Everesting Elfin Forest to Double Peak Summit – San Marcos – Everest number 3

I completed my third Everest on Thanksgiving day November 24, 2016.  While many were enjoying their time with family and friends I decided to go out and spend some quality time with my climbing bike Bella – Bottecchia Emme 695.

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The first Everest was South Grade Palomar Mountain.  I still consider it as my hardest.  The solitude, the danger of the country road at night, the heat during the day and let’s not forget the HC climb of 11.6 miles and 4,200 feet of gain.


The second Everest was a local hill close to my shop and home, Double Peak Drive.  The climb is 1.1 miles but I chose the segment of the climb that was the steepest 1/2 mile.


And for my latest trick, I climbed a 2.4 mile climb 31 repeats at an advertised 985 feet about 7.8% grade and it also included the entire Double Peak 1.1 mile climb which ramps up to over 15% on the last 1/2 mile.  I Everested only the last 1/2 mile section (steepest section of the 1.1 mile climb) on July 10th – screenshot up above.

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One hour 38 minutes of stopped time.  At first glance it looks like a huge amount of resting time however, I assure you not one of my stops was for a rest.  This particular Everest had 10 Traffic Signals, Five on the way up and Five on the way down.

  1. Elfin Forest Rd (start of the climb and U-turn point)
  2. Schoolhouse
  3. Hope
  4. Questhaven
  5. Double Peak Park Dr (Left turn across traffic)

On every repeat I had to stop at least once on either the ascent or the descent.  Consider 31 repeats being stopped just ONCE for one minute that’s 31 minutes right there!  The rest of my stops were all logistical in nature.  Clothing changes, transition to night riding and of course the self-sagging stops are all very time consuming.

Below is a comparison table of the key data I monitor and use to compare the efforts for each event.

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A few quick points to put some sense to the numbers:

  1.  The Elfin Forest to Double Peak Summit ranks second in the following categories: A. Total Time, Moving Time, Stopped Time and Kj’s, kj/hour, Normalized Power and VAM
  2. The Elfin Forest to Double Peak Summit ranked Highest in Training Stress Score (TSS)

In general it did feel as the second hardest Everest that I have completed.  So the numbers give an accurate representation what happened on the road.

Thank you for reading please subscribe to this blog.  It has been dormant far too long.  Four years ago I opened my own high-end bike shop and that has consumed me.  My spare time for my writing has been almost nil.  However, there are several posts that are in a draft mode and just need to be revisited, edited and published.  Please leave comments with your questions so that I can answer them.  Your questions will be incorporated into my future Everest posts.

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#everesting #everestchallenge

Mt Whitney Super Century– SPOT Link



Tomorrow I will be riding the Mt Whitney Super Century.  Here is the SPOT Transmitter link if you care to follow on the SPOT page.

Thank you Brad Horton for the use of the SPOT Transmitter.



My First Ultra — the 2003 Grand Tour Highland Triple

So as I was digging through some old stuff and I found this little gem.  It is from my first ever Ultra, The Grand Tour Highland Triple back in 2003.  Pictured are some of my favorite Ultra friends, Lynn Katano, Francis Ignacio and Roehl Caragao.  This picture was taken at Gaviota State Beach, CA at approximately mile 193 of the total distance of 300 miles.  The back story to this picture is one of my favorite cycling stories to tell people.  Lynn has often introduced me to her friends with the story that follows– an abbreviated version of course.

I had been off the bike for two years. People who know me know probably find this incredible to believe.  Why was I off the bike so long?  I had had a “violent crash” as my friend, Tom called it.  I broke a finger on my left hand and jammed my neck really bad.  I destroyed my steel frame as well.  Add to that a new career a new home and cycling took a back burner.  I kept telling myself I’ll get back on next month and next month came and went.   Finally, I was just disgusted when I looked in the mirror one morning and decided to get back on the bike and back in shape.

I bought a 2001 Colnago C40 frameset in March of 2003 and started to build it up component by component.  At the time, the Colnago C40 was all the rage.  Once the bike was built I began riding in May.  I knew I had gained a lot of weight (35 pounds) in the two years but once I started riding I really noticed how much those 35 lbs effected my performance on the bike.  I needed a goal …something to train for something to keep me focused.  I remembered hearing about double centuries and those crazy people that did 200 miles in a day.  I thought that was nuts but at least it would keep me motivated to train…even if I only did a century.

I found the California Triple Crown site which listed the double centuries for the year.  I found the Grand Tour which was at the end of June.  It’s description stated it was a great beginner double century.  Even though I had never done a double century I didn’t want to be in the “beginner” anything category so I signed up for the Highland Double which had more climbing.  The event was June 24, 2003 which meant I had almost 8 weeks to prepare for a double century.  I didn’t get a chance to do a century before the event but I felt if I just took my time, ate and drank a lot, I would at least finish the double century.

I started the event with the early departures at 3:30am.  I think back now at what a rookie I was and how crappy my gear was then.  I had this really dim headlight that barely lit the road.  I found myself in a paceline straightaway just so I could actually see the road.  I would never go out on a night ride now without a proper headlight and tail light.  About 65 miles into the ride I was teased and taunted by Roehl and his daughter Maureen, 15 years old (on their tandem) that I really should do the Triple Century with them.  First I told them they were crazy then I explained to them that I had never ridden more than 110 miles.  And since I had been off the bike for two years it had been AT LEAST been 2 years since the last time I had done a century.

Well to make a long story short (23 hours worth) they convinced me to do the 300 mile option.  I had no idea what I was in for. Roehl, Lynn and Dave Evans taught me a lot on that day– my first day of Ultra cycling.  I owe them so much for the experience and knowledge they imparted on me— a complete stranger.  I had lots of food and lots to drink at every rest stop.  The pace was tolerable.  Once I committed to doing the 300 mile event I was not going to DNF (did not finish).  Even though I didn’t have the base miles on my legs or the right riding gear (my shorts chafed me soooo bad) I didn’t quit.  I was on the bike for 23 hours.  I suffered and got ‘er done!! The mind is a very powerful thing.

I still remember calling Shelley, my girlfriend at the time, when I arrived at Gaviota State Beach.  She asked where I was and how I was feeling.  I told her I was at mile 193 and she said “Wow you’re almost done!”  I then had to tell her that  I still had over a 100 miles to go 🙂

Yes my first Ultra was a Triple Century!  I signed up for the double and did the Highland Triple.  I realized then that my body was my mind were made for doing “the long stuff”.  Since that first triple I have gone back and done the Grand Tour Highland Triple Century two other times and my PR is sub 20 hours.  I have done at least 25 double centuries and the Furnace Creek 508 six consecutive times as a solo racer.  I just love the long stuff!

2011 Lake Henshaw Climbing Camp

I spent Thursday and Friday nights at the Lake Henshaw Resort.  I like using Lake Henshaw as home base for my climbing camps.  Now that I live in Orange County I miss the climbing in East San Diego County.  I rode four hours on Thursday with Palomar Mountain South Grade as the featured climb.   On Friday, I started from Lake Henshaw and climbed Mesa Grande to Santa Ysabel, Wynola Road to Julian, Banner Grade to Yaqui Pass to Borrego Springs and then the monster climb of Montezuma Grade to Ranchita, and then rode to Warrner Springs and climbed a “secret” road to Indian Flats.

The climb out of Borrego Springs (lowest point on the elevation chart) was at 109 degrees Fahrenheit.

Starting and finishing at Lake Henshaw

Elevation profile

Entire training ride graph from Training Peaks download from SRM

Mesa Grande Climb from Lake Henshaw off Hwy 76

Yaqui Pass off of Banner Grade towards Borrego Springs

Montezuma Grade from Borrego Springs to Ranchita

“Secret” road off of Hwy 79 near Warner Springs – Indian Flats

Please click image above for slideshow.

Angeles Crest Highway Reopens – Angeles Crest Hwy from La Canada to Dawson Saddle (12,400 feet of climbing)

A four-hour training ride turned into a seven hour climbfest d’oh!  Angeles Crest Hwy from La Canada (1300 Elev) to Dawson Saddle (7901 Elev) Lots of climbing, lots of heat with few options for rehydrating on the road.  I will put together a more detailed route sheet but here is the down and dirty.  From La Canada I climbed on the Angeles Crest Hwy about 14 miles to Red Box.  I refilled my water bottle and then proceeded to climb up Mt Wilson, a five-mile climb.  I descended back to Red Box and refilled my bottle then climbed approximately 14 miles to Newcomb’s Ranch and refilled my bottle there.  I then climbed from Newcomb’s Ranch to Dawson Saddle through Cloud Burst Summit (7018 Elev) and back down to Newcomb’s Ranch.    I refilled at Newcomb’s and then descended back to La Canada.  About 100 miles 12,400 feet of climbing most of it on the way up with annoying rollers on the way down.

The Angeles Crest Highway is a two-lane (one lane of travel in each direction) segment of California State Route 2 in the United States. The road is 66 miles (106 km) in length, with its western terminus at the intersection at Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge and its eastern terminus at State Route 138 northeast of Wrightwood. The majority of the route passes through the mountainous terrain located north of the Los Angeles basin. Its alignment passes through the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains. Segments of the road reach altitudes above 7,000 feet (2,100 m), with a summit of 7,903 feet (2,409 m) at the Dawson Saddle, which makes this road one of the highest in Southern California.

You can read more about the Angeles Crest Hwy here

4,000 elevation at mile marker 36.25.

Approximately 12 miles into the 45 mile climb to Dawson Saddle

Above and below– The intersection of Mount Wilson/Red Box Rd and Angeles Crest Hwy.

Approximately 14 miles into the 45 mile climb to Dawson Saddle

Cultural Center at Red Box

Work crews on Angeles Crest Hwy.  Above is somewhere between Red Box and Newcomb’s Ranch

5,000 elevation sign

Approximately 20 miles into the 45 mile climb to Dawson Saddle

The distances above are from Newcomb’s Ranch

The base of the climb is mile marker 24 ish Dawson Saddle is approximately mile marker 69.50.

This is a 45 mile climb, albeit not all in one shot but you don’t ever get more than a mile or two of reliefs along the way.

Dante’s View – 25 mile Climb

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?

February 2010

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!

October 2010

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.

Detail of the surges and sprints on the descent of Dante’s View

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

Everest Challenge Course Recon- Glacier Lodge & White Mountain

10,000 feet of gain in just 44 miles!!

I haven’t decided whether I will be “racing” Everest Challenge this year.  It is only one week before my goal event, the Furnace Creek 508. But since I was spending the night in Lone Pine I thought I might as well make the short 40 mile drive up to Big Pine and do some more climbing.  Yesterday I climbed Shirley Meadows and Sherman Pass which were the only two climbs I hadn’t done on the Top 10 Toughest Climbs in California.

Today’s climbs were Glacier Lodge and Ancient Bristlecone.  They are climb #1 and Climb #3 on the second day of Everest Challenge.  I skipped Climb #2 Death Valley Road for two reasons:

1. it isn’t that exciting to me

2.  I was riding solo and didn’t want to double back one extra time to refuel.


10 miles 4,000 feet of gain

I parked at the base of the Glacier Lodge climb.  I rode up the 10 + mile climb, warming up along the way.  The grades were as steep as I remembered them nothing had changed. 😦  I rode the climb at tempo and felt strong at times and not so strong at other times.  I think if this climb was another mile or two in length it might make the Top 10 list for California.  As such it is only 9 miles of hard climbing. 😉

Glacier Lodge Climb

4,000 feet of gain in 10 miles!

Glacier Lodge percent of grade graph

Glacier Lodge Climb data from Garmin Training Center


6,243 feet of gain in 20 miles

Max elevation 10,100 feet

Next up was a monster climb called Ancient Bristlecone, also known as White Mountain.  The climb gets its dual name from one the oldest trees and also because you turn off of Hwy 168 to complete the climb on White Mountain Road.  The climb is on the Top 10 toughest climbs list generated by John Summerson.

This tree is located on the east side of Patriarch Grove at 11,200 ft. of elevation, is one of the most picturesque of all bristlecones in the White Mts.

Ancient Bristlecone/White Mountain Road is one long-ass climb.  The bottom half ramps up continuously with 12% rollers. You think you are tired or don’t have the legs because the terrain belies the actual steep grades you are struggling to overcome.   The lower portion of the climb is just something you have to get through to get to the good part.  Once the road starts to narrow that’s when the climb gets scenic and seems to be worth all the suffering on the desert-like scapes of the lower slopes.

The upper half is lined with trees and rock formations and even single lane sections.  It’s really a lot more appealing to the eye when you get to the tree line.  Once off the 168 onto White Mountain Rd you really feel like you are in an alpine climb in another country. It’s one of my favorite sections of the climb. The steep rollers are not all done yet.   I remember distinctly at the 8,000 foot elevation sign a good steep roller waking me up from my lull.  As you continue to ascend, you need to ready yourself for the last three miles which will be at 10% average.  So make sure you save some for the last few miles of the climb because it WILL get steeper and remain consistent to the end–when you are most tired.

As I crested, it was drizzling and getting cold.  When I started the climb in Big Pine, just 2.5 hours earlier and 6000 feet lower,  it was 95 degrees F now I was shivering from the cold and getting wet as well.  I wasn’t going to be hanging out at over 10,000 feet of elevation with what looked like a storm coming in.   I wanted to find a marker, an elevation sign or anything to document my ascent but I was in a hurry to get down from elevation and OFF THE MOUNTAIN.  I immediately turned around and started my recovery process while I was descending.  I felt I had done a good day’s work of over 10,000 FEET OF GAIN IN JUST 44 MILES.

As a refresher, or if this is your first time reading my blog the list below created by John Summerson is what I have been working to complete in my last two “weekends”.

Most Difficult Climbs:

1) Onion Valley —               DONE 6/10/10 !!
2) Horseshoe Meadows — DONE 6/10/10!!
3) White Mountain–    DONE 06/25/10!!
4) Sherman Pass–              DONE 6/24/10!!
5) Whitney Portal —          DONE 6/10/10!!
6) Mount Baldy–               DONE- too many times to mention
7) Shirley Meadows–        DONE 6/24/10!!
8) South Lake–                  DONE as part of Everest Challenge Stage Race
9) Mount Palomar–           DONE 6/06/10!!– too many times to mention
10) Mosquito Flat–           DONE as part of Everest Challenge Stage Race

Greatest Elevation Gained:

1) Horseshoe Meadows – 6,234 feet– DONE 6/10/10 !!
2) White Mountain – 6,204 feet  DONE 06/25/10!!
3) 190 – 6,199 feet
4) J21/245/180 – 5,750 feet
5) Mosquito Flat – 5,548 feet- DONE AS PART OF EVEREST CHALLENGE
6) Dantes View – 5,475 feet
7) South Lake – 5,445 feet- DONE AS PART OF EVEREST CHALLENGE
8) Sherman Pass – 5,316 feet– DONE 6/24/10!!
9) Emigrant Pass – 5,309 feet– DONE 04/04/10 – BLOG POST
10) Onion Valley – 5,169 feet DONE 6/10/10!!

Highest Elevation Attained:

1) Mosquito Flat – 10,220 feet- DONE AS PART OF EVEREST CHALLENGE
2) White Mountain – 10,152 feet DONE 06/25/10!!
3) Horseshoe Meadows – 10,034 feet DONE 6/10/10!!
4) Tioga Pass – 9,945 feet
5) South Lake – 9,852 feet– DONE AS PART OF EVEREST CHALLENGE!
6) Sonora Pass – 9,624 feet
7) Kaiser Pass – 9,184 feet
8) Onion Valley – 9,163 feet — DONE 6/10/10!!
9) Lake Sabrina – 9,141 feet
10) Sherman Pass – 9,126 feet– DONE 6/24/10!!

Ancient Bristlecone Climb power data

Ancient Bristlecone Grade Analysis from Garmin Training Center

Ancient Bristlecone AKA White Mountain data from Garmin Training Center

All for now.  Thank you for reading my blog.  Pass it on to a good friend.  See you on the road.