Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mt Shasta Century

Sunday, August 2

We awoke to cooler temperatures and cloudy skies (from burning fires in the east and a changing weather pattern).  Miss P. figured out a route that would shave some miles off the Mt. Shasta Century to save our legs for climbing Mt. Shasta.  She did this last year as well when we did the Fall River Mills century.  I've never done a full century, don't really care if I ever do. I'm out there to see the world and have fun with friends, firemen, and anyone else I happen to meet along the way. 

Guess who we ran into as we started out -- Dick and Donna Matthews!  They too were doing a modified route, saving Mt. Shasta for the following day.  We later learned that lots of other cyclists also change up the route to suit their needs and only 100-150 people actually climb Mt. Shasta.  Another reason we shortened the route was because we feared soaring temperatures.  That didn't happen, though as the day wore on, we did feel the heaviness of humidity, like you might experience on the East Coast.  As you can see from the photos, the sky was not at all blue.  Fall River Mills Century offers more interesting scenery in my opinion but it doesn't have Mt. Shasta!

The above photo captures some of the first climb we did, about 10 miles or so.  It reminded me of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierras.  We encountered a woman with her huskies, training for dog sledding.  She also gives massages as we later learned at the lunch stop.  Fun and easy descent, actually much of the route had great long descents, the best being Mt. Shasta.

The volunteers at each stop were wonderful, as was the food.  At the lunch stop, I met a guy, actually I met quite a few -- friendly cyclists decked out in jerseys that gave us thought for future centuries, where was I, oh yes, a guy from SDSU.  Naturally I let him know I was from SJSU.  Leaving the lunch stop, we encountered the same group of cyclists over and over as we began the climb to Mt. Shasta.  We saw lots of cyclists earlier but as we approached Mt. Shasta, the crowd thinned out.

Mt Shasta is like Mt. Hamilton.  It looms ahead and teases you.  In this case, for 13 miles.  We began in rain.  Yes, little raindrops became bigger and annoying raindrops.  We sauntered on.  I listened to some guy tell me about his kidney stone health issues.  He bowed out.  We were on own again.  The rain stayed with us for maybe a half hour and then the sky slowly got a bit bluer.  It's not a difficult climb (for those of used to biking in the Bay Area) but it is a long climb, and it can wear you down.  Beautiful trees and a glimpse of a deer here and there broke up the monotony as well as the nice looking cyclists of the male persuasion....

At some point, maybe around 6,000 feet (we started at 3590), I left Miss P. and joined other cyclists as we climbed and climbed.  We saw signs telling us what elevation we were at but after Bunny Flat (6950), I don't remember seeing any more signs.  I felt strong and full of myself and every time I got just a bit whiny, I yelled at myself to stop being a baby and keep going.  And that I did, until I reached the end at Old Ski Bowl (7,730 feet) where others cheered me for finishing.  Like the guy from SDSU.  I clapped when Miss P.  arrived.  The descent was a blast, non technical, smooth and fast.  We met up again with Dick and Donna, Carol and Tom for dinner at the park.  We did it.  We kicked ass.  And tomorrow, we have one more adventure before heading home.

Just the stats:

78.6 miles
34 max descent
9.9 avg mph
7 hr. 53 min. 
Didn't do 10,500 feet of climbing but somewhere in the ballpark....

1 comment:

Alison Chaiken said...

I love your attitude, and am glad you guys had fun and not 110F on the day of the ride. What good luck that the day before was so sultry and not the day of the Century! I guess the smoke obscured the views from the summit, but you and I will agree that hill-climbing is its own rewards. Big kudos on riding strong.