Here's the deal: A ride with climbing, in my book, is any ride that gains 100 feet per mile. This ride was a mere 41 miles, but with 4,412 feet of climbing. Not so bad, unless you factor in that it all happens between 6000 and 7800 feet. There's just no air up there, and if you live at sea level you really feel it. That said, what a ride. It was impossible not to stop every few feet just to gawk at the amazing vistas.
Click this image to see a larger image. I'll leave all the guidebook stuff about volcanic action and lava and such to real web sites. I'll just point out that if you ever get a chance to go here, don't think twice, just do it.
The cycling is grand. The roads are smooth as they are closed in the winter, and there are no big trucks chewing them up, because they don't go anywhere commercial. During the week there isn't even much traffic. Aside from the very real lack of oxygen, it's pretty much ideal.
And did I mention the scenery?
We camped out, cooked out, fought mosquitoes, drank a bit 'o wine and had a grand time. We talked to Sacramento Wheelmen who had a group ride through where we were, and had a nice time chatting with a California Triple Crown jersey wearer we encountered on the rim trail.
We even managed to stop off at the Sundial Bridge in Redding on the drive home.
As you might know from my posts here, I recently lost my father. I'm going through the painful task of sorting through his possessions and getting his business in order.
My wife, Tricia and I talked with my father about our planned trip just before he passed, and my brother insisted we really needed to go, so we decided to go ahead with our plans.
A day before we left, as we were headed over to work on Dad's condo when Tricia asked "Did you check under your Dad's bed?"
I hadn't. When I did I found a small box labeled "Curtis Treasures"
Inside were a few small objects from my childhood, including a top, some beads, a peace symbol, and a few other items. Among them, my early 1960s Boy Scout camping silverware.
We took them on our trip and used them every day.
In an odd coincidence, my sweet wife had packed away her darn-near-matching girl scout version of the same kit, which she dug out and took along as well.