Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Great Basin weekend part 2

We took a day off between the hike and the ride - I had intended to get out on the Mtn bike and do the trail where last years disaster occured the week before Leadville but we took the kids to the Snake Valley Days Parade instead where they rode the fire engine and threw otter pops.

The parade was in Baker, which is also where the climbing starts on the bike ride. But first things first. When there's a parade in Baker your either part of the 50% that's in the parade or the 50% that's watching it. Also, Baker consists of about 2 blocks, so to keep the parade from being an anticlimatic 5 minute event, you do 2 laps around the blocks, you know, to stretch it out a little bit. It's the only option really, if they add more floats or parade participants to stretch the procession out - you start tapping into the 50% left to watch the procession, and then it get's a little lopsided - best to just do a two lapper apparently. I may add a parade post later.

The work starts here at 5,300 ft.

It's about a 5 mile/1,200 foot approach before the real work starts, which is here. There are a few spots where it levels out briefly between here and the top, and briefly is probably overstating how long they last. In about 100 yards, we got buzzed real close, not by a car, but by this dude.....
It was just off the road, and we never would have seen him if he'd stayed quiet, but apparently 3 or 4 ft on a bike was within his personal space so he made his presence known. Annie had no interest in slowing down, I of course, had to turn around and go back for pics and video - will add ride/snake charming video later if I get around to it. It was healthy, one of the larger rattler's I've seen in the wild. Wasn't another 500 yards up the road that there was a bull snake that was quite a bit larger also just off the road - spent the rest of the day riding less closely to the shoulder, didn't see another one.

Maybe 3/4ths the way up at this photo stop, where you can see the road winding up the mountain below, and the straight road where the ride started way down there at the bottom.

Annie working her way up, it was the biggest climb she's done, and thinking it's probably also the biggest single climb I've done, don't know that I've ridden another route that bit off 5,000+ ft on a single climb. Similar total gain of the AF canyon ride from the house, but would have to stick the S. Suncrest climb at the top of the Alpine summit to get a similar bottom to top climb.

Getting closer to the top, with Wheeler Peak in the background.

The signage is almost as if it where made for cyclists. These elevation signs are posted every 500 ft.
And the trail/lookout signs feature the profile of the mountain, not unlike the elevation profiles that cyclists spend so much time admiring themselves for having ridden. Just don't take that profile at face value - those downhill or level sections you see on that sign - non existent on the road.
Descending back down the approach into the town of Baker and the desert. Have to say, riding with my wife is one of my most favorite things, and the fact that she keeps tackling this kind of stuff with relative ease excites me. I'm scheming some adventures we can do that might up the ante a bit.


South County Ciclista said...

I always see the sign to Great Basin and wonder if it is worth going to. Now I know I need to make a trip. Looks like good times with your wife and family.

Jason said...

Brandon - you have to drive through a whole lot of nothin to get there, but once there, it's pretty cool. They've got a little cave system down at the bottom of the mountain that the kids like. The climb really is a good one if you take the road bike, you'd dig it.