Saturday, June 28, 2008

Read the FN Drivers Handbook Before Entering California

For all those people who wonder what the stick that comes out of their steering wheel is that makes that light to blink, or why they hear a horn when they are making a turn at 3mph while holding a cell phone or in the left lane when the people entering the highway are just going a little faster than them...the following is presented as a public service:

"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"
-George Carlin-

Always use your turn signals.(21)Passing Other Traffic Space To Pass Always signal before passing.(32)SIGNALING Always signal to other drivers when you plan to turn left, right, slow down, or stop. Signals may be given by hand-and-arm positions or- (32) -by using the vehicle's signal lights.(32-33)

Important DrivingTipsDealing With TrafficCongestion* Don't drive slowly in the left(fast) lane.(45)

California Driver Handbook 2008 (page # in parenthesis)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Terrible Two--NOT!--June 21, 2008

Save for a second year in a row from the Terrible Two by my daughter who graduated last year (when it was a nice mild day) and had her birthday this year (when it was sizzling in the morning.) Darn--no switching to a 34x chainring and still have my back go out on the last climbs of the day at mile 180. Instead went downhill at 55mph on the Santa Cruz Giant Dipper (though only 70 feet altitude gain.) This ride takes 1:52, the Terrible Two 15:00:00.

If my baby daughter is 19, I guess I can't keep thinking that I'm 30.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Eastern Sierra Double-2008

196 miles, 10,200' elevation. 5:00 to 6:58, 16.0 avg-- 91st of 223 riders. Joe finished (t) 2nd!! and Jack finished 39th.

Miserable day but the ride proves to be one of the most unique ones around. Part was unexpected weather. Part was my stupidity. I thought I'd be blasting through the last flat 33 miles while most people are tired, but...

"Sometimes things don't go exactly as planned"--Paul Sherwin

The short story--As weather promises to be mild wear thin socks and no arm warmers. Gentle winds from the north are predicted under sunny skies. Yep-the sky was sunny. At 5:56 winds were out of the North (at Bishop airport) at 14mph with gusts of 22. At 7:56 wind out of the North at 20 with gusts of 26. At 9:56 NNE wind at 20, gusts 28. And we travel NW for the first 100 miles of this ride.

This ride basically travels NW from Bishop to Mono Lake for 105 miles on Hwy 395, looping on side roads whenever you can, then SE for 44 miles on Hwy 120 to Benton, and S for 33 miles on Hwy 6, back to Bishop. The red arrows show the 20+ mph wind direction, which was heavy early and late in the day. Orange arrows/ lines denote climbs.

But at mile 118 or so the wind wasn't a factor (down to 8, gust of 16 from the NW and we were traveling SE.) But I'm getting over a cold and at high altitude (appx 7,000') you DON'T GO ANAEROBIC. But stupid ass decided to counter attack on the last hard climb of the day, which worked as the attackers never reached my two compatriots. But it effectively killed me for the rest of the ride.

But I am getting ahead of myself as this route is real special. Think of an upside down pyramid with its left side much longer than the other two. First you go up the left side, which is Highway 395. But ever time there is a loop to the West you cross over the highway do the loop, whereas you always get back to Hwy 395, recross it and continue Northwest. (Of course this means 9 uncontrolled crossing of Hwy 395--luckily traffic is sparse.) You start the morning with a Southern loop of the area South of Bishop, a looping windy climb of the Old Sherwin Grade, a loop through Mammoth Lakes Ski Resort and a loop of tranquil June Lakes--always coming back to Hwy 395 as you trudge generally upward (meaning both Northwest and gaining altitude) to Mono Lake. Seemingly always surrounded by snow capped mountains . From Mono Lake you turn around and after a warm up climb you head Southeast more across than down one of the sides of the pyramids on Highway 120--which is a desolate road punctuated with expansion joints and the hardest climb of the day Sagehen Summit. Sagehen is a laddered climb which goes on for @10 miles. After Sagehen are some serious rollers among more tumbleweed to Benton. Then you get on the shoulder of Highway 6 and for 33 miles travel generally Southwest back to Bishop.

Mass start at 5:00 which is called "civil twilight" and I took a mini light as I didn't recall much light at the start last year--but it takes 10 minutes to roll out of town and by the time we were in the countryside it was light enough whereas a front light wasn't needed. I had my mini 1 watt LED flashlight held down by hair ties and velcro, and I never took it off the bike and it stayed locked in very well. Unlike last year the mass quickly broke up and I wound up in the 2nd group of about two dozen, with the lead pack (Jack and Joe in there) well down the road but no one close behind us. As we make a few turns we got a few breaks from the cold wind but also get a few icy blasts which f's up my breathing (I think I had the Buff over my mouth for 1/2 of the ride.)

Early in the day, after looping Bishop cycle on a gentle rising grade which eventually gets you to a deserted community college dwarfed by the mountains. Seems like you are at sea level but you are already at 4,000'

A guy wearing a Stockton Club Vest was nearby, he knew Joanie, so we started bs'ing a little too much, it wound up that he and I and a woman rider were pulling a long train. We finally were on a road that went up steadily (5 miles of W. Line into Ed Powers Rd, about 2-3%, not rollers) , and I went to the front and upped the pace, and the woman was the only one who stayed with me. Then she took the lead and we were "two manning" at a nice pace to Round Valley, rest stop #1. Came in 10 minutes after last year when Don and I blasted with the lead pack from the get go--but kept my rest stop time down to 5 minutes, half of last year's. I mistakenly though that at rest stops I'd put a bite in my time for the day. I leave chewing something, woman blasts past me, and when I catch up she says in a really nice accent that we should work together, which we do until the start of the Sherwin . (1 & 2) Just North of Bishop looking East across a runway and then a ranch. (3) Then looking East across Hwy 395. We are at 4,500' but it feels like we are at sea level.

Grade. Old Sherwin Grade starts at mile 32 and goes on for 8 miles, going from 4450' to 6330.' It is not terribly steep and the first portion is very easy, where we pass "The Far Side" House. I also pass Jack with his new shoes, and I can just imagine Joe shooting up this climb. But then continuing past the subdivision we aren't sheltered and blasts of cold icy air hit from a different direction on every turn. I start passing more and more folks from the lead pelaton, and then catch two tandems, one which is climbing great.
Up Sherwin Grade to "The Far Side House" subdivision (see photos from the last post) Still about 3/4 of the climb to go where it will get windier and windier.

There is a short downhill where a few riders come by that I had passed, but then there is another climb where I repass them and the climbing tandem, and take the subsequent downhill well enough so the tandem and I reach level ground about the same time, and I can follow them to rest stop #2. At time we are going only 11 into the fierce 20+ mile headwind--but 11 mph is good enough to be picking off many riders in front of us who quickly join in the tandem train. We get to Crowley Lake Rest Stop #2 17 minutes behind last year. I leave in 7 minutes which is 2 minutes too late as the tandem took off quickly down the road with those more aware than me. (When I missed the tandem I was pissed for a long time that I didn't whizz behind a pickup truck and walked down to the restroom, 100-200' away--ironically someone was dq'd for doing thus.) No one else leaving so I start off solo, back toward 395 into the headwind.
Joe arrived to Crowly Lake rest stop in the first group (Kathy Parsons photo)
Really struggling on 395 as we are both fighting the headwind and the elevation is usually going up. To get "getting lost" points I take a wrong side street off 395 which necessitated climbing under barbed wire to get back on the Highway, as the road dead ended and didn't loop back. Riding solo here is like banging your head against the wall--but no one is up the road or closely behind. Luckily soon cross the highway, see the Devil Postpile sign (sounds like a Devil bowel movement) and start the clockwise climbing loop of Mammoth Lakes Resort--the climbing is much better than being in a headwind. One guy passed me way to easily on the climb but I must have passed a dozen riders on this loop. Long downhill where I'm joined by one rider and soon in the Crestview Rest area--rest stop #3, mile 72, 23 minutes behind last year, but get out in 5 minutes--not the 20 from last year. As I'm leaving Tone pulls in and takes off her shoe as her toes are frozen, and she's from Scandinavia. Cold headwind.

Back on the shoulder of Highway 395 and struggle solo in the crappy headwind. Suddenly I hear "You-ho, we're back." Tone of Norway is in back of Richard who turns out lives near Mt. Diablo, and he is hammering in the lead. We get to an uphill section and I go to the front and spell Richard, and Tone would go to the front when the pace started to lag. We had a good working group. They were both doing the course for the first time so I laid out what was head of us. Tone and I debated who was a worse downhiller, but luckily not many long downhills in this course. Too bad I didn't paceline in with them at the end of the ride. (Richard finished 27th and Tone 30th)

We worked well up 395, no one passed and we caught some riders, and then another Highway 395 crossing to the June Lakes loop, which starts off as a rolling climb but then last year was a speedy loop where our whole club came together. This year even with the wind it didn't disappoint as we were sheltered from the headwind. Tone exclaimed that this looked like home with the lake surrounded by a town in the hills and mountains--I mistakenly suggested Denmark and was told "NO-Denmark IS FLAT." (1-3) June Lake Loop that looks like Norway--Not Denmark. (3) Grant Lake w/ low water as we speed towards Mono Lake.

Unfortunately the loop was over too soon and it was back on Highway 395, through Lee Vining and to the Mono Lake County Park (owned by Los Angeles), which was the turn around. Here wind was not a factor as there is a long downhill which unfortunately we have to climb back after lunch. Before we started the 3-5 mile downhill we saw a dozen riders in the lead group come up, and Joe was solidly in with them. Figure they were 50 minutes ahead of us. On the descent maybe saw another dozen riders on the return trip uphill or leaving the park as we came in. Turnaround at mile 105. Came in at 12:20, 20 minutes behind last year, but last year we stayed for 30 minutes while Mike and Rusty had their feet in the stream. Now Tone wanted to maintain our place as much as I did and we left in 20 minutes. We see Jack rolling into the long park access road as we are rolling out--I figure he is 10 minutes behind us and due to his great rest
stop management he'll probably join us for the run in. (1) Mono Lake from the Mono Lake County Park (owned by Los Angeles) driveway. (2) Only Jack could leave this lunch spot quickly

Long climb back up to Lee Vining but now with a hint of a tailwind it wasn't bad at all. A little past the June Lake intersection we are supposed to cross Hwy 395 for the last time of the day and go East on Hwy 120 for 44 miles. We all see the sign "Left Turn Hwy 120 (E) 1/2 mile"--about a mile later we realize we missed the turn and had to double back. Planet Ultra has spoiled us to this point, actually marking all turns, so this one wasn't marked with the familiar yellow arrows.

The wind has settled down, now just a mild crosswind as we thunk-thunk over the expansion joints on Highway 120. We were getting into a few uphill grades before hitting the annoying Sagehen Climb--a laddered climb with many false summits where we'd go from 6920' to 8139' in @ 8 miles---on paper this doesn't seem tough and I remember it as being more annoying than hard.
44 miles of expansion joints on Hwy 120.
All of a sudden Tone spots a bunch of riders gaining on us, "we can't let them catch us," and we decide we want to maintain our position. I go to the front and pull into the Sagenhen Climb--but at the beginning of the climb we are joined by two guys--both who go hard at the beginning of the climb and pass us. I feel good-no need or thought to stop at water stop. Now I have a choice--though I conveniently forget I've been on antibiotics for a week and we are at 7000+, and just feel good and happy that the wind has died:

Do I tactically pick?
(1) ride pace and hope to bring them gradually back before the end of the climb, and we can 5 man to the finish.
(2) counter attack the lead rider and when his buddy jumps counterattack the other rider.

Mr Stupid ass does #2-effective as they fell back and never got back to Tone or Richard. But I killed myself in the process and suddenly the x27 which I didn't need all ride was too damn small and grandma on her "Big Wheels" could pass me backwards. My heart raced and wouldn't settle down and I felt sooo tired, thirsty and nauseous. I struggled on the climb--watching the odometer as it slowly crept towards 130, but the rest stop wasn't until 132--another 2 painful, agonizing miles. I decided I just wanted to finish the ride and now couldn't worry about time and I'd crash at the rest stop--no more making up time. I almost barfed where Steve had last year.

Last year we stayed at the Sagehen rest stop for 25 minutes while our weaker riders recovered. I had planned to make up time by getting out quickly here. But I rolled in 20 minutes after last year and stayed for 35-40 minutes, first laying in the back of a pickup and being real chilled and moving to a chair in the sun while trying to down a soda. No hunger at all--damn--like Central Coast in 2006 when I DNF'd. While I slept in the truck bedliner (with a radio blasting overhead) Doug had told him I was laying in the truck but Jack was so focused he didn't hear him (and Doug speaks up) and later wondered where he had passed me.

(above) I narely making it up to the Sagehen Summit, 8,000', where I quickly go take a nap in the back of a pickup (note radio on top of cab--it was blasting and I barely heard it) , and then move to a chair where I'm freezing (its not that cold.) Thanks for Kathy Parsons for catching the excitement--too bad she didn't catch me sleeping in the desert about a half hour later. Below, Jack looks a little better than me when he passes the pickup.
Started going but wobbly--luckily road started with a few downhills. But then back on the flats and short uphill rollers, and the THUNK-THUNK wasn't helping. Next rest stop at mile 159 and I wasn't getting anywhere fast--seemed every minute another rider would pass me. Tired eating a pretzel I had taken but spit it out. Real thirsty but water and sports drink tasted rancid. After 15 miles I made a decision--I started looking for a driveway or turnoff but there was none so I just pulled over to the side of the road, laid out my vest--took my helmet off and laid in the sand among the brush while seemingly every bug around found my ear. If a sag had passed I may have jumped in, but this is a Planet Ultra ride so no sag anywhere. And every minute a passing cyclist would call out "you OK" and I'd waive with my eyes closed. I can swear I heard Kitty pass and say "Oh-he's just sleeping." Anyway this lasted for @15 minutes. I didn't like getting passed and didn't like that I felt like crap--but was kind of surreal when I opened my eyes and just saw miles of tumbleweed across the road. Next year will have to go back here for photos.

Kept struggling on the uphills but now enough downhill relief to help out. Still passed by a cyclist each minute. Finally get an appetite back--luckily I had stuffed some pretzels in my jersey and ate some Sports Jelly beans. But still real thirsty and my drinks weren't cutting it. Getting close to Benton gave me some energy. Got pissed when a chubby trio passed closely on an uphill--I just rode pace to get on their wheel but then they reorganized and blasted away on the flats.

Benton is basically a ghost town, and rest stop in park nearly empty. Workers there really helped me out as I joyfully drank a soda while one produced some moist mini brownie muffins that were perfect. I only stayed here for 10 minutes and conserved energy as much as possible, I was the only person who didn't run over when someone came in with a bamboo bike.

Now wind picking up again, but now a 20 mph tailwind in the same direction of Highway 6--which features a nice smooth shoulder for 33 miles. Some riders report cycling at 40-50 mph, I didn't want to relapse so I coasted much of the beginning--there were some gentle uphill sections I was pushed along at 30 mph. Chubby trio flew by without saying a word and I couldn't get on their wheel. F. Feeling better now but truth be told I was tasking it easy. Just started putting in an effort near the end where Highway 6 turns near Bishop so friendly tailwind becomes a crosswind--as getting close to 7:00 and I wanted to finish before 14 hours.

Nice moment near the end--a raggy big Chevy with young couple driving along and guy yells out the window, Type of car that usually causes problems on the road and I'm in no fn mood, but finally hear guy said "sir, is it true that you just rode 200 mile." When I signal yes girl yells out "that's awesome. " Stoked when about a dozen riders who finished are hanging out and cheer me in. Finished at 13;58, just 36 minutes more than last year. Jack wondering how he passed me and Richard hanging out and wanted to know what had happened to me. Jack just started to laugh when I told of my ill fated attack and subsequent fatigue. Riding aggressively worked out last year on the Mt. Tam Double--today it was a disaster.I'm on North side of Mono Lake, behind me is where we cycled.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Eastern Sierra Double (preride)-2008

One week to go--Unfortunately feeling like shit. Head cold from freezing at Pac Bell Park the day after melting at the Davis Double still with me. What's worse is my knee is hurting as it did in 2002 after my surgery or after crashing on it--but no trauma so puzzled? At least on yesterday's 70 mile club ride (under cold, overcast, breezy skys) knee was just tender and not sore after two days of rest. But I was hoping to do more miles and push harder going into this ride.

Conflicting feelings about last year's Eastern Sierra Double.
Very very unique that we had 6 Diablo Cyclists on the Double, an unheard of amount, especially for such a small club--and at mile 95 we all came together. For the rest of the day 4 of us rode to the weakest rider, which on one hand was great fun but it felt weird not going balls out on a timed double. This year most of our compatriots are gone--Steve broke his neck on the Terrible Two two weeks later and basically retired, like almost our whole 2005 Double rookie crop Mike has relocated, after scores of doubles in a few years (many on fixed gear) Don has decided to finally take it easier this year, and after one double last year Rusty has been reluctant to do a 2nd. I'll be joined by Jack and Joe--at least at the start--Jack has an insane rest stop pace (1 minute and out) and Joe has an insane climbing pace--so it will probably be 190 miles solo. As such I' studying the route with all the side loops very very closely. Will not be fun getting lost in no man's land. Also decided that I'll get to Bishop via Minden--an extra 20 miles but wouldn't have the 15mph traffic behind campers thru Yosemite or the Sonora Pass (20% grades)--and while in Nevada I can get gas--in Bishop LAST YEAR gas was $4.25, my guess is 5.33 this year.
Now if I can just breath in the morning and put some painless power to the pedals.

6 days to go-Oldest daughter officially moves out of the house. Kind of strange--she's been off in college and then job training so has been away for 5 years, but when the moving truck showed up today and she carted off her college furniture and some of our old pieces, it really hit home. Of course she left tons of her old clothes (and other treasurers that we need to go through), went through her clothes to box ASAP so youngest clothes hawk daughter could inherit a walk in closet. Hmm--how many soccer jerseys can one person own? Her sweatshirt from elementary school. Now her old room filled with boxes--flashback 22 years ago when we moved from SF and stored boxes we'd "eventually unpack" in the 3rd bedroom--not hitting those boxes until oldest daughter arrived. Where did 22 years go??

At least the long range forecast for Lee Vining (Ele. 7650 Mono Lake turnaround) is sunny, 69, with Friday and Sunday similar. A call for afternoon thunderstorms would really have this ride go down the toilet. At Bishop (where ride starts and ends, Ele 4200, the call is for a sunny 83-85 from Friday thru Sunday. So far so good.

5 days to go--A miracle. Emailed my Kaiser doctor (who is impossible to see) and he prescribed two medicines right away. Wow. Last time I tried contacting him over a cold I couldn't get by an advice nurse who said there is nothing they could do. And then I went to see Janelle, the goddess of massage therapists who worked out all the kinks in my lower back so I suddenly feel a flexible as a young pretzel. Physically things are looking up--will test my knee tomorrow.

4 days to go--42:17 up 6 1/2 miles (5-6%) North Side of Mt. Diablo to the Junction and just wheezing when I pushed hard, which I didn't do much of as always wary of the knee going from slightly tender to PAIN, but it didn't get any worse than tender while I babied it. Then looped down to the South (ez) side and spun up. So happy with how the cold and knee progressed--and will try to open up a little tomorrow night for the Diablo Cyclist slugfest--though wouldn't come close to the 35:55 I set in 90+ degrees a few weeks ago right before the Davis Double. (only hot night on the mountain this year.) I know rest makes you stronger but I have done too much tapering in the past week.

Eastern Sierra snuck up on me--I have a compact 50/36 and my good wheels have 12-27 cassettes, which are not needed for this ride. For the relaxed climbs and the fast wind aided downhills I had wanted to put an 11-23 on my bike, but now to late to get one..change the chain...etc. Oh well, if I can't catch up to a tandem I'll blame the bike and not my shitty form.

Now that I'm feeling like I'm not about to croak, it is time to watch motivation training video--2002 Paris Roubaix where Johan Museeuw solos the last 40 km while being chased by US Postal. Will be good motivation while hopefully riding hard down desolate Hwy 120.

3 days to go--38:10 to the junction, fair--though still have trouble breathing on heavy exertion, usually I can stay on cyclecross champ Mark's wheel for 1 1/2-2 miles, now I had to drop off after 1 mile. Preroad up to 1000' and then did the Diablo Cyclist ride and my knee was tender again--but after 40 miles.

I have to rethink blaming my choice of gears--a few years ago I was 142-146 and it looked like 136lbs (supposedly the ideal climbing weight for my height) was a possibility. Two years ago I was in the 145-149 lb range, last year was usually 150 but could drop down if need be. This year weight has crept up to 152-154, and it seems to be locked in this range. I'm not scared enough of rides like I was a few years ago where I am willing to starve myself.

Good news--for Sat. NWS predicts sunny, 65 for Lee Vining, CA, no rain or thunderstorms predicted until next Tuesday. Likewise, sunny and 86 in Bishop, CA. Bad news--cleaning the bike tonight and FSA crankarm on non drive side loose and bolt wouldn't tighten in. Damn, crappy FSA stuff strikes again. Tomorrow 320 mile drive East to Bishop--have no time to go to my regular mechanics who are 40 miles West. I know of a bike shop in Plymouth--I'll stop by and
hopefully he can quickly fix the problem.

2 days to go-Couldn't sleep worrying about how I'd get bike fixed--so stayed up to 1am to watch the last hour of Museeuw's epic solo ride to the Roubaix velodrome--still kinda get wound up when Phil Liggett says "...and the Lion of Flanders Roars Once More."

Jim,The Wheel Peddler, a mobile bike repair service came out to my house this AM. Pronounced that old FSA aluminum bolt stripped , luckily he had some of the replacement steel ones.

Weather holding up, Lee Vining sunny & 66 w/ west wind 5-10, Bishop sunny & 87 with NNW wind of 3-8. OK time to go--6 hour drive and possibly $6 gas.

Beautiful 320 mile drive to Bishop--passing through many seminal cycling sites. First drive through pancake flat Lodi (ele 52') where I used to be SO psyched that I barely did a century. Then up to Jackson (ele 1200')at the foot of the Gold Country, where we used to stay for the great (Amador-El Dorado) Sierra Century, where I cut my teeth on hill climbing on many memorable rides. Past Cook Station at 5,000', boy was I jazzed when we got there in 2003 on a Sierra Century practice ride. Then out over Carson Pass (ele 8,573'), the last pass of the Death Ride, still with snow on the surrounding peaks. I got a kick watching the temperature plummet as I drove up Hwy 88--81 degrees in Jackson, 75 degrees at 3,000', 65 degrees at 6,000' and 59 degrees at Carson Pass.

Then after stopping to buy relatively cheap gas in Nevada a straight shot down Hwy 395 by Mono Lake to a huge valley surrounded by snow capped mountain peaks that generally gets lower to Bishop. Remembering that you can't be at a liquid deficit at altitude, I have a cooler full of drinks that I down.

Surrounded by the snow caps one thinks you are are at sea level, but it is an optical illusion. This this is high desert--Bishop is at 4140' and Mono Lake is at 6392.' The surrounding mountains are higher than the peaks around the Death Ride or Haleakala. There will be places between Mono Lake and Bishop that will rise to 8,000-9,000', as high as the Death Ride passes. While I've written earlier that I've seen so many vineyards and the Pacific Coast that these are no longer "oh wow" views--the Mono Lake Valley is truly unbelievable.

Walk around Bishop's old shopping district which still has unique stores--though notice a huge sporting good/ bike shop about a mile out of town in a mall--but after driving 7 hours no interest in doing anything but walk around the old part of town.

1 day to go-Weather is sunny and beautiful. First I go over to the funky (and turns out great) Erick Schat's Bakery. Last year passed by it when met the gang for a horrible breakfast at Jack's. This year had the BEST whole wheat muffins ever. Before I go back to civilization I have to get some of their speciality bread. Erick Schat's Bakery of Bishop--tied with Pt Reyes Bovine Bakery for the BEST food--but this leaps ahead with their funky decor, comfortable seating, and they also bake bread.

After breakfast plan to do much of the beginning of the Eastern Sierra Double, winding up at mile @35 where "The Far Side House" on Old Sherwin Grade--I almost fell over last year when we went through a subdivision and one corner homes front lawn decorated by strange looking cartoon creatures. As I'm skipping the initial loop south of Bishop I should get there at mile 25. As a "day before" ride am taking it easy and will NOT get out of the small chainring.

It is sunny and I ride miles though a ghost valley--after leaving Bishop I may have seen 3 cars on the road--nothing near the giant community college building. Come across two cyclists--one on a hybrid carting garbage off the Indian Reservation nearby. Finally lots of kids at the Round Valley School which will be our first rest stop. At one point I see a street with lots of cars, what main street is that>>--stupidass, it's not a main street but Highway 395 which we'll parallel and loop back into for much of the 1st half of the Eastern Sierra Century. Damn--it is nice but not hot, and I've almost downed both of my water bottles. High altitude at work.

Right outside Bishop lots of grassland which will become tumbleweed further North at higher elevation and away from loads of tiny streams.
Climb the Sherwin Grade--a gentle grade that is only made difficult with the crazy winds that were blowing last year. Luckily it is predicted that winds will be a gentle 3-8 mph. I get to "The Far Side" House, pull out my camera and start taking photos. The owner, an older lady comes out and we talk for awhile--her husband made all the figures out of concrete or styrofoam. She gets me more water and I head back on Highway 395 which cuts the trip back into less than half. While Hwy 395 is a major road which we will transverse all day tomorrow, it has wide shoulders and very little traffic--maybe a car passes each minute.
Scenes from "the Far Side" House on Old Sherwin Grade.

Bishop is definitely the hot place in the valley. Eat lunch (speciality sandwiches) at Schat bakery and then figure the best use of my time would be to get in a nice long nap.

Meet Joe for dinner to go over the course with him-he is really pumped expecting to stay with the lead group for a long time. Can't contact Jack--we later find out that the Master of Doubles forgot his cycling shoes and got to the edge of town sporting goods store 5 minutes before they closed and scored a pair in his size with his cleats. Unbelievable.
(1) At check in Planet Ultra making the peanut and butter sandwiches--which doesn't help then next day when all you want is bread. (2) Doug trying out his new Planet Ultra material on Jack. But all told Planet Ultra didn't do a bad job on this one. (3) Joe waiting to register--only time he'd be behind many riders during this event.
At the check in I ask Planet Ultra for a second copy of the route sheet, as I like to put a pristine one away w/ photos. I'm told "one to a person"..if you lose it you can get another one at a rest stop." Luckily I'll be carrying two copies from prior years. Luckier still, Planet Ultra's support would be good at rest stops with Heed-Endurolights and Sustained Energy Available at all stops. At rest stop two one worker brought Tums with her as she remembered me asking for some last year.