Friday, August 28, 2009

Eastern Sierras 2009

Spending a week east of the sierras has become an annual event for us with this being our fourth "Campo Velo" in four years just off Highway 395. A "Campo Velo" is Geno's term for a campout in a specific area for the sole purpose of biking and hiking. Despite Kay's retirement and an already busy summer of activities, I was able to join the guys for five days of biking and hiking based out of the New Shady Rest Campground in the Mammoth Lakes area. Over the week, about 15 people participated staying for either part or all of the action. More specifically, our activities are about biking (climbing) roads up the eastern-side of the Sierras Nevada Mountains and hiking high mountain passes and peaks. I missed the first ride, but I did participate on the bike ride up Rock Creek Road and another around the Mammoth Lakes. I also did three hikes: Devils Postpile to lower Rainbow Falls, Lake Mary to Duck Pass, and South Lake to the top of Mt. Goode "Enough". Mt. Goode "Enough" is the name we gave to the peak we ascended after we realized we had missed Mt. Goode and climbed an adjacent peak. It wasn't 13,085 feet, but darn close. Either way, it was a great challenge to be appreciated, but not nearly as difficult as last year's climb up Mt. Morgan. In hiking the John Muir Wilderness, I am reminded of the stark beauty of this desolate landscape hidden in the high Sierras. Nearly bare to bone, it is a fractured granite landscape in varying shades of gray with life at the fringes. More like a fictional moonscape than the familiar places closer to home. We broke camp a day early after the big hike. Just in time, since it started raining. The weather forecast when we departed was for two days of rain. What great timing! Hope you enjoy the pictures. Use the link below to see all the pictures.
Link to Photo Album: Eastern Sierra 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kay Retires

After 34 years of employment, mostly with the California Department of General Services, Kay has finally retired joining me in this new phase of our lives. Who knows what the future will bring, but it certainly won't involve awaking at the crack of dawn, commuting in horrid traffic, or the stress that comes with managing an office. Hurray to that! To start things off during Kay's first week of retirement, we decide to head to Calistoga for several nights staying at the Calistoga Spa & Hot Springs, a first for us. Of course, we also brought our tandem bike-for-two so we could cycle the region. We rode to St. Helena the first day and Healdsburg the next. It was a lot more hilly than I remembered; so much for the flat riding I mentioned to Kay. She was a good sport! Soaking in the mineral hot springs was a real treat after the riding. Something I've gotten use to after bike touring in Japan. There're few things better than soothing hot water after a physical workout. Use the link below to see all the pictures.
Link to Photo Album: Calistoga Hot Spa 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mount Shasta Summit Century

Another first! For me, this has been the year for lots of “firsts”. First time for the SW Calistoga Zodiac, SW Guerneville Zodiac, Anderson River Park Century, Bicycle Tour of Colorado, Mt. Evans climb, and now, the Shasta Summit Century. It’s a challenging 100 mile ride up the mountains surrounding Mt. Shasta City with a final 14 mile ascend up Mt Shasta to 7,730 feet during the hot part of the day. Total elevation gain for the century ride is 10,500 feet. If you are really feeling strong, you can do their Super Century which covered 138 miles with 16,500 feet of climbing. Two from our group of five, Geno and Clayton, completed the Super Century. Way to go!

My “congratulations” to everyone in our group, which also included Peter and Saxon, for doing what they did. Not many people could ever imagine a feat such as this. Unless you are physically gifted like the top competitive cyclist of the world, climbing uphill is hard work. For hours I watched riders slowly churning the pedals up Mt. Shasta, the last and longest climb of the day, with their gaze fixed on the road ahead and lost in their thoughts. At that point, it was all about determination and perseverance. Upon the road’s end below the majestic peaks of Mt. Shasta, I felt only satisfaction. What a great challenging ride! This was not something I was seeking to do, but once it was presented to me, I couldn’t pass it up.

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