Category: Rides

California Alps Cycling Members Hit the Slopes of Mammoth

Last Saturday, a few of us rode the Mammoth Gran Fondo out of Mammoth Lakes, CA. Members Mario Carmona and Chris Schull, along with yours truly (check out our Strava profiles on the CAC Membership page), rode from one of the southern points of the California Alps, still in the heart of the Sierra Nevada though, into the Owens Valley, and back.

An image of the route taken by a rider on the Mammoth Gran Fondo
Map of my “Medio route” at the Mammoth Gran Fondo.

Mario went for the Gran Fondo distance (i.e. the century) and Chris and I decided to do one of the shorter (the Medio, 70 miles) rides so we could drink more beer on Friday night. I had never been to Mammoth and so was pretty stoked to get a glimpse into what the place was all about. Unfortunately, due to my crazy schedule, we were only able to experience the vibe for a short time. Nonetheless, we made the best of it!

Chris and I arrived just in time for “beertails” and after meeting Mario at our hotel to give him his CA Alps Cycling jersey (yes, they’re in – if you pre-ordered one I’ll be in touch soon), we headed to Mammoth Brewing. Had some good beer and fine grub (those chicken tacos on naan were lip-smacking good) and then decided to make one more stop for a “beerpertif.” Yeah, I know, I’m taking some liberties with the english language here…Can’t help myself!

Okay, enough about the night life, which after all of our talk, really wasn’t much. We’re in our fifties (well Chris isn’t quite there yet but will be in a couple weeks) ya know and we did have a ride to do tomorrow. So, in the end, we were responsible adults and went back to the hotel fairly early so we could prep. our bikes for the next day.

We had brought plenty of cold-weather gear for the start, but as it turned out, the day was a bit balmier than normal. About 45-50 at the start with bright sun, as you can see from the pix below.

The blue in our jerseys works nicely with the sky, don’t you think?

After a short climb out of town we had a nice, long twenty (20) mile descent or so and then it was back the way we came, into the Owens Valley, back out to Hwy. 395 and then back into town. Here’s a few shots I took while on the bike:

And here’s a bunch more from the Owens Valley, including a couple rest stop pix.

As you can see, it was an amazing day. I still can’t get over the color of the sky in these images. Sometimes it looks almost purple. It’s that color that inspired us on the design of our kits.

I should mention that the organizers did a great job. The rest stops were well-staffed and stocked, and that made to order turkey and cheese sandwich really hit the spot. Thanks!

What else can I say? Another great day on the bike. Kudos to Mario (yup, he finished) and Chris (he had a rough day on the bike but perserved nonetheless) and hey, what the heck, I’ll give myself kudos too. Anyday on the bike…

California Alps Cycling – Here and There

First of all, in the interest of full disclosure I must admit I stole the “Here and there” from a San Jose Mercury News sports writer.  I can’t remember his name but I always liked how he bounced around with quick bullet points on many different subjects.

So, here’s some “bulletized” news about goings on up here in Markleeville, CA., the heart of the California Alps:

  • New Members

Welcome Mary Ellen Riggs and Jeff Karotkin! Thank you for joining our merry band of troublemakers and we remind you to “ride with passion while honoring the sport of cycling.”

  • A Week of Mountain Biking

Having had my road bike in the shop last week I was able to show my 29er (and myself) some love by doing a few mountain bike rides. I’ve got about 300 miles on Bullitt (as I’ve named that bike) and about 12,000 miles on Roscoe II (the name for my road bike). I spent the week in the forest, instead of riding around it and it was freakin’ awesome!

Here’s a couple more shots of the swallows dancing around and over one of the hot springs at Grover Hot Springs State Park. It’s an amazing place and this a.m., with the steam and the sunrise adding to the vibe, it was extremely chill. I like it…Extremely chill…You can use that if you want to, dude.

A swallow enjoying the sunrise and steam at Grover Hot Springs State Park.
“Jet swallow” over the hot springs.
A swallow enjoying the sunrise and steam at Grover Hot Springs State Park.
Upside down swallow over the hot springs.

Okay, I’m done with the Spicoli impression. Onto the next bullet.

  • Jerseys, Bibs and Windvests will be in soon

Four to six weeks was the timeline given to me by Castelli. We’re about 2/3 of the way there. Can’t wait to see the new schwag and I hope you feel the same way. By the time we get ’em in we’ll have a way for you to buy them right on this site. And the tees, too. Stay tuned and please tell your cycling and mountain biker buds and budettes too, k? Much appreciated. Just in case you forgot, here’s a few pix:

  • New Signage in Town

My wife, Mom and I are members of the Markleeville Enhancement Club, which was instrumental in getting our two welcome signs recently refurbished. We held a little dedication ceremony last Saturday. Giving back, or giving to, is such a fantastic feeling.

Welcome to Historic Markleeville Signs - dedication
Members of the MEC, the sign craftsman, Bill Rose (in the hat) and members of the community participate in the dedication and unveiling at the North sign.

Check out the shirt I’m wearing (I’m on the far right, kneeling). It’s kinda hard to see but it’s a CAC shirt and on my left chest is our tagline, “Let’s Kick Some Passes’ Asses!” Oh, and that wonderful woman in the tie-dye skirt is our Club Mother, (and my actual mother) January.

  • A Short Video for Your Viewing Pleasure

I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself right now because I’m hanging out in the SF Bay Area as I write this post.

Just yesterday, I was in Diamond Valley, saying hi to ‘Shoe.

The mountains are calling! You coming?

 

 

 

 

 

My lawyer told me I need to tell you this too: Please check to make sure that any trails, roads, hikes etc. that you use are suited to your skill set. CAC is not responsible for any injuries.  Any information provided on this website is subject to change and CAC is not responsible for the accuracy of that information.  

The Monday, er Tuesday, After

Happy Tuesday morning Deathriders! I hope you are doing well, not too sore and brimming with fluids now that you’ve had a couple days to rest and recuperate. We hosted eight (8) riders here at California Alps Cycling . That number includes me – I don’t know, can you host yourself?

Anyway, our tally is as follows:

  1. Five (5) Five-pass Tour finishers including one first timer, Mr. James Hurst
  2. Three (3) Three-pass Tour finishers (myself included)
  3. Funny…Five Five-passers and Three three-passers. Go figure!
  4. Two (2) of our legacy members, Scott Keno and Shane Trotter, were some of the first to sign the board at the top of Carson and the boyz also earned some cups – check out their Strava profiles (see the CAC membership page) if you’re so inclined
  5. Congrats to all!

How did you do? Share your comments on this post and let us know!

Click here to check out our photo gallery including a bunch of pix I took during the day. By the way, if you’d like to share some of your images, send ’em to me via email. Note: images sent our way are ours to use as we see fit (we won’t photoshop ’em or do anything too crazy, honest).

Why are we up so early?
Why are we up so early?

A few other things to mention:

  1. We’ve received seven (7) membership requests (thank you!) and as soon as we’re done processing ’em we’ll add you to our CAC membership page. If you’d like to be a member, we’d love to have you join too!
  2. For those of you who pre-ordered jerseys, bibs or full kits, we’ll let you know when they’re in and get them shipped your way promptly thereafter.
  3. We’ll be getting our merchandise catalog on the site soon. We had quite a few riders interested in our “Let’s Kick Some Passes’ Asses!™” signs and so we plan on offering those for sale as well. Alas, one of them was taken home by someone without permission. Hopefully it brings back good memories and they don’t use it as a frisbee or sumfin.
  4. Later in the week, or early next, we’ll get some of that “data that matta” from the Alpine Chamber and CalTrans add publish a post.
  5. Interested in a Deathride cycling camp or clinic? Good, because next year we’re going to offer one! We talked to so many neophyte riders and we have so many experienced ones here at C.A.C. so we thought: “why not put them together?”

A big shout out to all of the amazing volunteers, motos, medics, CHP officers, CalTransers and anyone else who pitched in to keep us safe and happy. THANK YOU!

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Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank you for stopping by our booth and being a part of one of the greatest cycling events on the planet! See you soon. Ride safely!

– Mark

The Deathride (aka The Tour of the California Alps) Cometh!

Yup, it’s that annual right of passage that takes place right here in the little town of Markleeville, this Saturday, July 14th. The 200 or so residents, including yours truly (and my wife and two felines), will soon be joined by a few thousand others.

Thanks to CalTrans (and our local Chamber of Commerce, as well as a bunch of volunteers) the roads are ready, signage is up and most importantly, the port-a-potties are in place.

Oh, and speaking of CalTrans…They’ll be doing a bit of rock etc. clean up on Friday so that the roads are as clear of debris as they can be for Saturday. If you see ’em please be sure to thank them. They do a lot to keep our roads in order.

Road closure sign - Hwy 88 and 89 junction
Yeah, that’s right. No cars until noon. Sweet!

Ebbett's Pass closed sign
And…no cars on Ebbett’s for a good chunk of time, too.

For those of you who’ll be joining me, and other members of California Alps Cycling, we urge you to be safe and obey the rules. Please say thanks to the folks in the town who are supporting (and in some cases, tolerating) us because it is a bit disruptive, you know?

For the locals who are putting up with us and our crazy ways, THANK YOU! WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOU!

We invite riders, support crews and residents to stop by our booth tomorrow. We’ll have some cool t-shirts for sale and you can pre-order your Castelli CA Alps kit too.

castelli jersey
The jersey from our CA Alps Cycling kit.

And, we’ll be happy to regale you with stories from last year, give you suggestions and answer any questions that you may have. 

We wish you good luck on your ride and remind you to ride your own ride and remember to have fun and don’t be too hard on yourself. And, when you get to the top of Carson, you can add your name to “the Board” and be memorialized for all time!

victory board_deathride2017
As a Five-Pass Finisher in 2017, I was honored to add my name to “the Board.”

Have a great day on the bike, be safe and Let’s Kick Some Passes’ Asses! ™

 

Meecha at the Top ‘O Ebbett’s

Yesterday, I left C.A.C. HQ here in Markleeville to hook up with Charlie and James at the top ‘o the pass. They were starting from the Bear Valley side. We all left about 7:30 a.m. and thinking that the mileage for each of us was about the same, 18 miles, we planned on a 9:30 a.m. meet up.

‘Twas a beautiful morning on the pass, with lots of wildflowers (too focused to stop and take pix, my bad) and no wind. The Carson River, Silver Creek and Cascade Creek were all flowing nicely and all crystal clear blue, green and yes, even silver.

Our plan came together nicely. As I rose over the last little crest at about 9:40 a.m. I could see Charlie and James waiting for me; they had just arrived and were snapping some photos. Before heading down, we took a few minutes to do the same.

Thats Charlie and his trusty steed there on the left, and on the right is James and me. The descent into Markleeville was speedy and fun, especially for me, because I knew I wasn’t going back up after lunch, and it was getting a bit toasty.

We all hit the Alps Haus Cafe for some amazing sandwiches and I headed back to HQ to do some much needed chores, while the boyz headed back up the pass and down the south side into Bear Valley.

Beauty day indeed! Thanks for the company, gents.

A Little Jaunt up to Wolf Creek before the Next Snow

Yeah, it’s been a bit snowy and cold here but nothing like the winter of ’16/’17. Funny, reminds me of listening to my grandparents share stories about the old days. One of my grandmothers grew up in Minneapolis and those stories she told about when she was a little girl…

Clearing snow from the back deck of HQ.
I love my snowblower!

Ok, I digress.

As I was saying (or writing to be more precise) it’s been a bit chilly here, and I’m getting tired of blowing snow, so when I had a chance to get out on the road (Zwift is great but there’s no substitute for being outside), I took it.

Just another boring (not!) ride up Ebbett’s way – one of my favorite rides to be sure. The river (East Fork of the Carson) was raging and looked a bit like chocolate milk but the roads were clear (mostly…some bits of ice and snow and of course, water) and the sun was shining.

Here’s a shot of my route and the profile in case any of you want to partake (just be sure to layer up).

Wolf Creek out and back map and profile

When riding in conditions such as these (I’ve seen way worse – oops, there I go again. Digressing…) be sure to take extra care, have the proper gear and double check your bike before you head out. It’s dicey enough without those extra precautions, eh?

 

 

My lawyer told me I need to tell you this too: Please check to make sure that any trails, roads, hikes etc. that you use are suited to your skill set. CAC is not responsible for any injuries.  Any information provided on this website is subject to change and CAC is not responsible for the accuracy of that information.  

Genoa 1/2 Century

One of my favorite things to do here in the CA Alps is to visit the little town of Genoa. It has a dusty, musty, rusty ol’ watering hole, named after the town, and it’s the oldest bar in Nevada; a few great restaurants/cafes, some antiquing and a nice little park, Mormon Station, for picnicing. It’s definitely worth some time and the bloody marys, and the cold beer, at the Genoa Bar can make for a nice little diversion – not necessarily on the bike but hey, to each his/her own, I guess. I’ve been known to partake in a beer or two during a ride. Haven’t tried a “BM” yet but I think I may just have to get that a whirl.

Okay, to make it an even better day, ride to Genoa! From CAC HQ here in Markleeville, it’s 55 miles and about 3000 feet of climbing. And, if you time it right (head out early a.m., NLT 9) so you’re coming back with the wind. Even then, no promises. The wind gets to whipping out in Carson Valley, especially in the area in and around “the mesa.”

So that’s my route, on this somewhat chilly February day. From CAC HQ, up to Woodfords, Diamond Valley, Foothill, yada, yada, yada. Click here for my ride profile etc. (thanks Strava) and you’ll see what I did for your fine-self. OK?

Here’s me, at the midpoint (last year…it was a bit warmer),
getting my bear-claw groove going at the
Genoa Country Store.

As I mentioned, part of this ride includes Diamond Valley, Foothill Rd. and Emigrant Trail. You can add or deduct all or part for a shorter, or less hilly, or both, version of the ride. Diamond Valley, where Snowshoe Thompson (see my December 2017 post) lived, is a fun little diversion, but can be windy (windy’s somewhat redundant here in the Eastern Sierra, I’ve learned). Emigrant Trail, especially coming from Genoa, is a nice little kicker and if you haven’t done the ride from Markleeville to Woodfords than you’ll learn that those little rollers aren’t so little.

The altitude in Markleeville is about 5600′ and it’s about 4500′ in Genoa. Temps can vary, as always, depending on time of year but I’ve found that the typical weather apps are pretty good. Wind is generally stronger in the afternoon and generally comes from the West or Northwest. It can scream down those eastern faces so BOLO (be on the lookout) there. In the summertime, thunderstorms can develop quickly and drop a shitload of water in a short time so heads up there as well.

My lawyer told me I need to tell you this too: Please check to make sure that any trails, roads, hikes etc. that you use are suited to your skill set. CAC is not responsible for any injuries.  Any information provided on this website is subject to change and CAC is not responsible for the accuracy of that information.