookin'. It had a huge cardboard box bunjeed to the rear rack. Panniers. This bike had obviously been around.

Talking to the guy, who by the way had a dog with him, he told us he had left Alaska five years before.

He had pedaled to Latin America. He had pedaled to Argentina. He had pedaled to Chile. He had picked up his doggy friend in Chile. He had pedaled around, and around. And now he was pedaling back to Seattle, where he thought he might live for a while.

With his stuff, and his dog, on the bike.

Nice guy. Very quiet and unassuming sort.

Wow.

I now felt a bit different about my "accomplishment".

I recommended he check out Portland for a place to stop. Then we had to leave for home.

60 miles. In our car.

BTW, thanks Allison for the kind words, and for printing the great G.H.

RW
soDougSloan
Jul 15, 2002 7:01 AM
Did the guy do the Death Ride? With his sort of experience, I would not think that organized rides would be very interesting.

I keep imagining that poor little dog trying to keep up on those long mountain descents... :-)

Doug
No, I think he was too smart for that! and the dog too:-)nmrwbadley
Jul 15, 2002 7:14 AM
This guy came through Park City (Utah) earlier this year. nmBrooks
Jul 15, 2002 9:09 AM
Here Comes The SunAllisonHayes
Jul 15, 2002 4:39 AM
Here Comes The Sun
(George Harrison)

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Little darlin' it's been a long hot smoked-filled ride here
Little darlin' it feels like years climbin' Ebbett's hide here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Little darlin' the smiles slowly returning to their faces
Little darlin' only took minutes zippin' down I was racin'
Little darlin' I road hard and forgot about my fear

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say I'm all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darlin' I feel the heat and I'm slowly meltin'
Little darlin' all this the smoke and its really chokin'
Here come the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Here come the sun, here comes the sun
I'm all right, I'm all right
And wait just wait 'til next year

Allison (great ride; inspirational report; and I hope you learn from your pasta experience--sounds yummy! :))

I hope that injured rider is OK--did you ever find out what happened?
The long and winding road...Lon Norder
Jul 15, 2002 11:52 AM
They played at full volume every shlocky song ever written that mentioned bicycles or being on the road. It was a very effective method to get people out of there and riding.
Congrats and nice write up...Lon Norder
Jul 15, 2002 11:49 AM
We must have ridden together. I too started around 6, got stopped by the helecopter, and finished in around 11.5 hours total. On Carson Pass I thought for sure we'd get nailed by the storm that was following from the east - but it held off.

The ride was tougher than I expected - but I think the Terrible Two is tougher. Both have about 16,000 ft of elevation gain, but the climbs and descents are steeper on the Terrible Two. On the Death Ride descents I could pretty much let 'er rip, whereas on the TT I'm squeezing my brakes for dear life.

I had some reservations about there being so many riders, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Lots of people to talk with. Sorry I missed your pasta feed.
Congrats and nice write up...grzy
Jul 15, 2002 2:10 PM
Personally, I think the TT makes the DR look like a tea party, although the stats don't show it.