The Mendocino Monster lived up to it's name. It really was a monster. Though it was billed as a century with 8000 feet of climbing, my Garmin reported it as
111 miles with 10,379 feet of up.
Tricia and I started the night before with a dinner in Ukiah at Patrona with a contingent of Bike Forum folks. The food was wonderful, but I don't know if I've ever been to a slower restaurant.
Sunday Morning we rolled out of the parking lot right at 7am. I wish the organizers would have planned for an earlier start, and hope they do next year. We left Ukiah and headed toward Mendocino and the coast in the cool but comfortable morning air.
Overall, this ride has fewer "junk miles" than any ride I've done. Lots of rides, though beautiful, have sections of city streets, traffic lights, broken glass and stickers, or high traffic. This ride was 99.9% unreal. The whole thing takes place in an unreal landscape. There are sweeping vistas, old-growth redwoods, wildflowers and wonderful aromas the whole way.
The ride is tough. I don't recall a flat spot the whole day. We either went up, or down. The ride starts with a tough climb, but having fresh legs makes it fun. The same hill, but a different route on the way back seems like it will never end, even though there aren't any steep spots, just a relentless 6% grade for miles.
If there was a downside to the route, it might be the road surface. A lot of the way the road is in ill repair, potholed and rough. In some spots it's merely gravel.
Oddly, it didn't bother me much. I think my magic Roubaix and the fact that I took my descents cautiously made my day less painful. I'd hate to try to get max speed on some of the surfaces we rode.
The feeling of an otherwise wonderful day was somewhat darkened by two crashes. On rider crashed right by LanceOldStrong. It appeared something happened to his bike. He was airlifted out. We saw another rider being loaded on an ambulance later in the day. I'd sure like to find out how they are, and what happened.
This was the organization's first effort, and they did a fine job. Lox and bagels at one rest stop, tri-tip at the post-ride meal. They marked the route well, and were just nice people. Tricia and I both won raffle prizes (Wine and a bottle of local apple brandy!)
My camera got a smudge on the lens part way through, so most of my photos have a weird dream-like look. I guess that makes sense for a ride with so many "tobacco accessory" shops downtown.
There's even a music a video!
In related news:
- With just a little pressure/encouragement from LanceOldStrong (shown below, hammering uphill) I've signed on for the Knoxville Double and Bass Lake/Powerhouse Double. We'll volunteer at the Mt. Tam Double. With luck we'll qualify for the California Triple Crown 1000 mile jersey.
- Saddle sores are a pain. After years of riding I finaly get to try one, and I do not recommend them, Yech.