On the day after the 2010 Fall Death Valley Double Century, in which I placed third, I went on a “recovery ride”. My ride was to Dante’s View — a 25 mile climb from 100 feet below sea-level at the Furnace Creek Inn to Dante’s View, 5,475 Elevation. Probably not the wisest choice for a recovery ride but my season was over so one more day of hard climbing wasn’t going to hurt too much …or was it?
My good friend, Steve Barnes, had told me about the climb up to Dante’s View while we were sharing a meal earlier in the year. I was on a high after placing second at the Spring Death Valley Double Century and I asked him for a recommendation for a good ride the next day. Steve made the climb to Dante’s View very enticing. But when I awoke the next morning I wasn’t fully recovered and I decided to sleep in. However, since my curiosity was already piqued, I drove up to the summit to recon the route. Luckily, I didn’t ride that day because when I got to the summit it was shrouded in clouds along with freezing rain. Visibility was nil and while riding in freezing rain doesn’t bother me in the least, the point of going to Dante’s View … is for the view!
I began the climb feeling pretty good. The grades were pretty gradual from Furnace Creek (approximately 100 feet below sea level) with a few reliefs here and there. The grades got progressively steeper throughout the climb. The last three miles got really steep at over 10% grade. I thought I was having a hard time because I was tired but after looking at the download it all made sense. Yes I WAS tired from the Double Century the day before but by the time I got to the last 3 miles I had already climbed 22 miles and over 5,000 feet. The last 3 miles were steep over 8% with the last 1/4 mile at over 15%. On the last 1/4 mile it was all about standing and cranking to keep the pedals turning as I struggled to keep the bike upright and maintain my balance.
The reward for all that hard work was some of the best views of Death Valley I have ever seen. I have included some pictures that I took but really you have to see it for yourself. Death Valley never ceases to amaze me when it comes to its beauty. I strongly recommend doing this climb next time you are in Death Valley.
Notice I’m wearing the best socks made– Swiftwick Merino Wool Socks 7″ !
Did You Know?
The salt pan on the floor of Death Valley covers more than 200 square miles. It is 40 miles long and more than 5 miles wide. Source