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Slowuphill said:
OK I got into the Death Ride and want to complete all 5 passes. Would love to hear from you on training rides that helped you finish, any centuries before that helped, weekly rides you would reccommend. I'll listen to advise to help me succeed in this ride.
BTW I'm 49 not the greatest climber but willing to suffer. Live in San Jose and climb Mt Ham, Hwy 9, Montebello, Bohlman, etc. Bike has a triple with 53-39-30.
Thanks in advance friends!!
There are lots of great routes that we used to train on for Death Ride. One key is to make sure you are riding 2 or 3 25-30 mile rides during the week, not necessarily with lots of climbing. The point is to keep yourself at a high level of fitness, but save the hard effort for the weekend. On the weekend, do a long road ride one day, and follow it up with a reasonably hilly mountain bike ride (climbing dirt will make you a lot stronger than climbing pavement). This will turn you into a climbing stud and only sickness can keep you from finishing Death Ride. Here are some of our training routes. We almost always start somewhere in Los Gatos.

1. Ride down through the Uvas area, down Watsonville Road over to Hecker Pass Road, up and over Hecker Pass (very fun descent), then to Corralitos via Hazel Dell. From Corralitos, go up Eureka Canyon all the way to summit and cross the ridge line all the way to Hwy 9. Descend hwy 9 and close the loop for a 100 miles and 10,000+ feet of climbing.

2. Ride up hwy 9, turn right and go down skyline to hwy 84. Descend almost to the ocean, at San Gregorio, turn south and take Stage Road into Pescadero. Climb Pescadero Road and connect with Alpine for the climb back to Skyline. This is a monster, but you're not done yet. Resist the urge to descend Page Mill, turn right on Skyline and go back to hwy 9 the hard way. I don't remember how long this is, but it is probably 85-90 miles, again with 10,000+ feet of climbing.

3. Up hwy 9, across to Alpine, down Alpine, up Pescadero Road, over Stage Road, thru San Gregorio, until it ends at hwy 1. Turn north on hwy 1 and ride to Tunitas Road. Climb to Skyline and descend Kings Mountain into Woodside, then close your loop. Or you can turn right on Skyline and ride to hwy 84 to descend that. This should be 85 miles or so with 8-9,000 feet.

4. Up hwy 9, across to Alpine, down to Pescadero. Then take cloverdale or bean hollow to hwy 1 and ride it about 20 miles to Bonny Doon road. Climb up Bonny Doon, then take Martin to Ice Cream Grade. Cross Empire Grade, descend Felton Empire, go thru Felton Empire to Zayante. Climb Zayante and at the top, then turn right at the top and ride over to hwy 17. Cross over, and take Mountain Charlie down to Old Santa Cruz, descend and go around Lexington Reservoir on Alma Bridge Road. Take the Los Gatos Creek Trail (dirt for about 2 miles) into Los Gatos and close the route. This should be 100 miles and 10K+.

5. Do the last ride up to Bonny Doon on hwy 1, only keep riding all the way into Santa Cruz. Traffic sucks when you get into town, so get off hwy 1 as soon as you can. We turn left at Miramar Street (I think) and ride through the neighborhood up to Escalona. This eventually ends, and you want to go left to pick up a bike path (not the pedestrian bridge) that takes you next to the freeway for a short distance and dumps you into a business park. Take coral street to the end, then right on Encinal, then left on hwy 9. From here, you'll ride hwy 9 all the way up to summit and back down the other side. This should be around 110 miles, and a probably the most spectacular ride you can do in this area, too. For lots of extra credit, take hwy 236 when you get into Boulder Creek, through Big Basin, which will dump you back on hwy 9. That's probably another 10 miles, another 1000 feet, and even more proof that there is no finer place to ride than California.

Back when I was actually in shape, these were a few of the rides that we did all spring and into the summer. Do these rides a few times between now and July and you will be bulletproof. Also, take a field trip up to Moraga and do the Grizzly Peak Century in May. It's a good ride, fairly local, and a beautiful course with lots of climbing and spectacular views of San Francisco bay. Also, seriously consider doing the Sierra Century in June up in gold country, for a fitness check.
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