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!