Thursday, November 1, 2007

Death Valley Fall Century 2007

What a crazy ride.

Surreal weather due to the SoCal Firestorm greeted the annual Fall edition of the Death Valley Century and Double Century on Saturday, October 27, 2007. The light smoke high in the air created a funky glow to the day, while also keeping temperatues below 80 instead of the predicted 93. This particular edition was the fifth in history to traverse the northern route of this event, heading to Scotty's Castle, Ubehebe Crater, Hell's Gate, and other roadside attractions. With riders representing AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IA, IL, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, RI, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, and WI, this event remains one of the most popular endurance rides in the country.

261 intrepid cyclists tackled the course. By the end of the day, 133 would complete the century, 95 would complete the double century, and just 23 would DNF one or the other distance, while 22 didn't sign in at the finish.

Starting Line. I went out at 7:30 with the first wave of Century riders, and rode with the leaders for the first hour, til we hit the uphills and the winds started to pick up.

On our way. We left Furnace Creek Ranch, and we soon will leave behind the green surroundings of the little Oasis.

Rest Stop One. 18 miles out we stopped for some fuel. This was the end of the fun, as we turned to Scotties Castle here, and began heading straight into the wind, with constant 2-3% grades.

Rest Stop Two. At this point I really already wanted to quit. Somehow I kept myself going through persistent cramps for the last 6 hours of the ride.

Slow and Steady Climbs. You can see that we're on an incline, but I swear it was impossible to tell when you were riding. Everything was a big mirage.

Climbs are Getting Steeper. The final climb to Scotties castle was 3miles at 7% grade. Believe it or not, after the windy uphill, this was probably my favorite part.

Go Tom Go. Here I am about half way up the climb, trying not to cramp up.

Almost to Scotties Castle. This is the view as you approach the crest right before the half way mark.

A wild Coyote. Not as cool as the ones that ride bikes. The volunteers joked around about not feeding me because the rangers told them feeding Coyotes was forbidden.

Then of course I had to turn around and go all the way back! I'll be back in the Spring!

No comments: