Sunday, July 11, 2010

Death Ride 2010

We are set to wake up 4:15 but in our "luxury" accommodations the walls may as well be made of cardboard and the ya hoo's next door got up at 3am.  Open door, shut door, open, shut and that goes on. Loud voices, I mean really loud banter.  Microwave in the hallway for the "guests" (or hostages) door open, door shut, set timer and timer goes off- repeat x 5!  This goes on and on and we give up and decided to get up.

Up and packed in the dark and it is chilly- 50 degrees.  We are 17 miles from the start and there is a fair amount of traffic. We park 2 miles from the start-  cars are already backed up this far so we pull over and park.  I know it is going to get hot but I am freezing- 45 degrees so I wear my arm coolers + arm socks and vest.  We roll to the start and it is first light and I am shivering.  We roll out around 5:40 and start if not hectic because there is not official start time.  A bunch of crazies roll at 3:30 to get most of the climbing done before the head.

So we are off and having a good time. Sun is up and it is stunning.  So this ride is not a loop or point to point. There are 5 passes to be climbed but 2 of them you ride up, down the back side, back up and down.

Starting elevation is 5501 ft and the first climb is is up to 8314 to the top of  Monitor Pass. Pretty uneventful and climb was doable.  I thinking this is going to be a really fun day!  John and I were split by the top- he really wanted to be cautious on the pacing and I wanted to go a bit harder..  Now the fun comes....screaming down the back side of Monitor and it seemed like a blink of an eye and we turn around and go back up.  It has warmed up and this side is steeper. I settle in and slowly, I mean slowly start clicking off the miles.  A few miles in it feels like my brakes are rubbing, but then again it always feels that way when one is struggling on a climb. After another mile I am convinced it really is rubbing.  I hop off and realize I broke a spoke- so now with every wheel revolution the wheel rubs the brakes.  I open the brakes up as much as possible and realize I have to climb with the rubbing.  Not, can I say, not a fun climb!

Back on top I have to stop and fortunately there was a tent with some techs for such issues.  The guy was outstanding- he did not have a Shimano spoke but he was "fairly"" confident he could jury rig one and it would work.  45 minutes later I am back on my bike.  Ugh, enough time for my legs to lock up- but the good news is flying back down!!

About 3/4 of the way down you take a left and head up Ebbett's Pass- top is 8710 ft.  This was a tough climb. Steeper and has warmed up and the realization of a long day is now setting in.   The scenery is beautiful.

I met some cool people on this climb- locals so they were not looking for an oxygen tank as I was.   Nancy rolled up and commented on my jersey and we became fast friends.  She is a roadie and a strong cyclist.  We had a good pace going up and we managed to chatter non stop (kind of like home)  to the top!  Definitely a good distraction.   As we rolled in I see John!  He has gone by while I was on my "fix my bike" break but I had missed him.  I lost Nancy but picked up John and we screamed down the back side of Ebbett's, made a UTurn and headed back up.  We had to get more water as it was a hot, hot climb- over 90 degrees.  I was feeling pretty optimistic until I looked at my ride time  5 1/2 hours and only 65 miles.  It then hit me- we were seriously going to be on our bikes for 9-10 hours-  I knew that, but to really comprehend that is not easy.

Good news is we had 4 passes done!!!  Massive descent and thewww.idropboys.comn the longest climb for the 5th pass - Carson Pass.  This is where it gets tough- you literally drive by your car around mile 86. Seriously you can get in your car and be done-  61/2 hours not a shabby day- why keep going?   This is not a race, no official timing, no qualifying slots...oh I know why- you get a patch and a pin :)  And bragging rights indeed.  I am grumpy now- my plan to train on my road bike did not happen so my sit bones are painful due to the different saddle, my arms are sore from holding myself up - no resting in the aero bars and my lower back is screaming.  I am not  happy....did I mention that.

On we go and I shift, nothing, again, nothing and then I realize my rear cable has snapped.  Crap- careful what I wish for.   But lucky for me, my husband is McGiver. Seriously he must be the only guy to have cable in his saddle bag. 15-20 minutes later he has replaced my cable and we are rolling.  My plan was to hammer the last climb and go for it...but John had just saved me so I became his domestique. As we turn the corner to start the 20 mile climb we are hit with a massive head wind. Ugh!  So John tucks in behind me and dictates the pace- he shouts too fast, too fast so I slow down, he recovers a bit and says okay let's pick it up and then I do, then I hear not that much.  A few miles into the climb a guy goes by at a reasonable pace and the road flattens a bit so we  jump on he pulls for the next 4 miles-  a welcome break and then we settle in and climb.  It is hot, I could not stomach another shot block or GU or gel and I was over Cytomax.  I discovered peanut butter and bananas! Yummmm!!!  1 was a good idea, 2 was delicious but regrettable a bit later.  Filled one of my bottles with Coke- yup real coke. See I always get a Starbucks Double Shot and sometimes 2 on big rides and there were none of those AND I forgot my Motivator.  So I was running on no caffeine.

On we went and ticked away the miles. About 2 miles from the summit- John wanted to slow down and I said I have to go- I was tired, grump and just wanted to be done!   We met at the top- signed the Death Ride Poster and drank more coke!!

25 miles to go.....We hop on and the fun begins!!  We flew down....when I looked down and say 48mph I just kept on going...I so wanted to be done!!!   The last 3 miles are a grind of a climb but we took them slowly and were cruising along. About 2 miles  to go (John thought we had.25 miles to go) he attacks and flies by me. WTF I pulled his ass up the mountain and these last 2 miles with him dictating the pace and this?  Well I had something left and I jumped out of the saddle and caught up and rode by him.  At the same time I pass 2 guys and I hear a guy say sarcastically " oh yeah, drop the boys the last 2 miles"  whatever I  settle in and am riding comfortably when all of a sudden these 2 guys fly by me.  I am not getting sucked in....well they pass me and  then slow down. With my steady pace I realize I am going to pass them and we have about 1/2 mile to go.  So I don't get out of my saddle but ride hard and cruise by fast and don't look back. All I hear is "whatever just let her go"  A little fun after a VERY long day.  9:45 ride time!

No transition run for me.....we rolled to the finish-  delicious Mexican food and we ate and ate!! The 2 mile ride back to the car was a bit tough! is fun!  I love it and we all have a good time with it. Wearing the kit on a ride like this was great fun.  Minimum 50 people commented on the kit.  Most were it, way to go, awesome!   Girls loved it.  Except for some girl - I was talking to her friend (she was on a TT bike) at the base of a climb and we chatted it up about Ironman etc.  As the grade increased she started to struggle and clearly did not want to chat it up.  I picked up the pace and rode away and her friend says "that was just rude" and not in a friendly manner- whatever.  Passing guys most would laugh and say things like,"OS check out her jersey - we just got dropped"  " nice" " come on have a heart" etc.  It started up a lot of conversations, made for a lot of fun and naturally aggravated some of the ego maniacal guys.  

All said and done....the big question- do it again?  Really kind of feeling like this goes in the same list as Ironman St George - been there done that!

Pros....ride was stunningly beautiful, great training ride. 4 of the passes were closed to cars so riding on closed roads was great,  support was terrific, fun day with my husband, bragging rights

Cons.....sucked, it was bloody hard., how can you enjoy a view with that much suffering, why do this and Ironman, hot, Carson pass is open to traffic and that was not too fun,

So for now....not sure what the verdict is.  Glad we did it and enjoyed the day!!

Huge thank you to the Kelsberg's for feeding us for 2 nights- Caples "Resort" is out in the middle of no where, no stores wtihin miles so we would have been hungry if Tammy did not feed us both nights.

We were thinking it would be fun to do multiple rides up here for 3-4 days - rent out a bunch of cabins on the lake and do some serious rides.  It would be great triathlon training- mega rides at elevations, running all over and swimming in the lake!  It is far but would be a lot of fun!


  1. DAMN! awesome job as always, julie. now you are only going to be stronger!!!
    on that last paragraph- let's do it!

  2. idropboys jersey looks next to "The Death Ride" poster now that's hot. Congrats on surviving the ride with two mechanicals. Yikes.

  3. HELL YES!!! so sick. that ride is on my bucket list for sure.

    seriously... mammoth training camp. me and beth are in. middle/end of august?

  4. Wow. Sounds hard but love the jersey and the attitude. :)

  5. I LOVE reading your blog. You've inspired me to get back into the saddle and select a new challenge. :-) Congrats on a achieve another HUGE milestone. I know someone who completed the death ride and they live in CO...although prepared and trained, they too said it was the hardest thing they have ever completed to date. Again, congrats my friend. Victoria

  6. just stumbled across your blog...i am surprised i didn't see you during the death ride! we started around the same time and i would definitely have commented on your jersey. very cool, and great blog!