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· Bacon!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Have you ever found yourself having just completed a ride without really being able to express what it was like in words? Well, the ride out of Lone Pine up to Horseshoe Meadows is one of those. Climbing from Lone Pine, California at an altitude of about 3,800 feet we climbed up to Horseshoe Meadows at 10,100 feet. It's an incredible ride to say the least with a road that climbs right up the side of the Eastern Sierras through a series of wild switch backs at a constant rate just under 8%. Pretty crazy stuff, but with unbelievable views of the Owens Valley and Lone Pine far down below you. The climb up is far from impossible, but the altitude definitely lets its presence known at the top. It was very hard for me to pic just a few of the ridiculous amount of photos I took along the way. Hopefully I won't bore you all too much.

Leaving Lone Pine we climbed up along Tuttle Creek Road through the Alabama Hills. I kept my eye out for the Lone Ranger, Captain Kirk, and a myriad other movie figures that have walked these hills but only the gentle sounds of movies' past played in the gentle winds sweeping through the rocks.

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Heluva-Climb-in-Lone-Pine
 

· Bacon!
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9,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Up Up and Away

The climb itself isn't grueling. Just long. 23 miles of nonstop uphill greets you almost immediately from the time you leave Lone Pine. Once the climb starts you've got a near constant cliff like drop off falling sheerly down to the switchbacks below you with the nearly dry Owen's Lake far below (thanks to L.A. the water that once made this valley flourish has been transported off to water lawns). We took a quick fig newton break and to take some pictures before continuing up the climb. Lots of blooming alpine lupine kept us company as we finally crested at the summit to where I found an earth moving thingamajig. We cooled our heels for a while before dropping down into Horseshoe Meadows Valley below and began our ascent once more towards 10,100.
 

· Bacon!
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9,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Into the Valley

As I was climbing I could see a pack of riders miles behind and thousands of feet below on the switchbacks. I was a little shocked to see how fast they were moving. I actually stopped and watched for a second to make sure it was bikes. I told myself that there was no way they could catch me, but 1/4 from the top the darn Team Descenders out of San Diego, CA caught up and passed me. Darn 130lbs climbing nuts! :)

We dropped down into Horseshoe Meadows and climbed up the other side to the campgrounds where we refilled our water and I took a picture of the smallest flowers I had seen in some time (note the sand grains). It was beautiful back in there but with a shockingly short supply of snow. This time of year should have had snow everywhere, but I couldn't find any.

Then, back up and over the crest to begin our wild descent.
 

· Bacon!
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9,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Back into Lone Pine

Most of the time I feel pretty good flying down steep roads and laugh at the danger of the speed involved. This descent was different. For some reason, maybe the rough road and loose sand here and there, I just couldn't get myself to trust the bike or the turns. I pretty much burned my brakes all the way down the mountains. Oh well, call me a wimp. Once at the bottom we followed Horseshoe Meadows Road back to the Whitney Portal Road and visited Movie Road before dropping back into town. You can see Mt. Whitney in the pics below. I've never been up there, but Joe, who was riding with us, has been many times. He spread his wife's ashes up there a few years ago after a hard battle with cancer.
 

· Bacon!
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9,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We've got an extra room. We hit Tioga Pass the next day. That was almost as spectacular scenerywise. But, that post will have to wait. I'm falling asleep at my desk.

On a side note, you're always welcome up here to join us.
 

· Lizzie will ride free
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3,156 Posts
Wow! I can understand why you wouldn't let go of the brakes and let it rip. What a view.

It's a good thing those guys are studying "how magma moves in the earth and makes volcanoes." That sounds like fun.

Clearly we I'm jealous of the weather you are having. With the crazy heat in the east and snow here, it's just bizarro world.
 

· Anti-bling
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274 Posts
Damn, that looks fantastic. I'll be in that area for a week or so next month and while I wasn't planing on bringing the bike, I'm sorely tempted to now. I assume there is no water available once you leave Lone Pine?
Great photos and report - thanks for sharing.
 

· Non non normal
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10,185 Posts
What stunning scenery. That was an absolutely great ride report.
 

· Yo no fui.
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8,486 Posts
Killer.
 

· Bacon!
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9,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey Crilly, there's no water until you reach the end. If you have any opportunity at all to bring your bike you should 100% do it. Besides Horseshoe you can do the Whitney Portal Road up to 8,500' or the Onion Valley Climb out of Independence up to 10,000+. Any of the three are incredible rides.
 

· Bacon!
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9,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey MB, we just missed the Sierra Double. I had the dates all wrong and actually met up with some people in Lee Vining that had just completed it. They said the riding was terrific this year and had 37 miles of 30mph tailwinds at one point. Must have been fun.
 

· Bacon!
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9,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We saw a total of five cars that passed us and one Forest Service truck that kept passing, and passing, etc. Not sure what he was up to but always gave us a wide berth.
 
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