I don't know where to begin with this one. I really did not know what I was getting into committing to riding from Yosemite to Chester at Lake Almanor. Last year with Zeke was very reasonable riding, this year I knew it would be a lot of climbing, and I was anxious about it, but I really had no idea what I was getting into. Maybe that's good. Maybe I wouldn't have done it if I actually knew in advance what would be asked of me mentally and physically.
I was debating about doing a day by day recap from my postings on Facebook or an overall reflection of the tour. I'm still not sure what this is going to turn out to be.
Let me just say this tour was the hardest thing that I have every done. Ever. The first day I was on the phone with Bill, the Gerweins and texting with friends saying I wasn't sure if I could do it. Granted, we did two really hard passes that day. 1000 ft of the Tioga and stupid stupid hot stupid Conway Summit. At the end of the day, I think I had sun stroke or heat stroke, my face was puffy, my forehead was hot. I was completely freaked and exhausted.
Zeke really wanted to do two passes on day two: Devil's Gate and Monitor. Actually, he REALLY wanted to leave Bridgeport on day 1 and get over Devil's Gate (which would have been 3 passes on DAY ONE). I told him I knew that I could do one pass the next day, but I wasn't sure about two. I didn't sign up for the Death Ride after all...
We stayed at Bridgeport in a hotel the first night. We went over Devil's Gate in the morning, which was a very reasonable low grade with beautiful scenery. We went by the Walker River, which was beautiful. We stopped at a grocery store in Walker, but we should have stopped for a decent second breakfast. That was a mistake. It then it started to heat up and services were few between Coleville, Topaz and Monitor Pass.
I was irritated at the few options between Bridgeport (HW 395) and Monitor (89). We got to Monitor Pass too early to call it a day, so I felt like I had no choice other than to give it a shot. I even called my mother before we started, maybe this was an omen of what was to come. It seemed like our pattern was to hit these passes at the hottest part of the day. We filled up our bottles at the Firestation then started up Monitor... to be continued.
Devile's Gate Pass
All there is in Topaz, CA...
Sunday Day 1: Tuolmne Meadows, Yosemite --->Bridgeport
Monday Day 2: Bridgeport ---> 4 miles into Monitor Pass