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Death Ride 2007 203km 5 cols

In preparation for this ride, I had ridden about 1925 km and I've done about 65000 m of climbing this year. I felt a bit nervous because this ride has 4575 m of climbing to it. I knew it would be a bit hard on a larger rider like myself. My new bike had a triple (52/39/30) with a 12-27 10spd cassette. The lowest elevation of this ride is 1676 m and the highest 2655 m.

On Saturday (14th), I awoke at 4:30am. After breakfast and changing into the bike clothes, we left the camp site at 5:15am. I decided to carry most of my food with me since there were about 2800 riders and I didn't want to get caught up in the lines for food. It was a bit chilly in the morning so I had on both arm and leg warmers.

Thirty minutes into the ride, we hit the first col, Monitor Pass (highway 89). This is a climb up the western slope. Its a 17 km climb of 800 m. The lower half had a 7.5km climb at 6.74% average grade. Half of that section had a grade of 8.57%. The upper 4.5 km had an average grade of 7.0%. There was a nice little break in the middle. When I began the upper climb, I turned and was looking west at the granite peaks in the Sierras and realized that I forgot my camera!

On my ride, there were four of us. Bob, Greg and Tony. I was to meet with another rider, Roger, but at this time, I hadn't been able to find him. Greg pretty much ditched us on this first hill, and we never saw him again until the end. Apparenty, he finished 181 of all riders who did the all five cols. Tony and I rider pretty similiar. Bob is a stronger climber than I am, and Roger is also a stronger climber, but doesn't have as good as endurance as I do.

Tony broke off from us half way up the climb to use the facilities. Bob stayed with me just prior to Tony breaking from us, but he got up ahead. I met up with Bob at the top and we waited for 10 minutes for Tony but never found him. During this time, I saw two other people I knew and chatted briefly with them.

Bob and I descended the eastern slope of Monitor Pass for 10 miles to the turn around junction. It was a beautiful view looking down into that high Sierra somewhat desert. Lots of riders were already assending the eastern slope, so you had to be careful on speed going down.

We dropped our warmers at this stop since it was apparent we were going to have a hot day, I believe it eventually got to 32C. We were about 43 km and 2.5 hours into the ride and finished one col.

We began our trip back up the eastern slope of Monitor (16km and 1000m of climbing). You can pretty much see the top from the start and its a bit intimidating to look at. Most people told me to just put my head down and ride. Bob stayed with me until the first water stop. He began to pull away after the stop. The lower 10km had an average grade of 7.3%.

When I went through the rest stop at the top, I couldn't find Bob. I went to the last hill just before the 26 km drop, and I saw Tony go by saying that he see me at the bottom. It was during this descent that I set my high speed record on my bike (I bested this later two other times). The fastest I had every riden a bike was 85 kmph, and I reached 87 kmph on the descent of the western slope Monitor.

I then turned onto highway 4 to ascend Ebbets pass, eastern slope. This is the highest peak on the ride of 2655m. It is a 19 km climb with 900m of climbing. Relatively easy for the first 8 km, then it starts getting harder. When it got harder, that first 5.3km averaged 6.6% and the last 4.2 km averaged 6.5%. There were pitches that peaked about 12% on this section and it was all a one lane road in these steep sections. You had to be very careful ascending as some riders were already descending the same route fairly fast and you had to stay to the right. In about the final km to the top, I heard a voice from behind say, "There you are". Bob came up from behind and then passed me before we reached the top.

I reached the top 6 hrs and 11 minutes into my day (about 11:30am) and at 92km into the ride. At the top Bob found Tony and we also found Roger. We also found another friend who wanted to ride with us too named Chris.

Ebbets is quite a bit different than Monitor. Monitor lays to the east of Ebbets and Carson and has a high desert look to it. Ebbets had much more granite rock around and lots of tall trees all around, and a bit greener.

We descended the westeren slope of Ebbets, still just a one lane road, so we had to be careful of the riders coming back up. 8km later, we turned around and climbed that slope we just descended. It was a 500 m climb. It had a lower section of 3.5 km with a grade of 6.0% and near the top a 2.3 km section of 8.3%. At this point, most of us were starting to feel the affects of the heat.

Bob and Chris rode ahead of us, and Roger, Tony and I stayed pretty much together. We didn't stop at the top and just raced down hill to the lunch spot. When we arrived, I was 7 hr and 50 minutes into my journey having gone 126 km and climbed four cols at this point.

We stayed about 30 minutes for lunch. Bob and Chris left first. Roger and I left second and I guess Tony left third, but I thought he had left before Roger and I. It was apparent at this point that Roger wasn't doing well. We got back near the starting point (you have to go past the started point to climb the final col). He decided to stop and rest. He was feeling sick. At this point I was at 142km.

Tony came by and stopped. We talked with Roger and decided to let him be and Tony and I would climb up to the final col. This final climb is the longest. Its 24km and 1000 m of climbing. Its got a long section in the middle with a fairly easy grade (1-2%). At the bottom of the climb, we stopped and got some water. They were spraying the riders with water to help them cool off.

Tony set the pace up the first climbing section. It was about 9km long and had a section of 1km at 8.4% and 1.5km at 7.0% near the next water stop. We didn't have to worry about vehicles on Monitor and Ebbets because they closed those roads to traffic, but the rest of the trip (highway 88 to Carson Pass) was including traffic. You had to be careful in passing people do to the number of cars climbing along with you. Many times we had a much slower pace than we would have liked (just under 8 kmph, we were preferring 9-12 depending the the grade).

After the stop, I set the pace for the final 16km. The first 6 km, I was able to keep about a 22-23 kmph rate due to the lower grade. Just about a km before the grade really increased, we got passed by a group of three riders that invited us to latch on. We did, and got a speed increase for a bit until we hit the higher grades. I began to go with them still and then I heard Tony say that he couldn't keep that pace. I slowed back down and we functioned from about 7 to 10 kmph for the rest of the climb. The final 2.9 km had an average grade of 7.2%. I would get us behind some people and try to pace with them. The wind in the section was the worst, so as people got closer to the top, many started slowing down more. I would then pass and look for another wheel. Although my HR was low for how I usually climb, my legs were feeling the affects of the climbing that day. I just found a wheel and stuck with it. It was in this section I saw Bob descending the hill while we still had 2km to the top.

We finally crested Carson Pass twelve hours and 172 km after we started this ride. We took a break and got our five pass pins and some ice cream. Tony left just before me on the return. As I was descending the upper steep part of Carson, I decided to let it go. The road was in great shape, so I figured I'd see what I can do. I reached a speed of 93 kmph. I figured I set my speed record until I hit the lower steep section and got to 96kmph

When I finished, it took me 13 hours and 15 minutes. Of that, 10 hours and 50 minutes were ride time. I'm glad I did it and grateful that we had good weather. It got a bit warm, but it was tolerable to deal with. I got what I came for, which was the five pass pin and that I was able to finish the whole route. My only disappointment was that I forgot to take my camera and snap some pictures during the ride. Each pass had a different look to it with the terrain.

Well done! You'll be eating and drinking more for days! Sorry about the camera; would have liked to see some pics!


Yes I have noticed. Its even more profound than my previous mile centuries I've done in the past. My estimated calorie usage was 7900. My previous high was 5800.

I'm still kicking myself over the camera. I brought it with me to the ride, I just forgot to put it in my pockets when we left in the morning. Bob had brought one, but he figured I would take mine, so he also left his at camp.

very well done mate!!

I did forgot mine too, so not too worry, I am still waiting for my brother to send me his pics!!!

well done again!!!

what is it going to be next? Very Happy

Chapeau Berck!!!!!!!!

A friend of mine has done DR and I know how brutal it is. Thats a smashing job.


Great ride Berck - fantastic ride!

Thanks everybody.

To answer berg's question, I'm not sure for cycling. I do have a 20 km hike coming up in two weeks. Smile

Last year Roger and I started a self supported mile century in our area for the middle of fall. I believe it will be in the works again this year for late October, or first Saturday of November. It has 2560 m of climbing and about 168 km distance. Its called the Mt Hamilton loop. Many people do this, but there are two ways to do it. The harder way to to climb Hamilton from the back side to San Jose, which is how we do it. We could add another 300m of climbing if we choose to add the Tour of California hill Sierra Rd (5.6 km / 9.8% ave grade), but that is a real killer after 120km of riding.

I always have planned a spring mile century in our area. Nothing planned for next summer yet. Forum Index -> Dr.Fuentes Consulting Room
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