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.