Alta Alpina Challenge 2010
My toughest double of the year! This is the like the infamous Death Ride on steroids, 8 mountain passes instead of 5, resulting in 200 miles with over 20,000 feet of climbing. The start was just outside Markleeville, at Turlte Rock Park. I was also camping there so I didn't have to go far for the 5am-5:15am start window for 8 pass riders. I despite my proximity to the start, I was the last to start. Some of the riders had choosen to go as early as 3am! I had a long day of catch-up ahead...
My timing was good from the prespective of daylight, the sun was coming up so there wasn't much need for the lights. The route starts out with a decent into Nevada, with a flat run through the valley to the first pass, Kingsbury Grade. As I got near the bottom of the climb there I could see the first riders of coming back in the opposite direction. The first climb up Kingsbury grade was great, with a stunning view on both the climb and descent. Next up was Luther this really wasn't too bad. Carson Pass was tougher and by now I'd started to pass a number of people. Followed by an out and back to Blue Lake which was rolling hills and due to the road not being open all the way, they added Airport Rd. Now over 100 miles in Airport Rd, was short but tiring and thankfully followed by lunch.
After a short break for lunch it was time for Ebbetts and Monitor, this is what you call a long afternoon. Ebbetts was definitely a challenge and by the time a I got the first part of Monitor I had nothing left in my legs. The West and East climbs on Monitor were slow, but once up at the top of Monitor for the second time I was ready to bring it home, before the sunset. It was pleasant surprise to find I was the third to finish all 8 Passes at the end.