Friday, July 17, 2015

Crusher in the Tushar Trip

Mary and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Tushar mountains for the Crusher in the Tushar bike race. We're hooked. The fine scenery, the super hard, well organized race, the cool, high altitude air all keep us coming back.

This was my third go. Click here for my description of the 2013 event - which was nothing short of magical.

Thursday before the race Mary and I took a little spin to check out conditions.

Conditions were perfect!

In fact delightfully perfect!

Saturday was race day. Oddly, I wasn't nervous. I trained well, my body felt good, and I knew what lay ahead.

I stayed nicely tucked in the main pack all the way to the beginning of the steep parts of the first climb. I rolled over the top feeling like a Paris Roubaix champ. I then bombed down the descent of the Col 'd Crush, only slowing a bit after seeing a seriously messed up guy sitting by the side of the road.

I got into a decent little group on Highway 89 and rolled into Circleville feeling fine. The challenging  "Sarlacc Pit" went down steady and smoothly.

Then the Col 'd Crush absolutely crushed me! Maybe I had a little hunger knock. I definitely had a stiff back, and the legs were starting to quiver. Three times I dismounted to regroup, which seemed to help as my power #s would improve for a while only to gradually dwindle again.

I arrived at the main aid station an absolute zombie, but I ate more, drank more, stretched for a few seconds and remounted. Slowly, but surely life returned to my body and the steady stream of riders passing me slowed to a trickle.

At last I rolled onto pavement and made the final push to the finish line. "Sprinting" from the drops.

and collapsing on the tarmac!

Thanks to Mary, my sister Margaret, and race volunteers I was up and "with it" in no time.

A bit later we were all stoked to see my buddy Chris finish.

All smiles!

More smiles. Beer helps.

Back at camp it was all about Champagne and Bocce Ball.

and a glorious sunset to top it all off.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bodie and Soul

One more big ride before the Crusher. This time on the cross bike!

I got an early start from Bridgeport and rolled north on Highway 182 along the scenic East Fork of the Walker River crossing into Nevada shortly before leaving the highway for dirt.

Shortly after leaving the highway the road crossed the East Fork. The Sweetwater Mountains in the back.

 Further along, the road briefly rejoins the river in this beautiful stretch.

Mt. Grant among the morning haze.

Near the junction with the road up Bodie Canyon I stopped at Fletcher Spring to refill my bottles with fresh, cool water.

The long, steady climb up Bodie Canyon was a real joy.

Ruins under wild rose.

Arriving finally at Bodie. The finest ghost town in the Eastern Sierra if not the entire west.

After a brief stop to admire the ruins and enjoy the mix of European and American tourists I climbed up the Masonic road into the high country of the Bodie Hills.

Flowers were in pleasant abundance including this creamy lupine.

Real nice views up high.

and lush, high meadows.

The top of the long plunge down Aurora Canyon towards Bridgeport with the Sierra in the background.

Thankfully the road was well graded and quiet.

Eastside gravel bliss!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Boys Camp Out

Mary spent the better part of the week up in Virginia City drawing on her artistic talents at a water color class, so the boy and I went camping up near Mammoth.

I checked out the campgrounds at Big Springs and Glass Creek, but they proved to be a bit busy for my taste so I "boony" camped off the Owens River Road. 

Found a nice spot with some shade. B approved too (in front of door to the Scamp).

The small roads nearby were perfect for frequent strolls with the Beeper.

We took a short trip over to Big Springs to fill our water jugs, cool down, and soak in the lush scene.

When the going gets hot (108F in Bishop) I go for a high elevation mountain bike tour.

Started from camp and headed first to Little Sand Flat. Ritter and Banner in the back.

Mt Dana distant left and Mono Craters distant right.

The next objective was Sagehen Peak (left) via a short spell on Highway 120.

The lupine, like last week, were thriving, their scent positively intoxicating!

I left 120 and headed up to the peak on pleasant roads.

After this section among the Aspens I took a left up to the summit.

What views!

North to Mono Lake and the Sierra.

South to the Sierra above Long Valley.

To the southeast the White Mountains lurked in the slight haze.

More nice flowers. Fragrant too.

Next up was beautiful Crooked Meadow.

Green despite the drought.

One of the sweetest rides of the year.

Got back to Bristle and enjoyed the rest of the day with him.
Cool down walk!

Glad I got of out of heatsville!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sierra Amble

Mary, Bristle and I picked back up with our Sunday mountain ambling. This time we headed up to Mosquito Flat and trekked over to Eastern Brook Trout Lake.

The B in the lead.

Wandered a little above the lake among nice meadows which were much too dry for this time of year.

Back to the lake.

Love the mountain scenery.

Just what I needed.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Green Church to Lee Vining

Felt a strong desire for a long road ride in the high(er) country. Mary dropped me off at the Green Church (junction of 395 & Benton Crossing Rd) and I rode from there to Lee Vining via Highway 120.

Early in the ride. Long Valley and the Glass Mountains

Looking back to the Sierra

Heading up to Wildrose Summit. Empty roads & fine scenery.

Banner Ridge (foreground) and the White Mountains (background)

After a tough climb into a headwind I crested Sagehen Summit

Most of these small plants are Lupine. Their fragrance was dreamy.

The final climb of the day.

Road Bliss!