The Death Ride advertises Mendocino Monster as a good tune up for the Death Ride, saying if you can do this, you are ready for the Death Ride. I’m still not sure if I will do the Death Ride, but my co-worker convinced me to do this ride with him.
He insisted on driving the course before hand, with the thought that he wanted to know what he was up against. I’ve done many rides, just signing up, and doing it, based on the description of the ride in the web site. Ok, I’ll go along for the ride.
So we arrived on Saturday, checked in the hotel, then went off and drove the course. We saw the climbs, and its funny … we can clearly see when the climbing starts, and we thought, this is where the pain starts. In reality, it wasn’t as bad as we thought from driving … I guess judging that takes a little more experience.
We stopped by one of the rest stops, and oh, boy … it’s a microbrewery … Anderson Valley. mmm …. beer
When we got to “the monster”, we saw what we were up against. The road was really choppy, and it turned out it was much rougher on the car than it was on the bike. But at least we knew the road conditions were full of bumps (but luckily not a whole lot of pot holes). We did see some patches of road that were just gravel sections of approximately 100 feet, so not too bad.
We got on the road a little before 6 am. We didn’t see anyone set up there, so we just decided to go. It turned out we were the first ones to arrive at the 1st rest stop, but that was fine. I know people would be passing us up along the route.
First climb up was Mountain Home. The climb wasn’t too bad … was about 5-7% for the most part, but not too bad. It was a bit like stair step climb, but it was a nice intro for the legs.
We descend down to Hwy 128, and we basically build up the miles along this stretch, with the ultimate goal of reaching Flynn Creek. In the meantime, we enjoy nice smooth paved road. The next rest stop is Anderson Valley Brew, which we visited yesterday. It was a good thing the brew was closed, so we weren’t tempted to go inside and have another one. I like the icon though … a bear with antlers sticking out of his head. Cool.
Ok, back onto Hwy 128. There were some really pretty stretches here, covered with Redwoods, and you just had to sit up and just take it in. Not all of this ride was suffering … a lot of it was nice scenery.
The next turn is Flynn Creek Road, and this takes you right into the forest. Flynn Creek is a nice gentle climb, nothing more than 5%, so it’s the calm before the storm. We stopped at Comptche School, before heading back to Ukiah along Comptche, which eventually turned into Orr Springs Road. The route slip actually tells you to continue on Orr Springs Road, but I never did see any street signs referring to that street, and even Google didn’t mention that, until the very end of the descent.
Anyhow, there was a series of rollies along this road, full of rough pavement. It was actually a bit rougher driving through this, then it was riding here on bike. On the bike, we were able to pick and choose our lines … however, there were some stretch that were full of patched holes, and it made for a bumpy spin.
At the next rest stop, they had a much better food layout. This was definitely the best, and there were hard boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, ham sandwiches … Oh I went to town on this!
I needed this, because the steep climb out of the forest is coming up. Yes, it was tough, but nothing I haven’t done before. The fact that this comes at mile 92, is kind of a sick joke, but it is what it is.
It’s interesting they had a water stop, half way up the final climb, on a day that was in the 70s. I think they just have that stop, because it can get into the 100s in past years, where water stop was a necessity, but not today.
At the summit, they have a popsicle stop, which felt good, even on a day in the 70s. However, the descent down wasn’t all downhill … there were a few more bumps, before heading back into town, and then back to the finish.
All in all, I loved this ride. It was fun, and scenic, and I highly recommend this for a nice weekend getaway. Gorgeous scenery, great cameraderie, and everyone was so nice and friendly.