Climbfest, Heatfest, Sufferfest … all just to get to Crystal Lake

We all know about the climbfest (Baldy, Crystal Lake, Dawson Saddle come to mind), but I just heard a newly coined term, heatfest.  I guess this all comes under the category of sufferfest.  I might as well add my 20 year old, Diamond Back, which weighs about 25-30 pounds, with harder gears (53-39, 11-26) … and this is a recipe for pain.  Maybe we should call this painfest?

1002899_694615203886966_870337405_nKaren sent an invite for another epic ride, up Hwy 39, to Crystal Lake, with various options to go along with it.  Since I am carrying an older, heavier bike, I let it all be known I will be doing the minimum … Crystal Lake only.  Last time I tried, we did Baldy Village, then attempted the climb … only to succumb to heat.  But we also had a lot of climbing and miles in our legs … this time, figuring that we’re heading straight for Crystal Lake first, my chances of success may be greater.

IMG_36319211811943Everything was fine up to East Fork Rd.  After we all re-grouped (water re-fill, bathroom), that was probably the last time I was actually riding with the group.  This is where the combination of climbing distance, climbing elevation gain, and heat got the best of me.  This road was very open … by that, I mean there is no break for coverage at all.  What little trees there were was few and far between.

G0060704As I started getting higher in elevation, fatigue really set in.  Cadence was slowing down, but since I didn’t have my Garmin on my bike mount, I couldn’t tell how slow my cadence was, nor did I know how slow I was going.  Additionally, I had no idea how hot it was … but the heat was intense, so I had some idea it was bad.  Each time I saw a tree, I wanted to stop, but I didn’t want to concede, as I kept remembering my motto “I’m in it to finish it”.

G0040450Finally, I succumbed to the heat, and stopped under not one, but two trees.  It did feel good, with a little faint breeze.  This was just enough to help me recover, and continue on.  Each time, a part of me was all ready to turn around, but being in a group trumped that, and made me continue on.  Water was not an issue, and I wasn’t dehydrated … It was just the heatfest!

20130817_123035I got a pleasant surprise, seeing my old friend John, who I used to ride with all the time back in my old Foothill Cycle Club days.  Been a really long time.  Seeing him come up behind me after making the right turn towards Crystal Lake was enough to get me going all the way to the Crystal Lake Cafe.  I finally made it … and low and behold, I see my friend Ken sitting there having a Fritos Pie.  Mmmmm.

While chowing down there, I saw some other strong riders, who had gone up further on Hwy 39, to Mt. Islip, then made their way down. Now they were on their way to go to East Fork, then over to Camp Williams, then onto little GMR.  Me, I’m just going straight down Hwy 39.  It was hot enough as it is … then, when I went back to the cars, it was showing 103 F.  What???  Later, I heard it was 114 F at Camp Williams.  Just thinking of it makes me hot.

I was trying to get a video of my descent going down, but I spend too much battery taking still shots and some video earlier on.  What was left is the video below:

Stats?  I ended up with 51.1 miles, 6791 feet climbing … nice clip, eh?  http://www.strava.com/activities/75446129

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