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Bacon!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mrs. Ridgetop, myself, and our friend Joe decided to sign up for the Alta Alpina Challenge 8-Pass organized ride which takes place in the same neck of the woods as the Deathride. The ride itself is 200 miles long and something close to 20,000 feet of elevation gain. http://www.altaalpina.org/challenge/8pass/index.html. We failed to make the 200 miles and only ended up with about 9,500 elevation gain thanks to my body completely failing me at mile 111.6. I've only ridden about two dozen times since getting sick over most of the winter and then decided to come down with a cold the week of this ride. I think my efficiency was about 1 gallon of snot per 20 miles of riding and I was completely destroyed by the end of the ride. I really wish I could have kept going but just didn't have it in me and I was getting so sick I thought my body was going to shut down. So, four passes completed but a big fat fail overall.

We started out at 3:45am under heavy cloud cover from Turtle Rock Park near Markleeville, CA (same location as the Deathride start). Unlike the D.R. there were less than 50 cars in the parking lot and almost no sounds except the tinking of metal on metal once in a while. Strange feeling compared to what it will be like in a month. The forecast was for thunderstorms but were hoping for good weather. It wasn't too cold to start at 55F and I packed my heavier rain resistant gear into my camelback and away we went. First stop Kingsbury Grade Pass #1.
 

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Bacon!
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Kingsbury Onto Luther Pass

Pass #2 was up ahead. We had hit light rain/mist on top of Kingsbury but the ride toward Luther wasn't too bad until we hit the top after heading up Highway 88 and 89. Then rain and ice pellets began to come down. It would be a warning shot of what was to come later.

I was already getting pretty sick by this point. I couldn't breath, my throat hurt, and I was getting hot flashes (maybe male menopause :)). But I'm too stubborn and stupid so I kept riding anyway. How bad could it get anyway?
 

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Bacon!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Heading Toward Carson Pass

Heading back down off of Luther Pass back toward Highway 88 and Hope Valley we could see snow falling on the peaks to our west. We figured this didn't bode well for the ride up Carson but at least we knew we wouldn't be overheating. The ride up wasn't bad with some pellet snow falling as we climbed up. But after hitting the top and the rest stop we hit partially frozen rain falling on the way back down. Let me tell you, at 50mph that ice rain feels like a machine gun hitting you. Ouch!!!
 

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Bacon!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Blue Lakes And Beyond

I don't know what happened, but after Carson Pass our timing became horrible. Basically we managed to get rain, snow, and hail on 90% of the ride from this point onward. Luckily I had brought my Amphib tights, a softshell jacket, and a couple of extra layers to stay warm. I think I'd be in the hospital half dead if I hadn't been able to stay warm enough. The only thing that got wet really was my feet. The rest of me was nice and toasty warm thankfully. Still, as the rain began to come down in ernest my body began to tell me that failure was on the way. At this point I was riding so slowly that a child on a big wheel would have passed me like I was standing still.
 

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Bacon!
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9,190 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quick Final Notes

Just quickly: I would highly recommend this ride for anyone wanting to train at altitude for the Deathride or if you just want to do something super tough completely separate from it. If you aren't doing all 8 passes and 200 miles though, I would definitely cut Kingsbury Grade out of the mix unless you want the miles. It's way out of the way, boring ride to get there, and not to exciting of a climb.

In general:
Support: A-: Very nice people, excellent food overall. Only reason for the minus is that lunch is at mile 110 if you are doing 8 passes. That's a long time to hold out for real food, at least for me.

Route: B+: I really could have done without Kingsbury. But oh well.

Toughness: Ultimate Butt Kicker

Time of Year: B. It can vary all over the place as far as weather in early June.

Oveall: A- and worth doing without a doubt.

Ridgetop: D+. Only got 1/2 done :(.
 

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Misfit Toy
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Considering what you have been through, I don't think this is a fail. :)
 

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pretty-n-pink
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335 Posts
It seems as though we suffer from the same character flaw--stubbornness. But you're a little crazier than me.

What you mean fail? I read the Alpina website and it said you can pick and choose how many passes you want to do. You chose 4. Even at 4 it looked harder than my Bear ride.:eek:

The 8 passes look like a double Death Ride. Have you done the Death Ride before? How did the 4 passes compare to the Death Ride?

Riding sick through rain, sleet and cold conditions for 111 miles over 9500 ft of climbing=impressive in my book.:thumbsup:

Great pics and write up. Thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'm not crazy enough to do it.:idea:
 

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Registered
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Yeah, what they said! You don`t think you set yourself back by overshooting? I hope you recover OK. I`ll have to check out the recovery next week- I`m off in about two hours for a family campout in Lassen/Burney and get to ride home after my wife and the nieces head out. I won`t do the whole ride in one day though.
 

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Eat fried chicken.
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Wow. Great pictures. That ride looks insane. 119 miles is still pretty good. I did 21,000 ft of climbing over 600k recently and was wrecked. Over 200 miles? Tough. I would totally attempt that ride though. Hope you're feeling better and thanks for posting.
 

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Registered
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Dude, what were you thinking? No way I would attempt a ride like that even if I was healthy and in shape, let alone sick. However, I would not consider it a "fail" riding 116 miles under those circumstances (or any conditions).
 

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Bacon!
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think I set myself back a bit. I've had a horrible sinus infection and I'm still feeling it in my lungs as of today. I don't have to ride again until Friday so I'm hoping all will go well.

We looked at that Lassen to Reno ride last year. They were still paving Lassen and the road was a gravelly dusty mess without the pavement over the Park Pass. But the rest of the route looked pretty doable. Good luck and it looks like you're going to have gorgeous weather!
 

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Lets Go Hokies!!!
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5,930 Posts
Ridge, you're nuts. There is no way in hell I would have attempted that, but you're just crazy enough to go for it and for that I applaud you. That looks like a hell of a ride.

BTW, the photo in the second group of the old barn in front of the mountains is fantastic. How were you able to take such nice shots during such a crappy ride?
 

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Bacon!
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9,190 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just pray and shoot a lot of pics :). Mainly dumb luck I think but my poor camera is going to have to be replaced soon. After almost 10,000 pics the buttons are begging to get a little loose and sad.
 

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Bacon!
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Grrly, I think your ride was just as hard as this one. The Deathride is harder. You do have the advantage of hitting the four hard ones first, but it is definitely more difficult to do overall. We're doing it again this year and right now I'm just hoping to be able to complete it.
 

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Power Napper
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2,853 Posts
Hey Ridge, get a grip. There is no fail here.

I was just over there at the Eastern Sierra Double the weekend before. Rain, hail, snow, and that was AFTER they re-rerouted us. I packed it in after 80 miles. Having completed that double before (on the standard route) I wasn't willing to damage myself just for a point of pride.

I had serious concerns about that 8 Pass Challenge when I first heard about it. At what point do routes just become flat out ridiculous?? Just because something can be mapped doesn't mean it should be ridden. Jees. My coach was driving around up there and saw folks out on the road past 10 PM.

Hope you manage your recovery well. Hey, we go out there to push the envelope, and sometimes it rips.

To quote Dirty Harry "A man's got to know his limitations." (Or a woman as the case may be.)
 
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