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TR - Shasta Summit Super Century, August 3

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
(Note: reposted in edited form from my blog - original post at randomduck.com)

Activity: road cycling
Location: Mt. Shasta, CA (Shasta Summit Super Century)
Distance: 133.83 miles
Duration: 9:15 (10:17 with stops)
Weather: sunny and lovely, 50-84 degrees
Avg HR: 150 (max 177)
Climbing: 16,050′
Type: aerobic

This is the big kahuna ride for me in 2008!

On paper, it’s big: long, with lots of climbing. Two of the climbs are Cat 2, one is Cat 1, and one is hors categorie - the toughest of the tough, in terms of pro cycling. The lowest altitude of the ride is higher than over 90 percent of the riding we do here in the east.

And it was a helluva lot of fun!

The detailed recap:

The alarm went off at 4:15 am, and I managed to drag myself out of bed to make a pot of coffee and eat some cereal. Chris awoke shortly thereafter, and we both prepped for our ride. A quick check outside revealed two things: it was chilly (perhaps 50 degrees), and the wind was from the south, clearing the smoke layer that encased the town the previous evening.


We piled in the cars for the very short drive to the ride start (none of us had proper lighting, front and back, to ride there safely). At the start, we made last-minute adjustments to clothing, used the loo, and were out of the parking lot at 5:39 - just after the start of civil twilight. A few of us had rear blinker lights, and had them on to help ensure safety on the roads, though precious few cars materialized. All was going well, at a leisurely warm-up pace….

…..until mile three, when I tried to upshift and my rear derailleur cable slipped, shooting the pulley cage into my spokes. I immediately let up on all pedaling pressure and stopped to assess the damage: a bent derailleur hanger and a warped pulley cage. Ugh!

Luckily, I managed to get most of it back in order with a few tools and a bit of sweat. A fellow rider, Daniel (from the USCG air station in Sacramento), provided advice that was most welcome. After about 20 minutes of fussing, things were working well enough: I couldn’t shift to my high gear (11-tooth cog) or my lowest gear (25-tooth cog), but the other 8 cogs shifted without incident. My ride was saved!

And I was angry. And nothing fuels a burst of speed like anger. It wasn’t a raging anger - more like a slow, burning anger than slowly dissipated. It propelled me away from my fellow ride mates, leaving me alone off the front for the first big climb: Park’s Creek. It’s a 15 mile grind at a fairly consistent 5.5 percent grade, and quite the wake-up call. I set into a rhythm and started passing a lot of people. I kept passing them until I reached the top, where I took a quick bio break, reloaded the water bottle (the second bottle contained a concentrated mix of Accelerade, HEED and Lipton Iced Tea), had a banana and took off on the fast downhill. On the way down, I cheered on my teammates as I passed them.

The next stage of the ride was mostly flat, and took me through the town of Weed, over a small pass, and through the beautiful Shasta valley. This 20 mile stretch was a nice rest break.

But the rest ended with the climb up Mumbo Pass. This pass had the steepest overall profile (6.5 percent average grade), and a few sections of 11 and 12 percent grades. Furthermore, it featured some rough pavement that would prove quite jarring on the downhill. As I climbed this road, I passed turn-around points for the shorter ride distances offered by the ride organizers, and enjoyed the scent of pine trees - a reminder of childhood summers spent in the Wasatch and Uinta ranges in Utah. I still felt strong on the climb, and powered my way through the steepest sections. Again, I made a quick turn on the summit (bio break, refill the water bottle, eat some salt potatoes and a banana).

After the rough-and-tumble descent it was an immediate right turn onto Castle Lake Road, which was a smooth, short climb that started out steep. The strain of the Mumbo descent made me feel like crap climbing Castle Lake, but I managed to make it up in good time, and took a slightly longer break, dipping my feet in the icy waters of the lake (ahhh!).

The decent from Castle Lake was fast, and brought me to the lunch stop at the Mt. Shasta Club at mile 102. I didn’t spend too much time here - maybe 15 minutes - and I ate a couple of sandwiches: PB&J and turkey, cheese and avocado, both of which hit the spot. I drank a Pepsi and a Hansen’s root beer, and refilled both bottles (the slurry bottle was empty, so I refilled it with Gatorade). After crossing the road to use the port-o-let, I was on the road for my final climb: Mt. Shasta.

I crossed through the outskirts of the town of Mt. Shasta, as the road rose in front of me. Mt. Shasta is a long climb on a silky smooth road. Averaging 5.5 percent for the duration, it starts steeper (7 to 8 percent) and slowly levels off as it rises, with a small kick up near the end. Much of the climb is exposed, though there’s plenty of thick pine forest to provide needed shade along the way.

And then there were the butterflies.

Mt. Shasta seems to be a wonderland for butterflies, and they were everywhere on the climb up. It made for a lovely distraction, and while I was feeling very strong, it was a welcome change of scenery. I powered my way up the climb, appreciating the cheers from the volunteers at Bunny Flat, and doing a standing sprint for the last half-mile to the summit.

It was quite the personal victory - and quite chilly, as well. I quickly donned my arm warmers and, after a quick lemonade and a picture, I enjoyed a fast descent, hitting 49.5 mph for a time. Again, I cheered on my friends as I passed them on the downhill.

The last 13 miles of the ride were all downhill. In fact, had the route not required a stop to cross a major road, pedaling would not have been truly necessary (though I pedaled to keep my legs moving and to milk as much speed from the descent as possible). Just before 4:00 pm, I pulled back into the park.

9 hours, 15 minutes, 35 seconds of riding time. 10 hours, 17 minutes total time, including stops.

Mission accomplished.

I spent my post-ride time refueling, getting a full body massage, and waiting for the others to return. All of them did, having conquered the Shasta experience as well.

You can see the rest of my photos from the ride here.
post #2 of 3
Thanks for the TR. Good Ride. Shasta area is a great place with the Mts.,Lakes,River,Canyon. Use to spend alot of time there. Whiskeytown,ect. Did you happen to go into Weed?
post #3 of 3
Great TR, I gatta do dat! (the Century, not the weed).

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