Everest Challenge Recon- Continued

On Thursday 9/16 I climbed Mosquito Flat.  I had a better day than I did two weeks ago on 9/2.  Below you will see the graphs and data for both days.  The first set is from 9/2 and the next set from 9/16.

Most notable improvements were:

5 minutes reduction in time (2:32 to 2:27)

10 watt increase in Normalized Power (189 watts to 199 watts)

.2 increase in w/kg (2.7 to 2.9 w/kg)

9 bpm increase in intensity (163 bpm to 172 bpm)

4% increase in Intensity Factor (68% to 72%)

5 rpm increase in Average Cadence (68 rpm to 73 rpm)

.3 mph increase in Average Speed (9.0 mph to 9.3 mph)

Crank Torque was reduced by 3 lb-in (which is also reflected in higher average cadence)

23 miles in a loooong way to climb and be able to sustain high power output– at least for this mere mortal.  But I’m satisfied with the results and I feel my form continuing to build.  I’m still undecided whether I will be riding Everest Challenge.  In the days proceeding EC I will be at Interbike in Las Vegas and on my feet for many hours.  I won’t have the luxury of traditional rest, hydration and home cooked meals.  So we’ll see….

Thank you for reading my blog please pass it on to your friends.

Everest Challenge Training Flashback– 2006

It occurred to me today that before learning about John Summerson’s list of the toughest climbs in California I would just go out and do repeats on Palomar Mountain.  Palomar ranks 9th on the most difficult climbs in California and 10th in the country!  How convenient to have such a storied climb in my backyard — San Diego.  But since learning about his book I have made the effort on several trips to climb the hardest climbs in California.  Yesterday I climbed Mosquito Flat and another climb Pine Creek.  Today I climbed Onion Valley Road.  I PR’d Mosquito Flat yesterday and Onion Valley Road today — check back for a ride report. 

The graph above was back in 2006 when I was getting ready for my first Everest Challenge.  The first day of the race has over 15,000 feet of gain with little flat (read recovery) in between the climbs.  So why not do repeats and get the same cumulative gain with short recovery?  Made sense to me and so I embarked on FOUR REPEATS ON PALOMAR MOUNTAIN.

To say this was a hard day on the bike is an understatement but mentally and physically I was more than ready to take up the challenge of the toughest two day stage race.  The 100F temperature also played a big factor in my overall fatigue.  In case you’re wondering I kept my climbing repeats between 1 hour 20minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes.  By the third descent I could have descended the upper half blindfolded 🙂    The fourth climb was a  bear.  The fourth descent was the sweetest!! 

Most Difficult Climbs:

1) Onion Valley —               DONE 6/10/10 !!
2) Horseshoe Meadows — DONE 6/10/10!!
3) White Mountain–          DONE as part of Everest Challenge Stage Race
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!!
10) Mosquito Flat–           DONE 09/02/10!!

Greatest Elevation Gained:

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

Highest Elevation Attained:

1) Mosquito Flat – 10,220 feet- DONE 9/02/10
2) White Mountain – 10,152 feet
3) Horseshoe Meadows – 10,034 feet DONE 6/10/10!!
4) Tioga Pass – 9,945 feet
5) South Lake – 9,852 feet
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!!

Additionally, here is the list of the 10 toughest climbs in the US.

Below is a list of some of the top cycling climb bike rides that are listed in the bookBest Cycling Climbs In The US. The book lists the 100 toughest USA road bike climbs from 1 to 100.

  1. Mt Washington, NH
  2. Haleakala, HI
  3. Onion Valley, CA
  4. Horseshoe Meadows, CA
  5. Mt. Equinox, VT
  6. White MTN, CA
  7. Mt. Baldy, CA
  8. Mt Graham, AZ
  9. Mt. Lemmon, AZ
  10. Palomar Mountain, CA

Thank you for reading my blog.  Please pass it on to your friends.  

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.



DAY 2 


Everest Challenge Race Report

Everest Challenge was a bust. Sorry to disappoint but I had to DNF.

I came down with something on Wednesday night. More like early Thursday morning. I had trouble getting to sleep with an upset stomach. Then in the wee morning hours I began vomiting and the other thing. I went to work Thursday knowing I would be off on Friday. I couldn’t keep anything down and I was feeling lousy but I made it through the day. Thursday night I didn’t sleep well either.

On Friday, we drove to Bishop still wondering if I would feel better. It wasn’t the case. At dinner I was still having GI issues. That evening I took some Immodium.

On Saturday, I thought I have to be better by now. I lined up for the hardest USCF race in California– and about 5 hours I DNF’d. I had not been able to fuel as I needed to and I also had been to the bathroom three times. My stomach was in knots and revolting to anything I was putting in.

So there you have it. Months of training for EC and I had to DNF half-way through the first of two days.

Well there is always next year. I was very conflicted at first but now I am good with it. I DNF’d because there is no way I would have ever finished that race. Even more accurately I SHOULD HAVE NEVER STARTED THE RACE.

Now it’s time to focus on the Furnace Creek 508.


Everest Challenge


DAY 1 GRAPH IS THE BOTTOM ONE (sorry for the confusing graphs it is from the event site)

I am off to Bishop for the start of a two day climbing race the Everest Challenge. It is the California/Nevada State Climbing Championships. 29,000 feet of climbing in two days. It is my last hard training ride before Furnace Creek 508. Stay tuned for race report.

My Solo 175 miler (282 kms)- Dawson Saddle

On Sunday I went out to do 175 miles (282 kms) solo. I rode from Huntington Beach to Dawson Saddle (7901 ft) in the San Gabriel Mountains. The ride has 8600 feet (2621 meters) of gain. The largest chunk of it comes in a 33 mile 7,000+ feet of gain (2133 meters) in a remote closed road section. No cars and no people for hours and hours just the way I like it. I love doing long solo rides.

The ride took me North on the Pacific Coast Hwy to Seal Beach then Northeast on the San Gabriel Bike Trail. Hwy 39 up past Crystal Lake (where I went two weeks ago)to the junction of Angeles Crest Hwy then continuing up to Dawson Saddle.

Meet Rebecca, my climbing bike. It is a Cervelo R3-SL. Very light very stiff and unbelievably it has a great smooth ride. It is dressed out in a Dura-Ace kit with Velocity Arrowhead rims on a Powertap Wireless 2.4 SL.

Rebecca before the Fred Pump

After the fred pump

Flat repair- notice Park Tool Patches

18 gel packets stuffed into my shorts

Three bottles in my jersey pockets with powder mix NO WATER yet

Beginning of Hwy 39 climb

9 miles into the climb East Fork Turn Off

11.5 miles into the climb the road is closed

Nearest Mile Marker to the first gate

15 Miles into the climb 3,000 feet


Looking down

About 4,000 feet (1219 meters) elevation about 18,8 miles (30.3 kms) into the climb there is a stream. It has been really hot lately so I usually dunk my head in the icy cold water. It is very refreshing. Some folks drink from it.

About 21.2 Miles (34 kms)into the climb the 5000 ft (1524 meters) sign

Crystal Lake Turn Off if you read an earlier post you will recognize this as the destination point in that post. You may also recall it is a veritable ghost town.

About 27.8 miles junction to Angeles Crest Hwy

Destination Dawson Saddle 7901 ft (2408 meters) 33.3 miles (53.1 kms) of climbing.

EPIC Climbing on Labor Day Weekend


Climb #1

We left the house at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning to drive up. I had no idea where we were going until the signs on Highway 65 gave away our destination. We arrived in Springville early Saturday morning and started out on our first climb of the day.

Balch Park Road Loop started out at 1000 ft elevation and went up to 6400 ft. We took a little detour off of the main road and ended up with 5700 ft. of gain for this climb.

Climb #2

We went back to Springville and had lunch at the cafe, which has been there since 1897. Service was a little on the slow side, so we were off of the bike longer than we anticipated. While at the cafe, we stared at the thermometer which read 100+ degrees. IN THE SHADE!

Highway 190 out of Springville started at 1000 ft and Brandy made it to 5500 ft, while I made it to 6300 ft. It was over 106 degrees when we left (with 4 bottles each) on our second climb of the day. Though Brandy is getting better about riding in the high temps, she still overheats fairly easily and the Tule River was calling her name. I was back taking pictures when Brandy decided to pull off of the road and take a dip in a beautiful pool of water. I indulged her diversion from the plan and she shed her gear for a little skinny dipping. This put us behind schedule and losing daylight, but it was well worth it. I didn’t mind at all.


From our motel in Porterville, we drove up to Three Rivers.

Mineral King Road was our climb for the day. From a starting elevation of 800 ft in Three Rivers to an ending elevation of 7800 ft at the end of the road, we gained over 7400 ft on this climb. The road was narrow, steep, sometimes unpaved (not hard packed dirt…but SAND!) and is reported to have over 698 curves. Totally awe inspiring. The views were breathtaking.

Mineral King Road is one of the toughest climbs I have done in recent memory. It is 7,400 + feet of gain in one shot (including the warm up climb before the turn off). It has sustained ramps of 10-12% grades. There are sections that avg 10% for over 1.5 miles. It got to the point where I didn’t want a relief in the road because all it meant was that I was going to have to pay for it. Just after a leveling off section BAM! you would get hit with 12-14% grade ramp. This cycle of relief and punishment repeats itself over and over and over again over the 25 miles.

Then closer to the top above 6,000 ft there were sand sections with the 12% grades. Our 23mm tires were sinking in to the sand. Hard packed dirt would have been better. Next time we will ride 25mm tires.

The motorists all said it took them over two hours to drive the 23 miles up all the switchbacks, ramps, single lane travel, potholes, loose gravel and did I mention the very narrow road without guardrails?

Mineral King is a very tough climb indeed.

Epic Climbing Camp…it’s a Wrap

Three hard training days in the mountains. I missed completing a few of my goals, but I came away from the weekend knowing that I am one step closer to being fit for Everest Challenge and Furnace Creek 508.

In short, here are my numbers:

My goal was 50K feet of climbing = ACTUAL FEET GAINED WAS 45,000

My goal was 400 total miles ======= ACTUAL MILES WERE 357

MY goal for the one night ride(6PM-6AM)= NO NIGHT RIDE

I still have one more weekend of concentrated climbing before Everest Challenge. Location yet to be determined.

A full report and pictures are in the works. My personal goals were sacrificed for the benefit of my training partner. My training partner this weekend was my girlfriend Brandy. This was her first exposure to the extreme training that I do before the Furnace Creek 508. She suffered, and as a pair our pace was slower. Temperatures were in the 90’s everyday and water and food were scarce. You have to pack it with you which means carrying 10-15 pounds of fuel and water. Monday was our most remote ride, which took us up Kitchen Creek Rd, a closed road that climbs about 2800 feet from the 8 Freeway to Mount Laguna at 6100 feet of elevation.


Epic Climbing Camp

I’m really excited about my plans for this weekend. I will be staying at a cabin at Lake Henshaw. It is located at the base of East Grade Rd of Palomar Mountain. I will be riding Saturday-Tuesday. I am publicly stating my goals so that I have to live by them.