Monday, July 14, 2008

Death Ride 2008! This time with weather!

We got up ridiculously early and made our way to Markleeville, getting on the road by 5am! It was a real thrill to be speeding down the road in the dark, following a trail of blinking red lights trailing into the distance!

We started up Monitor Pass as it started to get light, and quickly enough, my team-mates were doing what they do best, peeing behind a bush! So I continued my ascent very slowly, taking a moment to look at the flowers. I was surprised to find that it was a lot darker than I had realised and my camera still needed a flash.

We carried on with my legs complaining bitterly, and the view opened up to a breathtaking panorama of the valleys below.

Its hard to complain when you have views like this! The wildflowers were so stunning, they really took my mind off things.

Slowly but surely we reached the SAG at the top and stuffed our faces with bagels and clif bars. A quick stop at the actual summit, where we discovered my saddle was so loose it had nearly fallen off!

Spirits were high as we started a fantastic descent. It is really one of my favourite parts of the ride, there are no tight turns, just sweeping wide turns, I thought maybe I ought to slow a little as I was at around 30 mph and I looked down and my speedo showed over 45mph! Wow, what a rush!

We ditched our lights and most of our clothing. I was very happy later that I'd been my usual self and decided to keep my vest!

We started to worry a little as Christine, the downhill queen, was not behind us, and we quickly discovered she'd got a flat. It was wonderful to see Dianna, her boyfriend Aaron, and Tom had made it and were looking chipper and doing great.

We started back up and Fern was really suffering, I was very happy to continue going nice and slowly and pacing myself.
Here is Lisa storming up the hill. She really got in her groove, as she slowly disappeared up the hill with Diana. We stopped briefly for a rest and the potty, and were in awe of the boys that were running up and down and filling up everyone's bottles.

They were really enjoying themselves, and so encouraging!

Snaking along Monitor Pass, the ascent was made harder by seeing it all ahead of us, but when we looked down to where we'd come from we realised we were doing pretty well!

I had time to get my picture taken, look at beautiful views, and take a picture of the funny looking lettuce sunflowers.

We bumped into Christine at the top, she'd got going so quickly we didn't even see her! That was great news!

The descent was again a lot of fun, we definitely had a lot of fun and got really cheered up, and it was wonderful to see Rick, Melissa and Joanie cheering us on. We pressed on as we were keeping a good pace, but had to stop at this spectacular view of the river.

The next fun was Ebbetts Pass. I think I learned a new variety of swear words, and added to them myself on this pass. This was a lot harder than I remembered, although I was chuffed with myself for not bursting into tears this year!

We continued up brutal switchbacks and steep climbing for miles until we finally made it to a lake near the top.

I was really happy to accept a twizzler and have a bite of the lovely mojo bar I'd picked up at an earlier sag, then fern showed up and we descended.

I didnt really notice at the time, but you can see it was really starting to cloud over. I was very happy to get the cloud cover at the time.

It was great to see DJ at the bottom, he seemed to be doing pretty well, although he was a bit shaken up by Ebbetts. He was ready to tackle the other side and we waved him off!

We continued the grind up the backside, suffering as we pedalled. I managed a gu and knew we were cutting it a bit fine and needed to really keep on plugging. I made it to the top with a smile, and saw Phil with a binbag on. How odd! I very quickly realised it had been raining, and huge drops started to fall. These were followed by big chunks of ice, hurting my face and hands and everywhere they hit me. I decided to shelter under a tree.

Fern caught me up and was shivering uncontrollably, and a nice lady gave her a bin bag (but didnt invite us in!!) and we continued our descent very carefully. You cant really tell from these pictures, but there were rivers running down the road, our most technical descent, which is very tricky in the dry was just becoming lethal.

We walked around the hairpin bend as it was just too dangerous, and had to stop a couple of times because my brakes stopped working altogether.

I was determined to make it to the lunch stop at the bottom, I'd seen no SAG vehicles or any kind of support, so we slowly made our way down. I was glad, they had shelter and soup and we started to warm up, and Christine and Phil caught up with us too.

At this point I realised there was no way we were going to finish a 5th pass as we were going to miss the cutoff. I was very sad, and it was really hard to come to terms with, but we had to stay safe, and it just wasnt safe to descend Ebbetts any quicker than we did.

Thankfully fern was laughing at me so much I cheered up a lot, Phil and Christine made it to the lunch stop too. Lisa and Dianna were too shaky to continue, and thankfully a very nice man gave them a ride.

There was no hope of rescue for us, so we continued on to where Rick and Joannie were and I regretted not giving them a change of clothes just in case! It was fun to see them though!

We quickly got back on the road to Markleeville, and were pelted on again as we rode, but we warmed up in the rain and I was very happy to get to Turtle Rock and have a beer and something to eat.

All said and done the ACE chicks managed 87.4 miles and 11800ft climb. Not too shabby!!

We enjoyed chatting with Chuck and Doug, who finished the 5 passes and were just beaming. I met some people from Sacramento and then started to get a bit miserable waiting for DJ. He finally arrived, victorious, and we set off back to the hotel. I cant believe he managed to make it down Ebbetts, safely and fast, then he managed to make the cutoff and ride the 5th pass. The rain didn't clear until he made it up to the top for his pin and his ice cream! What an amazing guy!

It was an amazing experience, the whole team just did wonderfully, Chuck, DJ, Tom and Doug did brilliantly, getting all those 5 passes, the Ace chicks did their best, and we really missed AJ who was sick that day and couldnt ride with us. Get well soon, AJ!

Death Ride 2008-Leading up to the big event!

Here is DJ, with our bikes in the truck. We drove up on the Wednesday night/Thursday morning, just in time to pick up our race packs for the Death Ride and start to get really excited!

We then had a really nice relaxing afternoon in lake Tahoe, while DJ had a massage, followed by a delicious italian dinner with lots of wine/beer.

I was very relieved when Coach Phil announced our tune-up ride would be starting at around 9.30 am as we were pretty tired!

We got up and drove over to a lake, and enjoyed a spectacular ride up to 'Blue Lake'. We were captivated by the beautiful wildflowers, and the stunning scenery.

I was really happy to capture the beauty of the lovely lupins by the side of the road, but there were many more spectacular flowers everywhere!

We were quite worried by the smoky air, but only now do I realize how hazy it was with all the wildfires that were going on.

The ride continued up and down some rolling hills, ending up at the beautiful Blue Lake.

There were some interesting sights, including this joke bathroom which some of us fell for!

I saw Phil resting on a rock, and I thought we'd be enjoying a nice leasurely break by the lake, but the mosquitos were everywhere and we were getting bitten to pieces, so we made our escape pretty quickly!! Notice the forced smiles and the 'take the photo-quickly' expressions!!

We then made our way back to Minden and had lunch and a leisurely afternoon. We were happy to see a pizza place right next to the hotel so we had our carb loading dinner then tried to rest up before our super early morning the next day!

Monday, July 7, 2008

An 87 mile tour of san diego!

What a wonderful ride! After such a lot of hills, 87 miles and 3700 ft climb was just lovely!

We started off in Solana Beach and rode up the coast to Torrey Pines, you can see how foggy it was! Very muggy. I wondered whether I was happier with humid or hot, I didnt have to wonder for too long, we set off along miramar and up Pomerado Road through Poway and it got hotter and drier and that was pretty intense too!!

We had a nice stop at macdonalds, sampled their giant iced coffee, then made our way through escondido and around Bonsall, coming across the
Pardee Nursery. We stopped to take a photo to send to Wes, apparently he's not big into trees, so he'll probably be a bit bemused by the photo, oh well! It sounds like he's on the mend, and we're all thumbs up to that!!

We then made our way to Oceanside, got a killer paceline going on the bike path, then sped our way along to Swamis for a quick rest stop and then back to Solana Beach.

It seemed rude not to stop for pizza and beer at pizza port!

So thats it, we're all starting our journeys up north to the death ride, for a short ride on Friday, then the event is on Saturday. Wish us luck! Hopefully everyone will be able to get over their nerves, enjoy the scenery and have a really fun day!