Tune Up For Horseshoe Meadows

On May 8, 2004, we lost a very dear friend, Hans Wichary.  He was hit head on while riding his road bike.  Amelia, ever since, has been really freaked out about biking on roads.  And really, really freaked out when I do it.  My desire to be a roadie has never been strong, especially living in the city.  But in Mammoth….I kind of have the desire.  The traffic is minimal, the scenery beautiful, and what excites me are the epic climbs.

There will probably be many that will disagree with this statement, but in my opinion the cross country mountain biking isn’t that great in the Mammoth area.  This is also driving my desire to get on the roads.  In the SD area, there are many great mountain bike rides, in varied terrain: The Tunnels, Sycamore, Mission Trails, The Weed Patch aka San Clemente Single Tracks, Daley Ranch, Noble, Cuyamaca, Laguna, Hodges, Elfin, Black Mtn/Miner’s Ridge, Meadowbrook, Anderson Truck Trail, Hurkey, Pines to Palms, and Goat Trestle, just to name several!

Eventually I will get a road bike, but for now I’ll be that nut you see on a single speed mountain bike in a cotton t-shirt!

On the morning of Thursday July 11th we were hiking Panum crater in the Mono Basin. Amelia knew I needed more, and out of character she said, “Why don’t you bike Tioga Pass, I’ll sag for you.”   “Really?!”  I jumped on the opportunity!  Usually I’ll plan a big ride, and then spend days visualizing it.  This was going to be an extra challenge because I hadn’t had time to wrap my head around it.

The goal this year is the Horseshoe Meadows ride. Here are the specifics of that ride. Start in Lone Pine at 4,000ft elevation, climb 6,000 ft in 22.5 miles up Horseshoe Meadows road, elevation at the top 10,000ft.  So Tioga is kind of a tune up.  Start at Lee Vining, elevation 6772 , climb 3173 feet up Tioga Pass to the entrance of Yosemite.

Keep in mind, this is riding a single speed mountain bike, geared 32/19.

The short story is the Tioga Pass was difficult, but mainly because of the afternoon winds. The head wind was constant, at times at least 30 mph.  And no, I did not fly down the Tioga Pass.  It was scary enough going up it with a small shoulder.  The wind was too crazy and too many cars, besides I think it’s more fun climbing than descending.  So Amelia drove us back to the Mono Vista in the sag wagon (Toyota Tundra).  When the time comes to tackle Horseshoe Meadows, it will definitely be early in the am, hopefully in calm winds, and odds are I’ll switch out the rear cog to a 21.

Here are the pictures from July 11th, captions done by Amelia.  Enjoy.

Eastern Sierras from the Panum Crater.

Eastern Sierras from the Panum Crater.

Rock formations inside the Panum Crater.

Rock formations inside the Panum Crater.

Blazing Star, my favorite flower up here!

Blazing Star, my favorite flower up here!

Panum Crater rocks up close...I think we should make a puzzle out of this.

Panum Crater rocks up close…I think we should make a puzzle out of this.

The beginning of the 12.8 mile climb...Utility Road, the road tourists don't know about...so I wasn't worried yet.

The beginning of the 12.8 mile climb…Utility Road, the road tourists don’t know about…so I wasn’t worried yet.

This was before I really saw any cars and I still wasn't worried.

This was before I really saw any cars and I still wasn’t worried.

Gorgeous views, but hardly any shoulder...I was starting to fret, but was calm enough to read my book while waiting.

Gorgeous views, but hardly any shoulder…I was starting to fret, but was calm enough to read my book while waiting.

Notice the lack of a bike lane and little shoulder.  Now I am truly fretting.

As time went on, the shoulder looked smaller and smaller to me and I truly started fretting.

That little speck is my crazy husband!  What was I thinking offering to let him do this ride?!

That little speck is my crazy husband in a cotton t-shirt in a strong head wind!  What was I thinking offering to let him do this ride?!

The first break he took and I was really hoping he would be happy with climbing for an hour in the wind, but nooo, he kept going.

The first break he took and I was really hoping he would be happy with climbing for an hour in the wind, but nooo, he kept going.

Beautiful view where I used the facilities and realized, Greg hasn't stopped to pee!  He always stops to pee, as many of you know!  He must be dehydrated!

Beautiful view where I used the facilities and realized, Greg hasn’t stopped to pee!  He always stops to pee, as many of you know! He must be dehydrated!

My happy husband and relieved wife taking the last picture.

My happy husband and relieved wife taking the last picture.

9 thoughts on “Tune Up For Horseshoe Meadows

  1. As you both know, Miss Marlie rides her bike through the streets of Boston…and it freaked me out to imagine receiving a call like the one from May 8, 2004. However, the kid said to me, “I feel like Poppy would love it that I ride…that I am not living my life in fear.”
    She is right. Hans would be THRILLED that his girl was tearing up the roads and trails with the wind in her face! Moments before he was hit and killed, he was whooping and cheering for the pure love of the outdoors and the bicycle.
    Go, Greg! Go, Amy! Enjoy the ride because it is worth the risk!
    I love you both!
    Hans’ wifey

  2. Hola Amelia.

    You need to put your fears to the side god will be watching Greg and he will be having a last riding, you know how man as we get older we can do anything we want and nothing can stop us. That’s why he decided to take the opportunity to retire and explore new adventures. Asi es que dejalo disfrutar con su Vientiane. Ok. Nice pictures I’m jelouse.

    Mario

  3. Good on you Amelia for letting Greg get on the road and be a REAL man. You just need to get him in spandex. Miss you guys.

  4. Awesome ride buddy! You are no slouch. Do not get a rode bike cuz then you will want to ride in the Tour de France. Just pulled the Airstream up that 7.8% grade you rode up. That is extra steep.

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