Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mount Shasta Century


Mount Shasta is a long way from San Francisco. Who knew?

I came here for the Mount Shasta Summit Century. Having done four centuries in four days less than two weeks ago, I wasn't worried about my fitness. I was, however, worried about my bike. I was on a borrowed bike - a steel Trek touring bike with bar-end shifters and 32cc tires. A flat one (tire) at that. 

Grand Depart - 6:30 a.m.

That was not the best bike for climbing. Heavy and sluggish, I struggled with it the first 25 miles. And those were rollers.

Spillway at Lake Siskiyou
Deron Cutright and Tamy Quiqley had set me up with the bike for which I am thankful. I never look a gift bike in the mouth. I may make fun of it in a blog for all to see but I will never look it in the mouth.

The day started cool, low 60s, and with a few rain drops but not enough to say it was raining. It would warm up considerably throughout the day.

Lake Siskiyou

The first rest stop was in Weed, California, always a good place for some jokes. Up until then the road was best described as rollers although there was a six-mile descent - never a good thing at the beginning of a long ride. Those are best saved as rewards at the end.

Weed, California
Climbing back to the City of Mount Shasta, the first real climb began. The scenery was gorgeous. We were in a forest with each pedal stroke climbing higher amongst the rocks and trees. Behind me was a great view of Mount Shasta which I would see on the six mile descent after we turned around.

Climb up W. A. Barr Rd
After the descent we immediately began the climb to Crystal Lake. This was a climb which took us to more than a mile high. Strangely enough, the 14 minutes down, at 30 mph, seemed longer than the hour climb up the mountain.

Mt Shasta from W.A. Barr Rd
After 72 miles the sweetest was yet to come. On the cue sheet it appeared to be a 13 mile climb up to 7800'. However, I was out of time. Having stayed on East Coast time, and knowing it would be another 2 1/2 hours to climb and descend, I knew I didn't leave myself enough time to safely drive back to the San Francisco airport.

My legs felt good. My lungs felt good. My bike? Not so good. My body clock? Awful.

Tamy Quiqley on W.A. Barr Rd.
Had I been on my own bike I think I would have foolishly taken the time and made the climb. Foolish because Mount Shasta is a long way from San Francisco and I had a flight to catch. I briefly even had a reservation for a red eye which I would not have made.

Railroad Tracks in City of Mount Shasta

Given those circumstances, I called it a day. I had to get on the road. As it was, I did not get to my airport hotel until midnight and I had a 6:00 a.m. flight -- and return the rental car at 4:00 a.m.

I am very satisfied with the 72 miles. There was a time when I first started that I had to prove myself I could finish. Today I knew I could finish, even on the "Family Truckster" borrowed bike. I just didn't have time. I doubt that I get to try this one again but would love to -- on my own bike and with more time before my flight home.

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