Ebbets Pass Century : Specialized Tarmac

When I entered the Ebbets Pass Century I had in my mind that I would ride it on the Trike. I have always wanted to try the “Death Ride”  on the trike and this evenr carried an automatic “Death Ride” entry.  The course also covered one of the Death ride passes. I decided to do it on my Tarmac as a reccy just in case it wasn’t trike friendly.

I had to get up at 4:00 am to drive to bear Valley and was still feeling a bit under the weather with my lung rot. The temperature at the start was a pleasant 65 degrees but unfortunately it was raining.  I started at 6:30am with an intention to do a steady fun ride for a change rather than shooting for time.  I couldn’t find my friend who I was supposed to be riding with so set off on my own.  The century started off with a mostly down hill stretch with wet roads to the little town of Dorringtom. This section was pretty much down hill for 2000ft and 20 miles so my average speed was 27MPH.  A got passed by a few riders on this section  but spent less time at the rest stop so found myself out front on my own for the slog back up to the Spicer Lake turnoff.

The climb back up to the Spicer Lake turnoff was a steady approx 6-7% grade for 18 miles and not too taxing but I was suffering a bit from congestion.  I was riding at a steady pace and enjoyed the scenery and the drying roads and stayed on my own. The descent down to Spicer was fun and also had quite a big climb. I started catching lots of Century riders on this section and got lots of cheery  good mornings from the people that I passed. There seemed to be a disproportionate number of ladies riding this event and they all seemed to be really happy.  I hung around for a while waiting to get my route card signed and had a few snacks then set off back up to Bear valley for the next checkpoint.  The rain finally seemed to have gone for the day and things were warming up so I pocketed the wind vest for the rest of the ride.

I enjoyed the climb out of Spicer and the fun descent too. My lungs seem to have cleared and I felt good enough to up my pace a little.  I forgot my Chamois Crème so I was a little saddle sore especially after my bibs getting a good drenching  and I was glad when the sun came out to dry me out. There was another checkpoint back at the start and another chance to stock up on shot blocks. I pretty much only ate shock blocks and half a banana for the whole event. They only had Cytomax at the rest stops  so after my two bottles of “Pperpetuem”  had expired I relied upon water for the day.

The next section was the climb over pacific grade and the final climb up Ebbets pass. I enjoyed the descent of Pacific Grade especially as I was still riding on my own. It was so much more pleasurable riding Ebbets on this event than during the “Death Ride” .  I caught and passed a few Metric century riders on the long climb up Ebbet’s (mainly ladies again) and got friendly responses to my greetings (people seem so much friendlier on Centuries rather than doubles). I forgot just how long the climb was and I started to suffer a bit with my breathing as I passed 7000ft and the last 2 miles of the pass were pretty hard.  When I got to the cattle guard at the summit of the climb I was a bit perplexed to find no-one there and started to carry on to look for the checkpoint. Good job I double checked the route map and found that this was a self marking checkpoint. After a little hunting around I found the little bag of stars.

The descent of Ebbets was a blast but I really didn’t push the speed at all. I was in a mellow mood and not racing for time so I enjoyed the scenery and waved at the riders that were still climbing.  The steepest climb was waiting for me on the return leg up and over Pacific Grade with it’s 24% gradients. I had plenty of energy in hand to handle the steep stuff although I was feeling a little tired by the time I crested  it. This section was pretty heavy with traffic and I got a little angry at the outrageously loud Harley’s that passed far to close at times. It was a great shame as the scenery was gorgeous.

After the summit of Pacific Grade I picked up my pace a lot on the rolling terrain as I was getting eager to get off the bike and give my ar$@ a rest.  The organizers had one final spur up to the bear Valley Ski area on the route and I really didn’t enjoy this bit. Things got very overcast and windy as I rode up this 2  mile 6-7% climb and then descended down on what was the only rough pavement of the day into a big empty parking lot. I rode around for a while trying to figure out where the checkpoint was. A Quick review of the route map revealed that it was another DIY  route stamp tied to a flag pole. This was becoming more like orienteering than a century J

The climb out of the Ski resort was into a nasty headwind bit it was followed by a superb fast descent to the finish. I was the first century rider home and I got there before they even started cooking the free lunch. I finished the ride in 6h28 minutes which I was happy with. The road conditions were superb and this is definitely an event I want to do on the trike next year.

Strava Ride Report

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