Sunday, July 11, 2010

Waking up in Mammoth and off to the Death Ride

I love the mountains and I miss the mountains!!!  So awesome to wake up in the fresh air with trees everywhere. Sun is shining and it is nice and cool.

On with my running gear and out for a nice run.   We are up near the base of Mammoth ski area so I start my run and head down hill a mile + and am thinking, really  this is not so bad. I can handle the altitude no problem. Well then I make the turn to run up a beautiful path, no knowing where it leads.  It heads up and keeps going up....2 miles later, HR around 170, pace is embarrassing I turn and and run back down. Okay the 8000+ feet I am at now is killing me.  2 miles down, oh not so bad and then the painful 1 mile back to the hotel.  HS altitude takes a toll!

Regroup...guzzle water, electrolytes, eat a banana- my gosh I am feeling like I ran 15 miles.  Okay HR normal, re hydrated and we head out on our bikes for a spin- knowing what is in store for tomorrow we are just cruising.  Uphill yes but cruising.  I soon realize John is hollering like a wounded animal and I turn around and he is peddling up to me gasping for air. He later says his lungs were surely bleeding.... Okay my gasping does not seem so bad if he is having a severe medical emergency.  He turns back and I ride up to so many beautiful lakes- I am NOT one to stop and take photo's but really I was so happy to see all the trees and lakes I just had to.   And then the fun of course - screaming down hill fast!

Went for coffee at the Crazy Bean and rolled back to the hotel- perfect breakfast of yogurt, hard boiled eggs and loads of fresh fruit.

We packed up and hit the road by 11- destination Tahoe!  Ez drive and the temperature was climbing.  Soon it was 90- holy cow this will be a hot day.   We rolled into the registration for the Death Ride and it was over 90 but fun!  Cyclists everywhere and the anticipation of a race is always a good feeling.   Lots of people had their bikes and I began to check out peoples gearing.  I was seeing bigger cassettes than I had ever seen. One was so big I had to ask a guy and he said it was a 34!  This was literally a pie plate AND he rolls with a compact crank.  And he did not look out of shape or like a slacker.  I saw a few more massive cassettes and began to question my 12-25 set up.  Asked a few, fit guys and they all said they roll a 27 -28 for the death ride.  Hmmmmmm  129 miles, 15,000 ft of climbing- I think I need more gears.

We head for South Lake Tahoe and promptly stop at the first bike shop we see- WattaBikeShop  Sweet 12-27 in stock and yes they will put it on the bike.  Glad we are not messing with that later today.....Only issue is that chain is work with my other cassette so the shifting is not 100% clean.  The guy was a stud he was committed to getting this to shift smoothly -  I was totally impressed. He worked and worked and got it as good as it is going to get.  I am happy to deal with a bit of rough shifting for 2 more gears- I am sure of that.

Next stop Caples Lake Resort-  17 miles from the start and stunning views...

Accommodations are primitive- not a dive (ok it is a dive)  tiny room with a private bath across the hall. Our bikes are in the bathroom because the room is so small.  But we have a big window and out the window is the lake and mountains.  No cell phone service and no Internet access.

No problem, we had a lot of organizing to do, bike bottles, gear, numbers....a bit like Ironman but well not really since 1- this is not a race and 2- there is not a marathon involved.   But seriously we are thinking this may be 9-10 hours of riding.   The riding seems to be up or down, not a lot of flats.

We met up with some friends who (smartly) had rented one of the quaint cabins- it was rustic and quaint but very comfortable and functional. Bathroom actually in the unit.   Early dinner and feeling a bit like a pre- race meal, but well we enjoyed some wine.

Off to bed...alarm set for 4:15AM!

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