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Well, the Shasta Summit Century was run yesterday, with a lighter than average turnout (about 600 riders per the coordinator I talked with after the ride) - most likely due to concerns about the air quality from the recent fires in Northern California. The event offered 30, 60, 100, and 135 mile options - with the last 2 having 10,500 ft and 16,500 ft of elevation gain respectively. While the summit elevations are not as high as the Deathride, the additional elevation climbed (and 6 extra miles in length) gives the local club the ability to assert that this is "tougher than the Deathride". Even if you disagree about the difficulty, there is no way anyone can argue that this ride offers much better scenery. From open plains/cattle pastures to winding mountain roads to a tight
mountain/river canyon to high alpine lakes. Breathtaking is the best description for the scenery.

The event staged at the City Park in Mt. Shasta City (located right at the base of the mountain), I chose the "Super Century" and I set out at about 6am. The course headed north along a frontage road to I5, and then crossed under the freeway and followed a county road up to the town of Weed. After a quick cup of coffee at the breakfast rest stop, I headed up the first climb - Parks Creek (not done on the 100 mile ride). This is a narrow winding road that snakes it's way up to the summit of the mtn - varying grades, with no flat spots to recover. Was treated to a fully stocked (fruits, snacks, water, and gatoraid) rest stop at the summit (3820 ft climbed to 6850 ft Elev.). Headed back down the hill into Weed and then south back towards Mt. Shasta.

Even thought the course description stated the "lunch stop" (held at the Mt. Shasta Resort) for the longer rides was AFTER the next 2 climbs, I checked my map and realized there was no food/water until half way up the next climb. I knew the road from backpacking trips, and was concerned about the lack of water in the TIGHT/NARROW river canyon, so I stopped to refill my water bottles and grab a banana.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Mt. Shasta Ride Report - pt 2

Refueled - I headed across Box Canyon Dam for Mumbo Summit (3400 ft climb to 6600 ft elev). This climb follows the S. Fork of the Sacramento River. It starts out fairly open, but then about 1/4 of the way up, you cross a narrow bridge and the road stays narrow through the canyon (the road is narrow enough that there is a logging truck bypass to avoid this section). Once in the canyon, the heat started to build a little and I was glad when we crossed another narrow bridge and the canyon opened up. There was a rest stop approximately 1/2 way up (which was also the turn around for the 100 mile ride) - perfect to refill my fluids. This rest stop was also well stocked and also added cold soft drinks - something I have found enjoyable on longer rides due to the mix of sugar and sodium. After a few minutes, I set out to finish the last 5.8 miles/2200 ft of this climb. The summit also had a rest stop and after getting more water I headed back down the hill. All the way down I enjoyed the views of Mt. Shasta as well as the river canyon.

Just before getting back to Box Canyon Dam, there is a turn off that heads up to Castle Lake (a pretty alpine lake). This was the shortest climb of the day - only 8 miles and 2200 ft. The road wound it's way through the trees and maintained a nice/climbable grade all the way to the top. The lake itself is beautiful and provided yet another well stocked rest stop.
A few minutes to sit/eat/drink and I was heading back down towards the lunch stop. Perfect timing as I was getting tired of Cliff bars/fruit and wanted something more substantial.

The lunch stop had a nice variety, including lunch meats, condiments, and freshly cut avocado (a favorite of mine). There was also the typical spread of snacks/fruit. While there, I got a FREE sports therapy treatment to ease the tension in my neck/traps. Also noted that the "Fifth Season" (local sports/bike shop) had a mechanic available to take care of any equipment "issues". Lucky for me, my Madone had none. With food in my stomach and fluids on board, I headed off for the final climb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Mt. Shasta Ride Report - pt 3

The course went back through the city of Mt. Shasta and then started up the Everitt Memorial Highway - a 14 mile/4420 ft climb to 7700+ Elevation. The first 4 miles of this climb is around 8.5% and catches you off guard, as it doesn't seem like you are climbing due to the scenery/being at the base of a peak that is over 10,000 ft tall from the base to the summit. As I passed Mc Bride Springs Campground, the road leveled off to a nice/constant 5.5%-6% the rest of the way up. There were rest stops at 5 (side of the road) and 10.5 (Bunny Flat) miles into the climb and another at the top of the climb. The climb ended at the old ski bowl (long since taken out by repetitive avalanches) and provided views of the Sac. River Valley to the south. Even with a little visible smoke, the views were well worth the climb. Then it was 14 miles back down to the start/finish. Total time in the saddle was about 10 hours and 45 minutes - not the fastest person, but I finished (and there were still people STARTING the last climb as I was finishing it).

The finish included a BBQ - with plenty of chicken, salad, and a couple of side dishes too.

Overall I had a great time and will definitely be going back next year.

A few thoughts/observations:

---I saw a lot of bikes set up with a mtn bike RD and HUGE cassettes (obvious by the length of the RD cage).
---My decision to change out my cassette from a 11-25 to a 12-27 was a good idea
---The climbs were a bit tough mentally, but very do-able as long as you didn't set out on a FAST pace to being with - as the training tip on the web pages states, “...nobody wins anything at the top of the first climb....” I saw lots of people pass me at the bottom of Parks Creek, only to be passed by me grinding a smooth pace later on the same hill or the 2nd climb - and some people burned out on the first 2 summits and could not even finish the 3rd or 4th climbs.
---The city of Mt. Shasta was GREAT - people were out in lawn chairs cheering on the riders and offering support (moral or nutritional).
---The theory of "eating before you're hungry and drinking before you're thirsty" worked (yet again) - I had good energy through out the day.
---For high elevation rides, do not forget that it's colder at the top of the climb. I was ok most of the day, but was up at the top of the last summit around 5:30 pm and realized I NEEDED to get back down the mountain before the sun set behind the peak. Being that the forecast was for 85F, I was only wearing my jersey. As I headed down from the top, I felt a weird wobble in my bike (know as a "death wobble" for motorcycles) and actually stopped the decent, got off the bike and checked my wheels for a problem. As I was spinning the rear, I shivered, and then knew I was getting hypothermic (cool air, 48 mph, and general lack of food - I just don't think you can eat enough on a long ride to stay ahead of the calories needed). Tried my best to keep my speed down to 30-35 until I got out of the trees and back to the warmth of the sun. Next time I'll bring a wind jacket.
---Just an opinion, but if an event is going to provide Gatoraid (which is needed for electrolyte recovery), it should either be in powder form to mix in water bottles or only offer 1 flavor along the entire course. I got grape flavored at the first stop, lemon/lime at the next stop (making a nasty brownish yellow liquid), and then there was fruit punch at the 3 stop. Even if you drink all of it, without using drinking water to rinse your bottle, some will remain and mix with the next flavor. Thankfully, one of the local residents allowed me to rinse out with their garden hose and then refilled me from a jug of bottled water they had for riders passing by.

Anyway - a well organized event on a well marked course with some of the best scenery you will find. Thanx to the Mountain Wheelers for hosting such a fun ride!!
 

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A great ride in my (extended) backyard - I raced the Hillclimb on Saturday morning but had to take care of some stuff on Sunday or I would have joined ya.

It looks like the smoke cleared out quite a bit on Sunday.

Congrats on finishing the ride and thanks for the great report.
 

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I went up to Mt. Shasta last Wednesday to get in a little extra training prior to the ride.... total for the 5 days ~ 375 miles and 33,000 feet of climbing (including Sunday's Super Century....) don't know if it's REALLY harder than the Death Ride, and DON"T CARE....
Did both for a memorable mid-summer '08:ihih:
 
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