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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Posts: 1804
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
Who else is doing it this year? I'm 95% sure I'll do it again.

Since there's no longer a web site to point to, here's a description for people not familiar with it:

2 days, 29,035 feet of climbing in the eastern Sierras. Three climbs each day, from 3000' to 6000' in length and 4000' to 10,000' elevation. Last weekend in September.

There's a non-competitive "tourist" division in addition to fields for licensed racers, though anyone who finishes this is hardly a "tourist". I think it's about three times harder than the Death Ride.

If you're in the bay area and training for this, I organize training rides to do things like Diablo three times. PM me if you're interested.

https://www.bikereg.com/22476
last year's results and race notes are somewhere in here: https://antigravitycycling.wordpress.com/page/4/


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:32 pm 
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Eric,

I did this a few years ago when I called the Monterey Peninsula home. It was an incredible event! Do you know why there is no longer a web site or page with information?

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Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:32 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:29 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
The guy who took over promoting it is not much of an internet guy. He's super enthusuiastic and involved, not only putting on EC but four or five other races like the Death Valley Road and Mt Whitney stage races. And he's also become a moto ref. So he's contributing to the sport in a huge way.

My concern with no web page for EC is that fewer people will do it. I don't want it to die out due to lack of interest.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:26 am 
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Me neither! I hope to get back out there, possibly as soon as 2015.

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 Post subject: race report
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:55 am 
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Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
EC is a two day stage race with 29,035 feet of climbing. It's held in the eastern Sierras near Bishop. I raced the M45+ category. EC brings out the top climbing freaks in the western US. My field included a former domestic pro and national champion and two guys who have won the 35+ and 45+ at EC many times. I'm just a cat 4 who likes climbing and this race in particular.

Day 1

84.2 miles 14,000' (by Garmin 500)
37 starters

The official route was shortened, cutting off 5 miles and 1000' of climbing. But we still had to ride that as a neutral section, then stop and wait for the official start. Once started we were already on the first climb. So only 17 miles and 5000' of climbing up South Lake remained. Most of South Lake is not steep, just relentless, but there's a steep section of three miles in the middle, and very steep ramps at the end.

Image
(start. It looks cold)

I followed my plan to ride at my own pace. Drafting can help a bit on the descents and of course on the flat sections, but only 20 miles of the first day is flat. There's about 45 miles of climbing. Most of the field rode away from me. I gradually caught guys for the rest of the climb. As we approached the 10000' summit of it got colder. At the turnaround I stopped to put on a vest.

Image
(climbing south lake, I'm about to pass these guys)

Even with long finger gloves my hands got very cold. My eyes got so cold that they would not change focus. This is not the best thing at 50 mph but the descent is not technical. Just tuck in and watch the scenery go by.

I maintained a good pace across the first 10 mile flat transit to Pine Creek. I expected some guys from my field to catch me but was only caught in the last mile by a couple strong 35+ racers from EBVC and one other guy.

Image
(pine creek. Race support van in foreground)

On Pine Creek (a small 3000' climb, even grade of about 7%) I kept my pace and motored along. I didn't catch anyone from my field and the guys catching me were from other fields, so no worry. This climb was not so cold, in fact I'd traded my full finger gloves for regular summer gloves at the bottom. The descent was another fast one with only a few turns that require braking.

Another flat transit back to South Lake, this time trading pulls with a guy from my field who I caught at the bottom... and those EBVC 35+ guys caught us. We're repeat that both days of the race- they were faster than me but took longer at stops. I was getting feeds from my wife. Since she was handing up two bottles and some food (and clothes) each time I'd stop, but the stops were short.

I lost all those guys at the start when they stopped to pick up food. South Lake climb begins only a couple miles away. Halfway up the 20 mile climb the EBVC 35s pair caught me again about the same time I spotted a EBVC up ahead. It was Ken, in my field, who I've raced with at EC and other races. He's a good guy but I wanted to beat him just the same.

The 35s went up to him and slowed, trying to tow him at his pace. But I was still catching. I went by and said hi but Ken didn't give much response. We'd gotten to where there's about 3 miles of 8-10%. Part way up I discovered that my quads would cramp when I stood. So I rode the whole thing seated.

Image
(south lake after passing Ken and teamates)

The EBVC 35s caught me near the top and told me that Ken had pulled out. I caught and dropped some more guys in my field on a small descent. Even with the cramping and over 12,000 feet of climbing I was feeling positive.

Image
(south lake last feed zone before the summit. Intermittent snow)

The last section has some gradual climbing and rollers before the final steep 3 miles, with a bunch of 12-15% ramps in the last mile. I rode all of those seated, turning about 50 rpm on the steeper ones. On the very last extra hard ramp I figured out I could stand if I went really easy. I felt that I'd done well and wanted to save a little for the second day so I did not go hard. If I'd seen the 10th place guy who finished just a minute ahead I'd have put in a little more effort.

At the finish I grabbed my summit bag, put on warm clothes and ate some food. It started to snow so I rode down to the feed zone where Laura was parked with the van.

Official time (not counting neutral section) 6:15 Placing: 11th

Photos: Kim Weixel, Laura Lemay


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:03 am 
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Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
Day 2 73 miles 14,000' of climbing

No course changes for day 2. Neutral three miles across the valley, Glacier Lodge, back across to Death Valley road, then the final climb up to White Mtn.

Image
(start. It's cold again)

Glacier has a long 9-10% section in the middle and the rest is not much easier. The fast guys went hard from the bottom. A group of five guys went off after them. The group included the LaGrange guy who was 10th and the guy in 12th about 15 minutes back from me. My legs hurt a lot and I was down on power. I forged ahead hoping that the legs would come around.

Image
(glacier lodge climb. Still cold, and raining)

At the top the group with LaGrange in it had 5 minutes on me. It was colder than Saturday and raining, so the descent was wet. Glacier has a screaming fast descent on that 10% section, with a 2000' drop off on one side and no shoulder or guard rail. I was a little more conservative than usual since the pavement was wet but still hit 50 mph. I caught some riders and a group which turned out to be some cat 4s.

As we crossed the valley again I could see the LaGrange group up the road. The Death Valley Road climb is a desert alluvial fan, about 5% getting steeper as it approaches the top. I felt pretty bad by this point. My right knee was hurting after the cold descent and my quads still hurt. I ate some Ibuprofen and Endurolytes hoping that'd do something. My power was lower than it should have been. I couldn't help comparing the gears I was using to the gears I have used there before in the Death Valley Road race, which is much shorter. It's not comparable but my brain kept telling me I should be a cog or two up and turning higher rpms.

At the top I was surprised to see the LaGrange group only two minutes ahead. I stopped to put on the vest again as it was really cold. That was probably a mistake as I'd been catching a couple guys. On this descent it helps to have people to work with. Especially since my back and triceps were in serious pain when maintaining my tuck. I had to come out of it every couple minutes to give them a break, which slowed me more.

Image
(death valley road descent)
At the bottom of this climb you turn right and immediately start the final 6200' climb to White Mtn. I grabbed bottles food and a gel from my wife and started up the climb.

Not far up it got warm! First time all weekend I was warm. I was glad I'd not put on the long sleeve under jersey at the start. I peeled the arm warmers down and unzipped the jersey. I was catching a guy who appeared to be from my field. The lower part of this climb is up a wash and has about a hundred little 10-15% rollers on a 8% average climb. On one of them I shifted my chain off the big cog and jammed it between the cassette and wheel. It took about a minute to yank it free. By the time I got going again the guy I'd been about to catch was way up the road.

The next feed zone at 6000' was on a steep pitch. I was stopping to get feeds so I could get two bottles and some food. On this one I had to tell my wife to push me, TdF mechanic style, so I could clip in.

Image
(final feed. It's cold some more)

It didn't take long to get cold again. As it got cold I also got tired. There's more steep climbing after the 6000' feed zone then it levels out for a few miles before the turn to White Mtn. Then there's some small climbs and even a small descent. I spotted the 15k sign and it made me happy that I'd be done soon.

The caffeinated gel had worn off and I was hurting. Periodically my legs would just stop for a few seconds. I could keep moving but it was an effort. There's been a few times that I have raced this last section, hammering up it and catching guys, but this wasn't one of them.

When I hit the 5k to go sign I knew the hard part was coming... multiple 15% ramps. I've ridden it enough that I know them, which makes it a little less intimidating but it's still hard when your legs are hurting and most of your brain is telling you to stop.

There is an overview with about 2.5k to go and it gets a little easier there. No more ramps, just steep. And no air. I finally caught that guy I'd been catching when I jammed my chain an hour and a half ago. Nearing 10,000' my breathing came in sharp gasps even though my heart rate was not high. The last 1k seemed to take 10 minutes.

At the finish I grabbed my summit bag. It took me a while to put on my clothes because I was so tired and cold. I drank a cup of hot chocolate and then rode back down to where my wife was waiting. Even with thick winter jacket and gloves, and tights, I was chilled and shivering by the time I got to the van at 8000'.

In the end I did not move up on the second day. The LaGrange guy finished about 15 minutes up on me. He must have been strong on the last climb. And the rider in 12th made up time on me as well, but not enough to claim my spot.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:30 am 
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Fantastic stuff eric.

And some excellent shots :beerchug:

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:25 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Well done Eric. Tough and beautiful climbs out in the Eastern Sierra!

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:29 am 
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Location: Urbana, Illinois
Brutal and well done! :thumbup: The things we do and call fun.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:34 pm 
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Great write up Eric, sounds like a properly epic race!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:39 am 
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Fantastic! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:26 pm 
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Location: Drenthe, Holland
great story and extreme challenge. not even comparable to climbing in the high mountains. ;) wow, this must be so much harder.

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Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:26 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:29 pm 
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Awesome race report, I love reading those! Yours was especially well done. Congrats on a great effort!


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