I'm working in California for a couple of weeks so I thought I'd take the opportunity to do some sunny riding. I hired one of these horrible things
which weighted about 13kg once I got my water and tools on it, and got a lift to Kernville so I could ride the infamous Sherman's Pass along to Kennedy Meadows and then back to the hotel in Ridgecrest, a total of 111 miles and over 10,000ft of climbing.
I started at 0730 to try to keep out of the hottest part of the afternoon and started the long slow climb from 2,600ft to the peak at 9,120ft, and then along the realtively flat, but high altitude spine. Fortunately the temperature was cooler because of the altitude (I'd estimate 26 degrees) but the air was incredibly dry. There was a further 1,200ft killer climb at 70 miles and then an awesome descent off the mountain back into the killer heat, now around 35 degrees. The last slog home on the flat was a nightmare. I couldn't face any more of the energy fluids in my bottles and I just wanted to stop. My lips were chapped and my neck and shoulders were killing me. I finally got home after 8 hours in the saddle.
Map and profile of the Sherman's Pass ride are here
I thought I'd try something a bit different and drop in and out of Death Valley. Starting at 0730 I was dehydrated by lunchtime and had to buy a big bag of ice to put down my shorts and in my pockets (surprisingly effective!) It was a total of 93 miles and 9,600ft of climbing, but the heat made it really difficult and by 1pm it was 44 degrees. The climb out (a relentless 5000ft) was particularly difficult and just seemed to go on and on and on......If you ever get the chance I wouldn't recommend it and I mean that.
Map and profile of the Death Valley ride are here
and look at the satellite image for an idea of the terrain.
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First completed build: Fuquay 'Superfly' Cyclocross
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2008 Scott CrossComp with 9 spd Shimano
198x Dawes Celeste Single Speed Pub Hack