Eastern Sierra Double Century

June 2nd, 2001

The Eastern Sierra Double Century is arguably the most scenic of all the SoCal DC's. This time around Hugh Murphy did an outstanding job of providing terrific support. Despite the no-show of many volunteers, each rest stop was adequately "manned" and provided all sorts of goodies, including Hammergel, Sustained Energy and an ample supply of ICE CUBES. For me at least a Double Century is a lot more fun with the availability of cold drinks, especially since I can only stomach Sustained Energy when it is ice cold. When ice cold however, it is my favorite energy drink. The ride starts out with about 10 flat miles around Bishop. Usually these miles are ridden when it is very cold. This year the temperature in the morning was mild. The next 20 miles meander through the flat lands more to the west of Bishop after which the climbing starts on Old Sherwin Grade/ Lower Rock Creek Rd. I get passed by all kinds of people, some of whom will run out of gas later on. Emmy Klassen, training for Solo RAAM this year, is riding strong. Lower Rock Creek Rd. is one of the prettier sections of the ride. Back on Hwy 395, we hit the usual headwinds. I stay awhile with the tandem propelled by Dan Crain and Annie Beck, all color coordinated in blue and purple. Thinking I am still on the 395, I find myself on the road entering Mammoth. I am just about brain dead from riding into the wind. Up and down the scenic loop and back on the 395. I am debating, whether or not to do the June Loop, most riders like this section, I don't care for it: too much wind. This time, extensive road work has been reported with sections of gravel . This gravel comes up just before rejoining the 395. Somehow I am so preoccupied by trying to stay upright that I nearly slam into cross traffic on the 395.(we are talking inches here) In 1997, my best year, I was way in front of everyone. In fact on my return most riders were just finished with the June Lake Loop. Continuing to ride in these Double Centuries is an exercise in humility. Now I am just another rider in the pack. Steve Pack is just leaving when I ride into the lunch stop. Get myself "iced up", fill my Hammergel flasks and back on the bike towards the left turn onto Hwy 120. Hwy 120 to Sagehen Summit is by far the hardest part of this ride. Usually it gets very hot and the climbs are multiple and erratic. Hard to get into a rhythm. This year it is actually cool. There is even tail wind pushing us over the summit. I catch up to a few front riders, including Steve Pack. They take off in a pace line. I prefer to ride just by myself. After, what seems like an eternity, I reach Benton. This is where the going gets tough and the tough get going. Easier said than done. Without fail there is a strong headwind, which, combined with heat and a never ending stretch of straight asphalt, makes for a tough finish of a tough ride. This year for failure to provide a rest stop midway we are free to shop $5 at the local drugstore. Ice cream and Coke Classic are the ticket for me. Finally back at the Fair Grounds. Once more next year???









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