Relive the Death Ride (DR)

MonitorSummit

In many ways the DR was the gateway to many of my later on challenges which included IMAZ and a stronger friendship with some of my fellow cyclists.  Through the DR I earned my pass to be called a cyclist.  I learned at 50mph anything can happen and that will change my life forever.  I learned no matter how well you trained or how tough your mind is, a cheer from a complete stranger will go a long way.  I learned that it is ok to ask for help even though it’s the most ridiculously thing to ask and in my case, I asked for a ride down on the descend while others couldn’t get enough of.  I learned that there’s only one thing stands between you and the finish line – that’s YOU.  Most importantly I learned to stay true to myself and enjoy the moment that I was given.  While others set out to finish and finish strong, I set out just to see the world.  I took one pass at a time with no expectation of finishing the next until it was truly happened.

GroverCamp

Morning rays

This year some of us came back to Markleeville for the weekend to ride part of the DR and to get away from the busy Bay Area, away from the corporate life and the ordinary…even just for a day or two.  The actual event date is a couple of weeks from now.  I came back this year not trying to beat my old time but rather to capture some of the memories and sceneries that were lost during the event day because I was so worried to meet the cut off time.

Grover hot spring in Markleeville is one of my favorite place to camp.   It’s clean, beautiful and easy access to ride to passes.  Except this time we got a ticket for leaving our cooler out during the day.  Not sure how much the fine will come out to be.

MonitorPassSaturday morning we decided to ride Monitor pass.  By far it’s my most favorite one among the threes for good road condition, good mixture of boulder views and vast meadows.  After paying a steep price of climbing, Monitor’s summit offers a stunning view of the whole valley below.  We drove the van along since there’s nothing along the pass.  And nothing I meant no stores, houses or water source for 22 miles.  There were a fair amount of cyclists riding these passes this weekend.  Some trained for Lake Tahoe Ironman.  Some trained for the coming Death Ride.  Wild flowers are in the bloom.  They are everywhere in all sort of shapes and colors.  Just simply beautiful.  I stopped along the way and zoomed in on some of the flower.  Green meadows stretch as far as the eyes can see.  I see trails crisscrossing and wondered if there are any mountain biking up in this area.

After Monitor everyone decided to go back to the camp site.  I, on the other hand, pushed on.  I rode along the 88 north east toward Lake Tahoe.  At 2pm.  I was the only biker on the road.  The wind started to pick up.  Cars passed by at top speed.  I was alone on an endless road.

CarsonPass

Red lake along Carson

Sunday ride was a lot shorter and smaller group – just Tom and myself.  It was a one way ride out to Carson pass and we got picked up at Kirkwood and homeward after that.  Head wind was brutal.  The road condition on the down hill after Red lake was terrible.  Pot holes after pot holes.  I had a feeling my bike was snapping in halves.  Nonetheless, the views along Carson was spectacular.  Green meadows.  Peaceful creek flowing among wildly bloom flowers.  I dreamt of the day I would be living on one of these meadows with a couple of horses – completely off the grid.

For more photos visit my Flickr page. 

-D-

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