2011 HC100 + Coe Everest Challenge / fundraiser, October 1st- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2011 HC100 + Coe Everest Challenge / fundraiser, October 1st

    As most of you know, Henry Coe park (together with many other state parks) is slated for 'closure' in 2012. Therefore we decided to up the ante a bit for this year's edition of the Hard COEre 100. Yes, the good news is this insanity is on again, and the better news is, we've added the 'Coe Everest Challenge': the stretch goal is now to climb a Mount Everest worth of elevation gain (~29k footies) in one ride, and the idea is to motivate people to support the Coe Park Preservation Fund (CPPF) and raise some funds to fight the closure. Note: even if closure would be averted, I am convinced the funds will be used very well - such as for maintaining and building new trails - Paul / Sorcerer can chime in but the great work that has happened under his leadership of the PRA speaks for itself.

    So far three usual suspects have signed up: Ratpick, Plymmer and yours truly. Our plan is to line up on Hunting Hollow Saturday October 1, 2011 at 6am, ride the 100 mile course (which is identical to last year), then try to regain consciousness, and throw in another loop with ~9k ft of climbing. I anticipate it will be a ~24 hour effort (if we manage to talk ourselves into carrying on).

    Please either
    (a) join us - for the 100 miler, part of it, or for the whole Everest enchilada.
    (b) support the cause and spend a few bucks to help keep Coe park open for all to enjoy - check the Coe Everest Challenge site for details
    (c) spread the word - we've made a.o. this facebook thingie

    As for (a): any strong rider that has done for instance the Tahoe Sierra 100, Leadville or a similar 'hundie' should be able to do the 100 mile course - just remember this ride is fully unsupported, so in addition to being in shape you'll need to be highly self sufficient, preferably somewhat organized, count on being several hours slower than normal due to the extra weight/stuff to be carried around, and have a good sense of navigation / GPS skills (or alternatively, stick around with one of us the entire time). There are clean water sources at mile ~35 (HQ) and mile ~75 (Dowdy Ranch), with a number of opportunities to filter water in between - check the HC100 site for route and other details. Also: you'll either need to bring lights, or be very fast.

    No Skyline35-patented spinning wheel to lure you in, but there will be (free) t-shirts for both the finishers of the 100 mile course as the Everest Challenge. It will show something like this:




    Some stokage:

    - XXC Magazine post
    - last years HC100 thread
    - Plymmer chasing Ratpick down Middle Ridge last year:



  2. #2
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    No one can ride 29k in Coe

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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    No one can ride 29k in Coe

    I can with an ingenious idea

    I lasso a bunch of those wild turkeys at the bottom of a climb. I attach the lassos to my bars and yell at the turkeys to fly towards the top. My weight should keep the bike on the ground and steering good. The turkey pull while they are flying should get me up there with way less effort.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    No one can ride 29k in Coe
    In the end it's only 5.5 miles... how hard can that be?

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    Unfortunately for me I'm unable to ride straight up

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    Unfortunately for me I'm unable to ride straight up
    Fortunately for you, it is all downhill.

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    The timing was unintentional, but the same day the Tarantula Fest takes place (at Coe Headquarters)...
    meaning one could refuel with steak and marinated chicken etc.

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    That's a lot of climbing, but Coe is calling and there are plenty of bail-out options, if it's too much (which it certainly is) I'll mark it down for now: Oct 1, 6am, HH, HC100 20k - forget the 29k for sure.
    Also known as Menso's dad.

  9. #9
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    Let me see if I can get a geared bike together, as well as get some miles in before 10/1.

    Someone needs to page JMS for this ride.

  10. #10
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    This is in 2012, right? I seem to have misplaced my "Billy Blanks: Get Fit in 23 Days" workout tape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Biking Brazilian View Post
    This is in 2012, right? I seem to have misplaced my "Billy Blanks: Get Fit in 23 Days" workout tape.
    They're closing the place in 2012, remember. Now is your chance - find that tape. I wouldn't recommend it, but eating Spanish beef also seems to help.

  12. #12
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    El Hombre your plan is audacious!

    You have my support.

    The way things are for me, I will not be able to try this with you. I have grave doubts about being able to complete the 100. 14k is the most I've ever done in Coe in a single go.

    This Saturday I'll be up at Coe HQ getting the tool trailer ready and doing some scouting for the coming trail work season. Trail maintenance and development in Coe remains my focus.

    It's a 2nd Saturday this weekend BTW, but I've decided to punt it forward due to the heat, fire danger, and some conflicting events.

  13. #13
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    Completely Nuts
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    Fortunately for you, it is all downhill.
    It's been downhill for me for at least 20 years


    Yea Patrick looks like he's got another 9 K in him, should be no problem!

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    I remember doing the final big climb at the end of the 100 mi last year, up Wagon Rd to the Phegley intersection, feeling quite exhausted. It's hard to imagine still having 45ish miles + 9K' to go at this point!

    It would be really cool to have some riders joining us for part of the course. There are bailout points - for example, on our first attempt at the 100, we bailed out and only did 80.

    If you've never experienced the joy of pushing your bike up Bear Mountain, this is your chance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    They're closing the place in 2012, remember. Now is your chance - find that tape. I wouldn't recommend it, but eating Spanish beef also seems to help.
    "Closing" will without a doubt be a very, very loose term when the time comes. That's when a Coe IRC channel will come in handy, disseminating ride information via cloak-and-dagger.

    If "Spanish beef" isn't an inside joke/reference, then I must go with Argentinian beef, the finest in the world, although Australian F1 is also up there. The latter keeps very well in a CamelBak, even after a 6-hour ride. Uncooked.

    Oh, and I've submitted security clearance paperwork to attend this ride. Unfortunately, I'm in excellent Saratoga Gap/St. Joseph's/Almaden Quicksilver/Skeggs shape, but not Coe shape, which is equivalent to one climb up Lyman Willson.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    It's been downhill for me for at least 20 years


    Yea Patrick looks like he's got another 9 K in him, should be no problem!
    Yup. I'm sure Ratpick will bring his army...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick View Post
    If you've never experienced the joy of pushing your bike up Bear Mountain, this is your chance!
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

    I should also point out that the climb up Everest starts at Base Camp at 17598', so you guys are overachieving.

    I'm pretty sure I couldn't do this ride with two nights of sleep included.

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    My army will get me through this.. somehow!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick View Post
    I remember doing the final big climb at the end of the 100 mi last year, up Wagon Rd to the Phegley intersection, feeling quite exhausted. It's hard to imagine still having 45ish miles + 9K' to go at this point!

    It would be really cool to have some riders joining us for part of the course. There are bailout points - for example, on our first attempt at the 100, we bailed out and only did 80.

    If you've never experienced the joy of pushing your bike up Bear Mountain, this is your chance!
    Yes, it would be great to have some more company - looks like JL and rensho may be up for it. Just in case you can't find enough shifty bits: I promise a unique shirt for SS finishers!

    Many bailout options indeed; skipping the Dowdy Ranch loop gets you to ~80 miles. Skipping the Bear Mountain and beyond part to ~50 or 60 miles (depending on the route back). Heck, you could cut it to 10 miles by just riding home after the Timm descent .

  21. #21
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    Wait, what did I sign up for? This was a 21+ hour ride last year. I agree with Big Larry on this. 12 hours is more than enough. After Mississippi Lake I'll take the shortest route back to HH or maybe even before going up Bear Mountain, depending on how hot it is.
    Also known as Menso's dad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Biking Brazilian View Post
    If "Spanish beef" isn't an inside joke/reference, then I must go with Argentinian beef, the finest in the world, although Australian F1 is also up there. The latter keeps very well in a CamelBak, even after a 6-hour ride. Uncooked.
    I'm pretty sure El Hombre's "Spanish beef" is in reference to 3-time TdF winner Alberto Contador's claim that his positive drug test at the 2010 Tour was because of contaminated meat he'd eaten that was obtained from Spain.

    For you guys that like really fresh beef these guys occasionally visit the park:
    Photobucket
    Content here does not officially represent the CA DPR.

    Windows 10, destroying humanity one upgrade at a time.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JL de Jong View Post
    I agree with Big Larry on this. 12 hours is more than enough.
    Reads like both Big Larry and JL are shootin' to finish the course with sub 12 hour times. Way to put the hammer down! There should be a T-Shirt for that too!



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    Quote Originally Posted by knobs View Post
    Reads like both Big Larry and JL are shootin' to finish the course with sub 12 hour times. Way to put the hammer down! There should be a T-Shirt for that too!
    I agree - but I will hold off the printing press for a while .

    Btw, we really would like to finish the 100 miler faster; last time we had ~15.5 hours of riding time, and close to 6 hours of stopped time (!). I hope JL or others can deter us from slacking too much and whip us forward!

    Mississippi Lake is certainly a good bailout spot: it's about 5 miles (mostly downhill or gradual) to Pacheco Camp, and from there you can take a beeline home in an hour and a half or so. But if it's not too hot and you still have energy left, why not try to complete the 100... what does the Leadville guy say, you can do more than you think you can?

    I'm much less bullish on being able to complete the full Everest challenge though (the Leadville guy can say whatever he wants)...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    I'm much less bullish on being able to complete the full Everest challenge though (the Leadville guy can say whatever he wants)...
    No one can ride 29k in Coe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Eddy View Post
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results..
    So don’t have kids - nuff said.

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    I may join JL and bail out with him (he will carry me of course). It takes me 1.5 hrs to drive to Coe, so 6am start means I need to leave home around 4:30 am. Keep that in mind crazies.

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    What is the actual riding time frame for this? I don't mind riding 100 miles, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to be out 20+ hours. Just wondering, never been there and would like to check it out.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Allan View Post
    What is the actual riding time frame for this? I don't mind riding 100 miles, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to be out 20+ hours. Just wondering, never been there and would like to check it out.
    Someone with your resume could probably do it in 12-13 hours, at least if you don't get lost or take wrong turns; as a rule of thumb I'd say take the time on a 'hard' 100 mile race you've done (High Cascades, '11 Tahoe-Sierra, Breck 100 or E100 etc) and add 2-3 hours to account for it being unsupported (extra weight, time required to refill or filter water, deal with mechanicals etc).

    The GPS track and more details are here - you're more than welcome to tag along with one of us as a guide, but we'll be most likely slower than you're used to. And I'm going to try to avoid the red zone, since I'm still aiming for the 29k-er, in order to prove TahoeBC wrong, once and for all!

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    GPS track

    Note: this link contains the entire 100 mile route as a high resolution gpx file, as recorded last year by my Garmin Edge 705
    (could't attach it to the post, as it exceeded the max size).

    The Google Maps rendering you see on the site is low resolution, as there is limited number of points that can be displayed on a Google Map. However, you can use this gpx file and load it into Topofusion (basic version is free), Google Earth, Garmin Mapsource or similar software if you want to look at the details of the route. If you want to complete the 100 mile course I recommend studying the route and bringing a GPS unit with the route loaded, unless you're highly familiar with Coe.

    On the other hand, it's not that hard to bail out or take a shortcut back to Hunting Hollow when needed, using the park map. The trickiest place to navigate out of is probably Coe's 'Bermuda triangle' area, near the bottom of Dutch's trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    Someone with your resume could probably do it in 12-13 hours, at least if you don't get lost or take wrong turns; as a rule of thumb I'd say take the time on a 'hard' 100 mile race you've done (High Cascades, '11 Tahoe-Sierra, Breck 100 or E100 etc) and add 2-3 hours to account for it being unsupported (extra weight, time required to refill or filter water, deal with mechanicals etc).

    The GPS track and more details are here - you're more than welcome to tag along with one of us as a guide, but we'll be most likely slower than you're used to. And I'm going to try to avoid the red zone, since I'm still aiming for the 29k-er, in order to prove TahoeBC wrong, once and for all!
    Thanks for the info, I would like to join you. I need some hand surgery next month so it's mostly I don't want to hold on to the handlebars for 20 hours, the company and adventure would be the only reason I would come.

    I may be spending a week in Boise that week though, I'll keep checking on the thread.

  32. #32
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    Poff: starting at 8am and skipping the Lyman Wilson/Bowl/Steer Ridge/Spike Jones/Timm doesn't sound bad to me either. We can take the road to Anza trail and follow the rest of the loop to catch the others around China Hole or maybe at HQ. We can make this a nice 50mile/10k Coe challenge. I'll still donate $100 to the Coe preservation fund.
    Also known as Menso's dad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    since I'm still aiming for the 29k-er, in order to prove TahoeBC wrong, once and for all!
    You might be riding a 29er but you will not be riding 29K, because No one can ride 29k in Coe

  34. #34
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    Have fun storming the castle

    Quote Originally Posted by rensho View Post
    Someone needs to page JMS for this ride.
    WTF! Why am I the first ones everyone thinks of for one of these ridiculous death marches?

    Thanks for the invite (I think), I'm elsewhere racing the weekend before this Coe gig @ the Fat 55 [55 miles/10k] in Oakridge, OR and I probably [blessedly] can't make this one.

    Have fun storming the castle.
    My Favorite Peeps:

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    Rehearsal

    Today we had a bit of an impromptu rehearsal; some photos, to whet the appetite for the big one...


    Look who shows up at Kelly Lake




    This is (one of the many things) what Coe is all about: endless descents! For the sceptics: I'm pretty sure I can descend 29k feet in a day...




    Center Flats ridden in the proper way; this photo should be compared to the one in this post




    Ratpick cruising down Scherrer - both are in great shape.




    Plymmer on Scherrer, with the trademark Coe expansive views in the background.




    The infamous thistle fields on Tie Down trail have dried (and died) out a bit, and the trail is now a little easier to climb and navigate.


    Plymmer cresting Tie Down trail.



    I peeled off after Tie Down to start my accelerated taper program, as the others carried on into the far depths of Coe...

    Great day, guys!

    More photos here.
    Last edited by ElHombre; 09-17-2011 at 10:33 PM.

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    minor route modification

    A minor modification has been made to this year's course: Phoneline trail (a fun half mile singletrack descent) will be included, and bypasses an uninspiring section of fireroad.

    New GPX file.
    Other file formats (including .tcx) can be found here.




    This increase in singletrack is brought to you by the tireless efforts of Skyline35 and lokoyokel who cleaned up large sections of the trail this year (the former getting a bit more credit as he cleaned out the poison oak at the bottom).

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    We've still got a few months to train for this, right?

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    That's gonna add to your vert total

    No one can ride 29,200 in Coe

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick View Post
    We've still got a few months to train for this, right?
    No. Are you afraid the extra climb to Phoneline will become your 'wafer-thin mint'?

    (google 'mr creosote' in case you don't get the ref)

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    No. Are you afraid the extra climb to Phoneline will become your 'wafer-thin mint'?

    (google 'mr creosote' in case you don't get the ref)
    Yes, but I'm not permitting myself to worry about that, but rather worry about the 9K post-100.

    Bon appetit!

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    updates

    We did some recon and training rides recently and I've posted some updates on trail and other conditions.
    I'm crossing my fingers it won't get all too hot next Saturday.

    Meanwhile, Ratpick and Plymmer took their training efforts in adventure riding to a new level but I will let them chime in themselves...


    Don't run over our little friends here.




    Skyline35 riding the new bypass above the pond with the washout on Bowl trail.




    Mississippi Lake, one of our potential swimming holes if it would get too hot.


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    The Ride of Twos

    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    Meanwhile, Ratpick and Plymmer took their training efforts in adventure riding to a new level but I will let them chime in themselves...
    Indeed we did.. quite an adventure that needs retelling from the very beginning and in great detail

    A week before the big ride and I'm two weeks into my new job and not finding any time at all for mid-week rides. I'm starting to get concerned about losing fitness so decide that I must do something big on Saturday. I contemplated staying local and doing the Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Skeggs Everything near Woodside | Times and Records | Strava ride which has plenty of steeps and endurance to keep me in shape. Then Plymmer asks where we are riding in Coe on Saturday and I'm there!

    It had to be big and since we had already done many of the fun trails in Coe , it occurred to me that it might be fun to do some of them in reverse. Every time we had passed it, Plymmer had looked up at 'C' Trail and warned, "You don't want to climb that - it's evil" (paraphasing here) - anything that gets that sort of reaction from Plymmer has to be worth checking out so I figured a route descending it would be a good start.

    The day was about fitness and climbing so it had to begin with a good first climb. I suggested a route and Plymmer was enthusiastic, so we had a plan. ElHombre couldn't make the whole day but planned to start with us and bail out.

    And so, 8am at Hunting Hollow, Plymmer and I roll out. Lots of activity as we left with many making plans to ride and some PRA folks planning some camping at Pacheco Camp. It's cool (below 60°) but I make do with just arm warmers knowing it will warm up quickly as we climb and leave the valley. I'll regret this later!

    ElHombre had texted me to say he would be late but would catch up with us. He and I have a contest going accumulating Coe KOMs on Strava and it bugged me that he might take my prized Anza-Jacksom KOM from me while chasing us down. So at the bottom of Anza, I took the lead and told Plymmer I was going to push it and took off. I was hoping for the elusive PR with a full clean - these two seem to be mutually exclusive on this trail. I was doing very well, but didn't slow enough to be ready for the Jackson Wall and was unable to recover after losing rear traction. A dab that lost me 20 secs or so since restarting on the wall isn't easy. Oh well - I still hoped for a new PR and pushed hard to the top. Collapsing in the grass, I checked my Garmin and was disappointed to see that I had failed to break 30 mins (PR is just under 29). I think I ate too much the previous two days and was carrying too much weight. Oh well! I lay in the grass, recovering, enjoying the warm air, cloudy sky and cool breeze.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    Plymmer should have been just 5 mins behind me but when he arrived a bit later, he was pushing his bike. This had to be bad! Near the top a stick had got into his rear derailleur and broken the hanger. Annoying, but not a difficult fix. In 15 mins, we had the hanger replaced and were on our way.

    But wait! The new hanger aligned Plymmer's derailler slightly differently (correctly?) so it wasn't shifting properly and was skipping. We stopped on Elderberry and did some impromptu tuning. The stick had bent one of teeth on the RD pulley which caused much of the problem; we bent it back, and adjusted the RD and were off again.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    Plymmer was beginning to have worries - even though we had got his bike operational, was it really in condition to go deep into Coe where it's a 10-hour walk out if something goes wrong? I felt it was in pretty good shape, and we were both eager to ride, so bravado overcame caution and on we went.

    We rode the usual, fun route over to Cross Canyon. On the descents, I was playing with my fork, trying to find the magic configuration that lets me fly down descents like I used to when it was new. I love all the adjustment on the fork but sometimes I wonder if it would be better to have the technology take care of those details (as in the Specialized fork) and just ride!

    Both Plymmer and I dabbed on the Cross Canyon climb out of Coit Spring - unusual since this little wall is in good climbing shape right now. I was disappointed but not too concerned but it was getting to the Angry Climbing Man!

    A truck parked across the trail at the Coit Rd intersection gave us hope that someone was down the trail with a chainsaw removing the fallen tree. Alas, when we got there, taking it easy on the descent just in case, the tree was untouched. Oh well, there will be many more once the first storms hit closing down this trail for winter.

    At the bottom of Cross Canyon, I switch to the granny ring and bang! Chain suck. This has been plaguing me - the chain wedges between the granny and middle rings and I have to undo the chain ring bolts to free it. Fortunately, I can do this in about 2 mins now. These rings are going to the trash as soon as the Everest Challenge is done!

    Bumping along the bottom of Cross Canyon, we come to the first steep, loose climb. I had let a bit of air out of my rear tire as I thought it wasn't gripping well on Jackson and was eager to see how it fared here. I was able to clean it with minimal slippage - very pleasing. Plymmer dabbed in the loose but decided that it was too late in the ride to not yet have a clean, so went back down and successfully focused his determination into a solid clean.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    We just needed that one to get us on our way!

    We eventually got to the Cross Canyon Wall. I wanted to give it a good effort as I felt the lower half was very climbable, even if the upper half above the tree was a mess. I dabbed on my first attempt so went back and managed to climb to the tree - that felt good. We talked again about how the upper half might be made rideable with a bit of trailwork. Perhaps I'll adopt this wall just to make it possible to clean again and get my name on the honor list one day!

    Further up Cross Canyon, ElHombre comes flying down having taken an intercept route to find us. I can't help being competitive and my first thought is "phew - my Anza-Jackson KOM is safe for another day"

    So, the Hard COEre trio is once again reunited and we continue up Cross Canyon, then up Willow Ridge. Once again, on Willow Ridge Rd I get chain-suck but am able to free the chain without loosening the ring bolts. Two. We cross Hoover Airstrip then bomb down Rose Dam trail to Pacheco Creek Trail.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    I'm having fun riding with these guys (if only our bestest friend Skyline35 was there too! ) as we ride along Pacheco Creek Trail at a good pace. Actually, it turned out to be a new KOM pace with ElHombre & I getting the exact same new KOM time. Heh

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    At the top, we take ElHombre on the "Mississippi Queen" detour, with its fantastic overlook of part of the lake, then descend to the lake and the picnic table to the north. We rest here and eat for a while, wishing it was warm enough for a swim. Plymmer and I have swim plans for Paradise Lake later in the day while ElHombre has to leave us at this point to get back early. We linger, filtering water and enjoying the cool air around the lake.

    We all continue around the lake and say our farewell to ElHombre as we split off up the Bear Springs Trail and ElHombre checks out the lake circuit trail that we will be riding next week.

    Bear Springs is by far the nicest way to get to Bear Mountain. It's a fun trail with some good short steep sections and some great views. Having looked at a map at the lake, I had noticed that Bear Mountain Peak is just 1 foot shorter than Bear Mountain so I kept my eye out for it on the way up

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    Over the gate (my first time in this direction) and down the road to the trailhead. In this direction, the views are so impressive. This part of the park is so beautiful. Looking back, I see a great view of Bear Mountain, usually not so easy to spot.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    The trailhead took some finding but once we did and began the descent, I was grinning ear-to-ear. The trail rides along the top of a ridge before dropping down to the valley. The ridge riding was so much fun.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    It was really the incredible view in all directions that made the trail amazing

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    Things start to go wrong as we had to cross a stack of branches to continue down the trail which was littered with dead brush. It stuck me that these branches looked like that were deliberately placed but it was so obviously a graded trail that we didn't think much of it.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    Sure enough, it soon became obvious that this wasn't the trail and consulting my Garmin I saw that it had made a right turn. No way were were going back, so we pushed our bikes through the chaparral until we found the trail and continued our descent. Now we have to do it again, properly

    The plus side of our off-trail excursion was finding the first of two mylar balloons, adding to the theme of two for the ride.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    At the bottom, we stopped at the iconic "Trail" sign (no name, just "Trail") and looked back up. We could clearly see the part of the trail we had missed.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    Plymmer and I often seem find ourselves pushing our bikes through scrub in search of a trail - it's part of the true Coe experience!

    But all the pushing had taken its toll and both of us were hesitant to add a (probably) grueling climb up the 'R' trail when there was an easy ride down the road as an alternative. We couldn't decide so we found a flat rock with red pigment on one side that seemed to land somewhat randomly and let fate decide. It came up white which sealed the deal - up we would go!

    There's a unique feeling of excitement and trepidation that precedes a big, unknown climb. We had descended this trail a couple of times in the past few months, but that didn't give us a good feel for the grade. We knew it wouldn't be technical, at least.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    And so we started up both, I think, secretly wishing the red side had fallen up! The climb begins immediately at around 20% but soon hits a long wall of somewhere around 27-30% - my GPS track shows an average 29% for 320 feet! We put in a good effort but the hill wins and we have to push the final few feet. Plymmer & I will accept - well, usually - a dab for technical reasons but dabbing just because of grade is unacceptable and we resolved to double our efforts to clean the rest of this climb.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    And so we remount and push on. I slow my pace right down to barely moving to give my legs, heart and lungs time to recover between the steeper sections. The trail throws wall after wall at us, but none top 24%.

    Eventually, we reach the top, feeling good at cleaning the remainder. We both know a full clean is doable which, of course, calls for a repeat visit some day! My GPS track shows an average grade of only 11.6% over 0.7 mi but with 7 walls of >20%.

    A ride across the ridge follows, then a descent down to the creek. On the way down, I somehow hit a loose rock at a bad angle and jack-knife my front wheel sending me air-bound. Only minor scrapes and no bike damage result, and me wondering how I never saw the rock!

    I was interested to see how the long (5 mile) trek alongside the creek would feel in this direction. The other way, it is a drag, being slightly uphill (1-2%) and with no well defined trail most of the time. At first, we thought it was much better in the "reverse" direction but we quickly banished those thoughts as we lost the trail a few times and ended up scrambling over fallen trees and through the creek bed to find a more passable route. When moving, however, it definitely was easier with the slight downhill grade and it seemed to pass fairly quickly.

    The curse of the twos came into play and Plymmer's front wheel dropped into a huge pothole sending him flying over the bars. Again no damage other than the usual scrapes. With the "twos" theme for this ride firmly established, we should have been ready for this!

    At the end of the trail, I realize that I haven't eaten in a while and needed to do so. So we stop under the shade of a tree, in ground soft and dug up by boars, and rest and eat. Feeling better, we take off up a fun trail. Playmmer would normally lead this trail but I've done it a couple of times the other direction so feel confident to take the lead.

    Not half a mile into the trail, I hear a huge "snap" behind me, look back and see Plymmer looking at his rear derailleur and his chain hanging loose. Groans of "oh, that's bad" and I head back to check it out. Turns out the derailleur has twisted on the new hanger and snapped. We invert Plymmer's bike and begin working on it, expecting it to be a 10 minute fix as last time (I carry a spare hanger as well).

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    But it was not to be a quick fix. The hanger had twisted around and wedged itself off-center on one of the limit screw housings making it impossible to undo a bolt to remove it. We tried various things to loosen it but it wouldn't budge. Realizing this was going to be a major fix, we broke the chain and removed the shifter cable and took the derailleur off the bike. We couldn't find a way to get enough leverage to free it - we would have killed for a pair of pliers or a vice!

    As we began to face the prospect of a very, very long walk out - checking the map, I judged it to be a 25 mile walk - we searched for alternatives. My TopPeak Alien tool comes with a small utility knife so Plymmer tried an approach which had worked once in the past - cutting the hanger so it would lie flat and release the bolt. The blade in the knife is small but it was able to cut into the soft metal of the hanger. But very, very slowly.

    Plymmer alternately sawed, thought that there had to be a faster way and tried levering the hanger to a better position, then back to sawing. Eventually, we realized that cutting it was our only hope to avoid a night of walking.

    Plymmer did 90% of the cutting work while I tried to hold the derailler steady with the cage extended against the spring; I'm not sure what was harder - the sawing or holding the derailleur: those springs are strong!

    After a bit over 2 hours, we had cut it down far enough that Plymmer was able to bend it at the cut and eventually snap it off. Stiff at first, we managed to free up the derailleur bolt and remove the hanger. It took 2 hours but, assuming we could now ride out, saved us many more.

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    There were still some obstacles to overcome - getting the now-frayed shift cable back into the small holes on the derailleur seemed impossible. We tried a few things, eventually using the gum from tape to hold the end together and Plymmer's steady hand to thread it through. I did a bit of fine-tuning but couldn't get the gears to properly line up without releasing the shift cable again and neither of us wanted to do that. So we got it so Plymmer had working 2-5 cogs, which should be more than enough to get us back.

    Darkness was descending upon us by now and we refitted the derailler under MagicShine illumination. Everything seemed to be going well - Plymmer's bike behaving and the air still warm in the full darkness. We decided to stop at the Corral, lie down and soak in the stars - mandatory when away from city lights!

    On the road, we saw a tarantula out for a stroll - so docile compared the ones you see in other parts of the year; it just stopped and let me take photos without rearing up. We saw another further down the road, completing the theme of twos!

    From Henry Coe (Curse of Two - Sep 2011


    Along the road, Plymmer started to get ghost shifting. The derailleur seemed in perfect alignment so it was hard to know what was causing it. Eventually, it became obvious that the damaged tooth on his pulley was causing the trouble. I was able to bend it straight. I also lubed the derailleur (it was a bit stiff, especially on the hanger bolt) and Plymmer added some lube to his dry chain and it seemed to behave for the rest of the ride. Plymmer was cautious and avoided changing gears at all in the rear, avoiding further damage to the pulley.

    We resolved to take the least technical way back - that meant Coit Rd all the way. Normally that wouldn't be exciting but I had never ridden Coit Rd from end-to-end so perhaps there was something new to add a silver lining!

    The temperature was quickly dropping as we alternately climbed and descended Coit Rd. My thermometer was showing 60° as we started and it dropped well below that by the end. We were both out of water so stopped at Pacheco Camp to refill. The PRA group was well setup there, but all asleep so we tried to make our stay quiet. We refilled water, too tired at this point to bother with filtering. Three taps on the thermometer and the temp was around 57°.

    We passed two skunks - one right on the road just running ahead of us, as they annoyingly like to do. Fortunately, we were climbing so it wasn't holding us back. Eventually, it did dive off the trail. Of course, we saw another not long after this - curse of the twos!

    Just before we descended down to Kelly Lake, my Garmin gave its final low battery warning and died. Being a data geek, it distressed me but we checked Plymmer's GPS and it was still recording so nothing was lost. I should have switched it off during the 3 hour wrenching session but I didn't realize, of course, that we would be there so long!

    Fog began to roll in and the temperature dropped considerably. I didn't look at my thermometer but it was easily down to 50° for much of the way. Not expecting to be this late, I had not taken a jacket and had just my arm warmers as an extra "layer'. Fortunately, Coit's climbs kept me warm more than the descents chilled me - at least until the final descent.

    I think Plymmer and I were in two different moods at this point: Plymmer tallying up all the bike parts he was going to have to replace and the prospect of riding a completely new drivetrain for its first outing on the Everest Challenge. The whole ride back I was in awe that we were able to fix what seemed to be an unsolvable mechanical problem and ride out, albeit gingerly. Sure, our ride ended up 16:30 hours, nearly meeting the 21:30 hours the 100 mile route took last year, but it could have been so much worse.

    My phone pinged at the intersection of Coit & Wasno and it occurred to me that others may be worrying about us so I stopped to check and let my wife and others know that we were ok.

    By this point, my MagicShine, still on the original battery, was "red" meaning less than 25% power left. I had been running it mostly in low power and we had been under lights for only about 3.5 hours so I was concerned that this battery may not go the distance next week. I have a bigger one as well, so I'm hoping it will be ok with some conservation.

    The final descent of Coit from the Mahoney Meadows Rd intersection was long and very cold, giving me the chills. My left hand had started to have pins and needles (more a nerve problem than cold, I think - first time, perhaps related to all the sawing action earlier - at least, I hope so).

    It felt great to roll up to the Coyote Gate and be almost done. Weirdly, and it was just after midnight at this point, there was a group setup there with a canopy draped in party lights, a generator and bottles of (what looked like) gatorade. A bunch of mostly friendly young people were hanging around and some cars were setup across the road, facing down the road like some kind of roadblock, or the start of a drag race.

    I had no idea what to make of this and still don't! We should have asked because our curiosity was burning the rest of the night!

    Back at the cars, 62 miles and just over 10K' done. I was feeling exhilarated, but knowing that the tiredness I'd been fighting off would soon descend. Plymmer and I were pretty sure our usual post-ride tacqueria would be closed so we opted for the ordinary, but available, Denny's. Here, "two" had its final say as we both, quite independently, ordered *exactly* the same thing.

    On the drive home, the usual tricks to stay awake just weren't working so I pulled over into a hotel parking lot and had a 15 minute snooze. That helped.

    As Plymmer said, this will be one to talk about around the campfire for many, many years!
    Last edited by ratpick; 09-28-2011 at 11:15 AM.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick
    You sawed through a derailleur hanger with a pocket knife???!!!??? Unbelievable. This ride is for the ages.

    ElHombre - good to see you yesterday! Below is a snap shot of you I took while we were riding, hope you like it.

    ///Charlie


    Long live long rides

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    You sawed through a derailleur hanger with a pocket knife???!!!??? Unbelievable. This ride is for the ages.
    Yeah.. I still can't believe we were able to do that.. I say "we" but Plymmer did all the hard work while I took on the important job of keeping the swarm of flies off my face

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    ElHombre - good to see you yesterday! Below is a snap shot of you I took while we were riding, hope you like it.

    ///Charlie


    I see ElHombre likes to take the smell of tarweed home.. I love it when it smells out my garage after a Coe ride!

  45. #45
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    That's exactly why I carry a small acytylene cutting torch with me on my rides, get's you going much quicker!

    Road some dirt today and my shoulder didn't complain to much, so I'm a maybe for intercepting you guys along the way to heckle you next week.

    Good luck and know your limits, don't kill yourself trying to get to the top of Everest!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    That's exactly why I carry a small acytylene cutting torch with me on my rides, get's you going much quicker!

    Road some dirt today and my shoulder didn't complain to much, so I'm a maybe for intercepting you guys along the way to heckle you next week.

    Good luck and know your limits, don't kill yourself trying to get to the top of Everest!
    Afraid you'll feel guilty for 'encouraging' us ? But no worries, we'll watch out for summit fever - I don't think we'll hesitate to pull the plug if needed (we did so last year as well, the first time). Good luck with the recovery, sounds like everything is growing back together nicely.

    Thanks for the photo Charlie; I do like me some aromatic tarweed indeed, though the buckle thingie on my shoes doesn't seem to share that sentiment.

    Plymmer should consider himself fortunate that it wasn't one of his fingers that got stuck in the derailer, or he'd have to pull an Aaron Ralston...

  47. #47
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    I love long rides, and would love to do this, but fortunately I have to wash my hair that day. You guys are cRaZy...

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    Plus3 Henry Coe Challenge

    The good folks at Plus3 have set up a 'companion' challenge, which I have been told is a bit more reasonable:

    Ride and log 140 miles by mountain bike on Plus3 before October 31st, and you'll be in a drawing to win some nice schwag:
    Plus 3 Henry Coe Challenge – 140 Miles « Plus 3 Network

    Thanks Plus3!

  49. #49
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    What an adventure "ride of twos". A good reminder for me not to go deep into the Coe wilderness alone, since I would be walking the long way back with such trouble.

    I'm going to do the 8:30am ride on Saturday. I've been working too hard this year: not a single trip to Henry Coe yet, except for the back country camping weekend with Dan and Shiloh.
    Also known as Menso's dad.

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    OMG two days to go! Makes me want to write an open letter to someone...

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    I think the key to completing the 29K will be a good solid Dump in the morning.

    So will you guys be on the let's ride at a pretty good pace and knock it out quick or the slow and steady? Debating on joining for the first part of the ride, but I'm not up for a hammerfest. If the pace is gonna be fairly quick, I might try to intercept later in the morning.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    I think the key to completing the 29K will be a good solid Dump in the morning.

    So will you guys be on the let's ride at a pretty good pace and knock it out quick or the slow and steady? Debating on joining for the first part of the ride, but I'm not up for a hammerfest. If the pace is gonna be fairly quick, I might try to intercept later in the morning.
    Slow and steady, unless ratpick wants to go after the Lyman-Willson KOM and needs reeling in . Seriously, we'll start out slow and with loaded bikes; even with only half a shoulder functioning properly you'll have no problem.
    And I remember indeed last year the fine facilities at Coe came to our rescue when we needed to shed some excess weight...

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    Slow and steady, unless ratpick wants to go after the Lyman-Willson KOM and needs reeling in . Seriously, we'll start out slow and with loaded bikes; even with only half a shoulder functioning properly you'll have no problem.
    And I remember indeed last year the fine facilities at Coe came to our rescue when we needed to shed some excess weight...
    Ha! Ain't happening.. at least, not tomorrow! Anyway, impossible to set a new KOM when you're right there with me

    The goal is to keep up a consistent pace, not a fast one. Most of our time improvement over last year should come from reducing the frequency and length of rest stops to just 3-4 mins (enough to grab a bite to eat and hopefully update twitter/MTBR/FB).

  54. #54
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    Alright, if I can motivate and get a ok nights sleep, I'll try to join in the AM. Otherwise I'll probably join the 8:30 ride, then maybe head out to try and intercept some where.

    If I do join you for the 6:00 AM departure, I'll be there and on time, so don't wait around for me.

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    Best of luck to you guys! Your planned route is beyond my ability to comprehend. I'd love to be out there with you (honest), but I'll just have to do 16 hill repeats on Sierra Road instead.

    If you really have internet access out there, can you run a tracker app so that we can watch your progress in real-time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ukbloke View Post
    Best of luck to you guys! Your planned route is beyond my ability to comprehend. I'd love to be out there with you (honest), but I'll just have to do 16 hill repeats on Sierra Road instead.

    If you really have internet access out there, can you run a tracker app so that we can watch your progress in real-time?
    It's beyond my ability to comprehend too, so I try not to think about it! Just turn up at 6am and ride until it's done is the plan.

    My phone updates Google Latitude which I'd be happy to share. The problem out there is that cell access is sporadic (tops of peaks, mostly). On my last ride this was all I got:



    Really need one of those SPOT transmitters.

  57. #57
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    Good luck.

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    Good job!

    Good luck, guys. No luck needed!

    ///Charlie
    Long live long rides

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    Here we go! Looking forward to seeing everyone out there!
    Last edited by ratpick; 10-02-2011 at 09:55 AM.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    I think the key to completing the 29K will be a good solid Dump in the morning.
    This ride should scare it out of 'em.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  61. #61
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    You guys are awesome. Have fun!

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    At Mahoney Meadows, after China Hole. 31 miles, 7300'. 4:42 riding time, 1:05 stopped. A few guys have gone off the front, TahoeBC, ElHombre, Plymmer, me hanging together!


    ---
    I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.174199,-121.516310
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    Crew back together at HQ. Rewatering, BBQ, then off. 33 mi, 7800', 5 hrs riding, 1:20 hrs rest. Some minor injuries threatening a successful finish, but soldiering on!


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    I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.186677,-121.546953

  64. #64
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    Hq, hotdogs!

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    Bear Mountain "conquered"! TahoeBC left us at Poverty Flat and two young'uns are off the front so we are down to the HardCOEre trio! 49 mi, 10730', 7:50 riding hrs, 2:26 hrs rest (long lunch). Only somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 done


    ---
    I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.231531,-121.436512

  66. #66
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    Well I ended up riding the first 41 miles and 9K with the Everest crew they were looking strong headed to Bear mountain, ended riding 52 miles and 10728 of vert.

    If your checking in guys, had a nice swim, ate some Cornish hens and about to settle in for a movie with another beer, enjoy your ride though the night you animals!

    More info here
    Big Coe ride with the Everest Crew - MTBGuru: mashing up GPS data, photos and maps to share mountain biking, road bike, hiking and other outdoor experiences
    Last edited by TahoeBC; 10-03-2011 at 08:51 AM.

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    Great to get the live updates. You guys are incredible. I did a mere 26mile 5500 feet ride in Coe today to support you in spirit and absolutely can't comprehend riding twice or even four times as much. Cramps were just about to start on the short climb at the end of Grizzly Gulch.

    My Strava details:

    Also known as Menso's dad.

  68. #68
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    diskus, locoyokel, and I got to Pacheco Camp too early, about 3pm I think, and we waited until 6pm, didn't see any of the riders.

    We left a little message on the sink.



    ///Charlie
    Long live long rides

  69. #69
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    I propose the excellent lunch delayed them :}

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    Center flats taking its toll...
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    The trio is at Coit & Wasno, 87 miles done, 18000', in 14:10 riding+6:41 resting. Very tired - younguns bailed out. Will complete 100 and decide on full 29030' later


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    I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.126734,-121.448811

  72. #72
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    Top of Coit... Only three of us left.. Youngsters ran out of battery juice.. They'll be back some time though. Thanks for the motivating 'message' in Pacheco Camp! (but was hoping for a beer filled cooler or something)

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    Vasquez makes a grown man fall asleep
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    Btw, the three of us are done (since about 6am), with the 100...
    The Everest Challenge turned out a bit too challenging for us on this eventful day, unless ratpick changed his mind and is still soldiering on, instead of taking a nap then drive home. More later...

  75. #75
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    You guys are absolutely nuts and I love that about you!!! What a figgin' accomplishment. The 29k seemed hard but noon of us wanted to cast doubt since you guys seem to be super human anyway. Get some rest and give us the details! Excellent work and amazing day. I was looking forward to the updates and wondering where you guys were even while I mowed the lawn.
    They never made the "Slowster"

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    Btw, the three of us are done (since about 6am), with the 100...
    The Everest Challenge turned out a bit too challenging for us on this eventful day, unless ratpick changed his mind and is still soldiering on, instead of taking a nap then drive home. More later...
    No, ratpick slept for 2 hours in the car in Hunting Hollow in an effort to try and get home safely. Even then, it was a fight the whole way. I physically felt good enough to keep going but so, so tired. ElHombre's photo isn't staged - I lay down and slept for 5 mins at every regroup.

    Much more later, but pleased we once again completed 100 miles/20000' of Coe, even if it was much harder this time. The Everest Challenge remains unbeaten.... for now!

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    Glad you made it back safe. 100 miles and 20k in 24 hours in Coe is quite a feat!
    Also known as Menso's dad.

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    I guess the custom coffee cups I offered to make you for completing the 29K was just not enough incentive

    Amazing effort none the less, my tank was empty doing half your ride

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    I just don't seem to be able to sleep enough to wake up today! Here's my track. My Garmin clicked over to exactly 100 miles as we rolled in to Hunting Hollow making this the perfect course!



    Much more detail to write up when my brain starts functioning again!

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    Thwarted

    Well, that was the hardest thing I've done. I'm glad I was coerced to go on. I was that close to bailing after Center Flats Road. That beat the crap out of me. It was cold in the parking lot and my legs were sore. Mainly my knees and the sharp daggers of pain that made it tough to think about going on. Sadly, we didn't and as we passed the Jim Donnelly Trail near HH Parking lot, I couldn't help thinking of that trail head as the Gateway To Everest. Not to be. And, you're right Jeff. That coffee cup was just not enough to get us to ride another 10K after we did 2. Disappointed.

    Roy.

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    Savage effort! Nice work, guys!

  82. #82
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    I really wanted that coffee cup.. hopefully the offer will stand good next year

    Photos. Recap in a few days

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    Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011

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    Its Not About Cleaning, Its About Surviving

    Stats:

    Bike Ride Profile | 96 miles near Gilroy | Times and Records | Strava

    MTBGuru: mashing up GPS data, photos and maps to share mountain biking, road bike, hiking and other outdoor experiences

    An attempt to do something no one has ever done. People call it impossible. That is just the kind of talk that makes me try to prove people wrong. A 140 plus mile bike ride in one go to try to achieve the lofty heights of Mount Everest in Henry Coe Park. I was nervous. Doubt tried to creep in constantly.

    After last weeks ride where Patrick (ratpick) and I were stranded 26 miles out in the far regions of Henry Coe Park my bike had taken a serous toll. I needed a new derailleur, a new set of chain rings, chain, cluster, and decided on a new set of tires also, the Captain, Grid. I put all the parts on but when attempting to replace the rear derailleur cable, I mad the mistake of removing the screw in front. Couldn't get it back on and called Sorcerer for assistance. After struggling for hours, it was no good. He said he would take it to a friend to see if he could repair it. After a couple of anxious days it was un-fixable. Even more anxious days scrambling around looking for a replacement right SRAM 9 speed trigger shifter. Luckily I found on at Trail Head and was able to get the bike going.

    The night before I went to bed at 8:20 pm hoping to get some sleep. I had shopped for all my food and was packed and ready to go. Took a while but I was able to sleep soon and soon it was 4am. Time to get ready to go. I packed the bike and the many, many items I would pack in my camel back making it around 20 lbs. Food, lights, batteries, gps unit, spare derailleur hangers (2), spare derailleur cables (2), spare tubes, half a hacksaw blade to cut a jammed hanger, and other various parts and necessary items. Soon I was driving down the road to Hunting Hollow Parking Lot and arriving at 6am, designated time. Lots of people there. There was a camp light illuminating part of the lot. People would be camping after the ride. All told there would be 9 riders to start the epic. I talked to Eric, one of the night riders. He was planning on a Jack Rabbit Lake ride. A talk was given about the ride by Dirk and soon we were on our way.

    Up Lyman Willson Ridge Trail we went. Feeling pretty good at this point considering I was up way too early. On up to Willson Camp and we took a short break at Steer Ridge Road and Wagon Road. Then we continued on up the steep Steer Ridge Road. My climbing skills seemed good today. What I really needed was survival skills. Keep going in pain.

    Down Spike Jones Trail then down Timm Trail. Fun descents as the sun had risen while riding the Bowl Trail. No lack of light issues insuring a great descent enjoyed by all. Up Coit Road and on to Coit Spring Trail. Some riders in the lead had to be corralled in as they didn't notice the turn. Then the ascent up Coit Spring Trail and soon the climb up Cross Canyon. I failed several times but soon cleaned the beginning section of loose steep grade. I failed later on botching a sure clean. At the top I arrived last. I commented to Dirk (el Hombre), "Its not about cleaning, its survival". He agreed. Jeff (Tahoe BC) wasn't going to do the course but just hang with us. He recently crashed and had shoulder issues. "My shoulder was talking to me on the Timm Trail descent", he remarked.

    Then it was down Cross Canyon Trail. There was a tree down adding to the trail work necessary to get that trail going again. A lot of trees have fallen in late summer. One down also on Timm Trail. Patrick, Dirk and I held back and went last as we soon discovered the others were determined to keep breaks shorter than ours and ride faster. Me, I had my pace and I didn't care if I kept up. It was all about surviving. Get the 100 and think about the rest later. After a rest. That was far in the future at this point. Patrick was in the lead, I was second and Dirk sweep. Near the end of the descent, I hit a rut near a turn and almost lost it. I hung on though. I got to the bottom and explained my near catastrophe to Patrick who was waiting across the stream at the bottom. At this time Dirk was in the process of crashing. The result was not good. First thing we noticed was a bloody leg. First thing Dirk noticed was bruised ribs. And very early in the ride. We continued on but every bump, Dirk felt. Breathing was tougher also. Yet there was no question of continuing on. I lead on Cross Canyon and Dirk and Patrick were in back. Dirk adjusting to a day of pain, no doubt.

    We rode up to the group that were waiting at Willow Ridge Road. On we went after a short food break. Willow Ridge Road then White Tank Road and the Landing Strip and down the Hoover Lake Trail. Out again on Willow Ridge Road. On to Willow Ridge Trail. We took a break at the Willow Ridge Trail head. Then down. A fun descent and soon we were at the bottom taking a break in the dry stream bed on the Narrows Trail. From there it was the Mahoney Wall and Lost Spring Trail. Even though it was about survival this day, I still wanted to clean both of these. Nobody cleaned the Mahoney Wall except for me. I also cleaned Lost Spring Trail. It felt good. I had that. I'm sure I would pay for it later.

    A rest and soon we continued on to Manzanita Point. It was the Tarantula Festival and Patrick, Dirk and I all bought food tickets. We ended up hanging out there for 50 minutes. Too long. The food was good though and we talked to rangers and had fun hanging out.

    Then back to Manzanita Point Road and Flat Frog to Middle Ridge Trail. As we were leaving a guy asked, "So 50 down and 50 to go?", and I said "No. 40 down and 110 miles to go". He commented that we were crazy but in a good way.

    Middle Ridge was good as usual and soon we were breaking at the bottom. The others were ahead, leaving us while we were still eating. Dirk, Patrick, Jeff and I were all there, joking around and it was at that point, Jeff promised to make us all coffee cups of his favorite pictures of us. I knew mine would be of pushing my bike up Vasquez Trail. Nice of him.

    We rode on, Jeff turning off on Creekside Trail and heading home on China Hole to Mahoney Meadows Road. Not sure if he did Middle Steer Ridge but ended up with an impressive ride after being off the mountain bike awhile.

    Continuing on, we manged to almost clean Poverty Flat Road. The road has been graded and that has created a lot of "moon dust" or "cake mix". So thick in one section that it was impossible to find a line. We walked but cleaned the rest. Our legs were still in good shape.

    Up Bear Mountain Road. Bear Mountain was our 1st serious climb. We walked a lot of it, hoping to save our legs. Along the way, we saw a solitary hiker and said hello. Later, while breaking at the top of Bear Mountain he caught up and we chatted a while. Good guy. I can appreciate a hardy hiker out there all alone. Takes guts.

    We rode on soon hitting Mississippi Lake Trail and then we arrived at the shores of Mississippi Lake filling up with water. I decided to pack along some perpetuum and filled that. It seemed to help. Later, there was nothing that would help.

    Then we were off to Heritage Trail and Pacheco Creek Trail. Heritage is in good shape except for the bottom. Pacheco Creek Trail needs work. All in all the slight downward slope of the trail was very welcomed by all.

    Pacheco Camp and we caught up to the 2 riders that decided to attempt the rest of the ride. They left signs of Hard Coe 100 and 29K in the dirt and spelled in rocks on the sink. We'll see how long they stay there. They soon left and we took a while eating, drinking, putting on warmer clothes and setting our lights up. Soon we were on our way up Coit Road to Pacheco Ridge Road.

    From there it was a short detour to the wondrous Phone Line Trail that Charlie cleared recently and Dirk put on the route as an homage. I arrived while Dirk and Patrick were looking for it. I pointed out the trail marked by a rock cairn. Soon were were descending. During a tricky turn Patrick goes down. He tries to ride on but soon finds that there was a reason he went down. His tubeless tire burped out all its air. Our 1st mechanical. We wait in an awkward part of the trail while Patrick and Dirk repair it. I eat and drink and wait. They have the situation controlled.

    Down to Coit Road again and up to County Line Road. And to Turkey Pond Trail, a dicey descent at night. Still trees down on this trail. Big branches tough to cut with a 10" fiskars. Maybe soon. We got around them and ended up at the bottom of the trail near County Line Road. We loose the trail but soon find it and are on our way to Dutch's Trail.

    At a lot of the climbs Dirk and I are walking. Patrick is still cleaning. I'd like to save myself. Soon Dirk's chain snaps off. Looks like a bent link. Luckily he finds the chain in the dust of the trail and puts it back on with a gold link and we are on our way again. 2nd mechanical. We get to the bottom, safely. I was worried since I'd never done Dutch's trail in the dark. And its steep. Scary. Not as bad as I thought since I kept it slow.

    Hike a bike to the section wide open after the climb which Dirk calls the Bermuda Triangle of Cod. We see the other two. They got lost and decided to stick with us for the rest of the ride. Good idea. Hell to get lost at night in Coe. Onward.

    Around Yellow Jacket Pond I nearly fall into a large hole averting catastrophe by inches. Soon we are walking the bikes up the steep "normally cleaned" hill to Tie Down Peak Trail. We descend I I almost lose it in a crevice and somehow manage to catch myself. Dirk commented earlier on his motor skills being curtailed at this point. A valid point I find out.

    We regroup at the North Fork Trail and get past the treachery of that trail and soon are climbing up Kaiser Aetna Road. This is where it hits me. This climb beat me up. 2 miles at 20 per cent grade. Tough in any condition. I am a bit heartened to see the others taking a break. I am ambling up very slowly, but I don't stop. Soon we are at Dowdy Ranch. Tough. That one broke me. And Burra Burra and Center Flats Road are looming. How am I going to do that? The break is long and we fill with water and eat and prepare for the monster ahead.

    I get through Burra Burra Trail, walking the hills and soon Center Flats Road is upon me. I walk most of the hills. When I try to ride, I am falling asleep. Delirious. I have no power. The breaks are plentiful and I am grateful. Grueling and painful. How can I continue on and stay on the bike. I catch myself from veering off the trail constantly. If I fall I won't get up. I will curl up and sleep forever. The lateness of the night is a huge factor. I'm normally home asleep and dreaming. I feel like a zombie. Sleep is forcing its way and taking over my body. I shake my head. When I stop, I put my head down and doze instantly, in another land but still there. I have to keep going. If not to finish the route at least to get back to the car. Soon that is all I am thinking about. I can't imagine doing 20 more miles at this point. How?

    We get to Wagon Road finally. It has been an eternity of pain. I stretch my legs. Plans on what to do next were discussed briefly on Center Flats Road. There was talk of scuttle the ride and just getting back. Dirk says we decide at Wagon Road. And here we were, deciding. Two factions. The 2 riders decide to go back. They say I should go with them. Dirk and Patrick are going on to finish the 100. After Patrick says, "we have all night" this phrase convinces me to stay with the 100 group. We go on. With Center Flats out of the way the ride is easier. Down Live Oak Spring Trail and up Coit then down to Crest Trail. I am feeling slightly better. Up Crest Trail and down Kelly Lake Trail. I take it slow not trusting my reactions of skills. We get through it and soon take a brief break at Kelly Lake.

    From there up Coit Road again. Another hard climb. Long but I get through it. Another long break. Onward. Wasno Road to Dexter Trail. This doesn't take that long and I am feeling a bit better. 2nd wind? I didn't think it was possible. Down the steep Dexter Trail, slow and careful. Then Grizzly Gulch Trail. This takes some time but relatively flat, only a few brief climbs. I catch up to Patrick and Dirk. I have been using my night rider light as I made the mistake of using my magic shine on high from Dutch's Trail to Dowdy Camp. It is orange at that point so I go with the night rider light. This lasted to the top of Kelly Lake Trail an shut off right as I lie down to rest. Perfect timing. At this point, every time we break Patrick has lie down. Dirk stays upright. I lie down a couple of times. Its tough to lie down. You get pulled into the oblivion of sleep and it can be dangerous. About this time my right knee has a sharp pain that won't go away even with the ibuprofen I get from Patrick. It is actually a good thing as it keeps me awake. Soon both knees are in pain, a couple of daggers. I love/hate the pain.

    On Wagon Road. We ride. It takes a while but soon we are at the junction of Wagon and Vasquez Roads. I get there to Dirk sitting and Patrick lying down, slightly curled. God knows what their thoughts are. Maybe just about survival. Must finish.

    Down Vasquez. It is rutted in sections so I take it careful even though I nearly crash anyway. A walk of the bike up a severe hill and then a slow grind up to Long Dam. I ride a lot of it surprising myself.

    Then we descend down Long Dam Trail. Its a fire road that is a bit rutted and loose and we expect to be lost somewhere along the bottom. No incidents but we do get lost briefly. Soon we are on Wagon Road again. We know it goes down and the up. And up. And up. We ride down then all of us are determined to clean this last hill. I almost lose it several times as there are ruts and loose rock. We all clean it. We are at the top knowing there is only 1 short but steep hill again, then down and the 4 mile ride on Hunting Hollow Road. The ride down is filled with fog and a lot of times I can't see the fire road to my satisfaction, wondering if there is a big rock to take me out. I am very careful, sticking close to Dirk. Soon we are at the bottom.

    We ride the fire road that seems to go on a bit. But soon we are in the lot and freezing, congratulating. I wonder how I did it last year, I'm really mystified on finishing this year. Collectively we shelf the last 10K. Its cold, we're beat and we retire. Disappointing after all that and being closer. I think the night riding at the end was a mistake. But how did we know? Seemed to make sense initially. I'm glad I was convinced to finish. Good ride.

    Roy.
    Last edited by plymmer; 10-02-2011 at 07:44 PM.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    Vasquez makes a grown man fall asleep
    It felt so good to lay my head down and close my eyes for a few minutes. It was a bit scary to be falling asleep while on the bike!

  85. #85
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    Welcome back 100 mile Coe riders. I am happy to read that you survived the ordeal. Though I am concerned to learn of mishaps along the way, including the training rides, these are to be expected. It is fortunate that worse did not happen.

    Plymmer, did your drive-train work okay? I would feel terrible if the work I did on your bike turned out poorly.

    We will be making a donation to the CPPF on the strength of your example.

    Next weekend is the 2nd Saturday of October. On this Saturday I'll be helping to host the romp.org Gilroy Hot Springs picnic. (Signup here)

    I'll be leading a modest ride and organizing some clean-up work at the Hot Springs this Saturday afternoon. We will also be doing some trail work on the ride, and meeting up with the ride-along volunteer trainees.

    My motivation is one of 100 miles of new trail Coe.

  86. #86
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    Nice work guys! Did Charlie save you any donuts..not that we had many left.

  87. #87
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    Determination

    Amazing effort, well done! I am also glad to hear that everyone made it without serious mishap.
    Hey man, wanna go for a klunk?

  88. #88
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    Nice write up Roy. No I did not make it to middle ridge, I was running out of gas, probably would have done it if I had some fine individual like you to help motivate me along.

    So do you think it was harder this time because of the start time or maybe you did not train as hard this time after successfully doing it last year, I find the later to be a problem for me.

    Also why would I use that photo of you in Vasquez, when I have this new one to use



    After seeing this pic ^^^ it makes me wonder what was I thinking departing ways with you guys before getting the chance to hit this up!
    Last edited by TahoeBC; 10-03-2011 at 08:40 AM.

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick View Post
    Photos.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/tra...background.gif) no-repeat left">
    Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011
    Excellent!!!



    Quote Originally Posted by plymmer View Post
    An attempt to do something no one has ever done. People call it impossible. That
    is just the kind of talk that makes me try to prove people wrong....

    ... I have been using my night rider light as I made the mistake of using my magic
    shine on high from Dutch's Trail to Dowdy Camp. It is orange at that point so I go
    with the night rider light. This lasted to the top of Kelly Lake Trail and shut off right
    as I lie down to rest...

    Roy.
    Great story telling! The sleep deprivation chapter had me wanting to sleep. Wait!, that
    didn't come out right!

    Question, at "top of Kelly Lake", were you out of lights for the rest of the ride?



    Quote Originally Posted by d-bug View Post
    Nice work guys! Did Charlie save you any donuts..not that we had many left.




    What an incredible day it must have been. Dirk wins ironman award for completing
    with bruised ribs!
    ///Charlie
    Long live long rides

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    Excellent!!!
    Question, at "top of Kelly Lake", were you out of lights for the rest of the ride?
    No, it was his bar mounted Night rider light that went out... his MagicShine lasted (while on orange/red) through the night...

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    What an incredible day it must have been. Dirk wins ironman award for completing
    with bruised ribs!
    ///Charlie
    Not too big a deal, I knew with Ibuprofen/Tylenol/adrenaline most of the pain would be postponed and it would only hurt badly when I'd laugh out loud - luckily my riding partners slid into a catatonic state at some point, so their wisecracking became more infrequent.

    It's hurting more now, getting out of bed is an ordeal. Nice recap, Roy and photos... I'll see if I can still remember anything and will report back soon.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    Nice write up Roy. No I did not make it to middle ridge, I was running out of gas, probably would have done it if I had some fine individual like you to help motivate me along.

    So do you think it was harder this time because of the start time or maybe you did not train as hard this time after successfully doing it last year, I find the later to be a problem for me.
    Can't speak for the others, but I found doing the night ride after the long day ride much much harder than doing it the other way around (like last year). Doing that Dutch's / Dowdy loop in the dark, even though it was highly entertaining, took a couple hours longer (ok, we did also had a few mechanicals this time).

    Also why would I use that photo of you in Vasquez, when I have this new one to use
    I have a few more choice photos, stay tuned.
    Meanwhile, I'd like to post this one:


    TahoeBC clearing his sinuses after the tough climb up Cross Canyon


  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    So do you think it was harder this time because of the start time or maybe you did not train as hard this time after successfully doing it last year, I find the later to be a problem for me.
    I think it was all the start time. The mechanicals didn't help but we got very, very slow in the final 30 or so miles. I compared our segment times on Strava to last year and we were limping this year at the end.

    Next time (I can hear Plymmer groan), we start at midnight!

  93. #93
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    Sigh

    And the skies cried on Monday for the failed attempt of the climbing of Mount Everest inside the boundaries of Henry W. Coe Park.

  94. #94
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    Nice work guys...pretty amazing.

    -D

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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick View Post
    Next time (I can hear Plymmer groan), we start at midnight!
    Amazing achievement - I don't know how you guys do this. And I don't see how any mortal could finish the whole 29,000 feet in 24 hours. If you start at midnight won't you end up riding through most of two nights? Why not start at first light on the Saturday, and then have a proper meal, rest and bivouac half-way through, and finish off at first light on the Sunday? It's not like Mt Everest climbers start at sea level and get to the top and back again in just one day! Anyway, congrats on the big numbers for this ride and surviving to tell us the tale!

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukbloke View Post
    Amazing achievement - I don't know how you guys do this. And I don't see how any mortal could finish the whole 29,000 feet in 24 hours. If you start at midnight won't you end up riding through most of two nights? Why not start at first light on the Saturday, and then have a proper meal, rest and bivouac half-way through, and finish off at first light on the Sunday? It's not like Mt Everest climbers start at sea level and get to the top and back again in just one day! Anyway, congrats on the big numbers for this ride and surviving to tell us the tale!
    Thanks! But that just tells those Everest climbers are wimps . I think the Tour Divide mtb racers more or less routinely do these days of riding without sleep, with huge amounts of climbing. Ok, the terrain in Coe is probably less forgiving, so comparing is hard, but I'm convinced it is possible.

    Doing the (big) night ride first (physically and mentally the most draining part) is key, I know believe. Last year - with midnight start - we were three hours faster on the 100 (with admittedly fewer mechanicals and other 'incidents'). And maybe attempting it on a long, rare cool day in late spring would also be better. Though it is 'easier' for most of us to get in shape in early fall.

  97. #97
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    Surviving...

    Quote Originally Posted by plymmer View Post

    ...Up Lyman Willson Ridge Trail we went. Feeling pretty good at this point considering I was up way too early. On up to Willson Camp and we took a short break at Steer Ridge Road and Wagon Road. Then we continued on up the steep Steer Ridge Road. My climbing skills seemed good today. What I really needed was survival skills. Keep going in pain....

    ....Down Spike Jones Trail then down Timm Trail. Fun descents as the sun had risen while riding the Bowl Trail. No lack of light issues insuring a great descent enjoyed by all. Up Coit Road and on to Coit Spring Trail. Some riders in the lead had to be corralled in as they didn't notice the turn. Then the ascent up Coit Spring Trail and soon the climb up Cross Canyon. I failed several times but soon cleaned the beginning section of loose steep grade. I failed later on botching a sure clean. At the top I arrived last. I commented to Dirk (el Hombre), "Its not about cleaning, its survival". He agreed. Jeff (Tahoe BC) wasn't going to do the course but just hang with us. He recently crashed and had shoulder issues. "My shoulder was talking to me on the Timm Trail descent", he remarked....

    ....Then it was down Cross Canyon Trail. There was a tree down adding to the trail work necessary to get that trail going again. A lot of trees have fallen in late summer. One down also on Timm Trail. Patrick, Dirk and I held back and went last as we soon discovered the others were determined to keep breaks shorter than ours and ride faster. Me, I had my pace and I didn't care if I kept up. It was all about surviving. Get the 100 and think about the rest later. After a rest. That was far in the future at this point. Patrick was in the lead, I was second and Dirk sweep. Near the end of the descent, I hit a rut near a turn and almost lost it. I hung on though. I got to the bottom and explained my near catastrophe to Patrick who was waiting across the stream at the bottom. At this time Dirk was in the process of crashing. The result was not good. First thing we noticed was a bloody leg. First thing Dirk noticed was bruised ribs. And very early in the ride. We continued on but every bump, Dirk felt. Breathing was tougher also. Yet there was no question of continuing on. I lead on Cross Canyon and Dirk and Patrick were in back. Dirk adjusting to a day of pain, no doubt....

    ....We rode up to the group that were waiting at Willow Ridge Road. On we went after a short food break. Willow Ridge Road then White Tank Road and the Landing Strip and down the Hoover Lake Trail. Out again on Willow Ridge Road. On to Willow Ridge Trail. We took a break at the Willow Ridge Trail head. Then down. A fun descent and soon we were at the bottom taking a break in the dry stream bed on the Narrows Trail. From there it was the Mahoney Wall and Lost Spring Trail. Even though it was about survival this day, I still wanted to clean both of these. Nobody cleaned the Mahoney Wall except for me. I also cleaned Lost Spring Trail. It felt good. I had that. I'm sure I would pay for it later....


    ....On Wagon Road. We ride. It takes a while but soon we are at the junction of Wagon and Vasquez Roads. I get there to Dirk sitting and Patrick lying down, slightly curled. God knows what their thoughts are. Maybe just about survival. Must finish....


    ....We ride the fire road that seems to go on a bit. But soon we are in the lot and freezing, congratulating. I wonder how I did it last year, I'm really mystified on finishing this year. Collectively we shelf the last 10K. Its cold, we're beat and we retire. Disappointing after all that and being closer. I think the night riding at the end was a mistake. But how did we know? Seemed to make sense initially. I'm glad I was convinced to finish. Good ride.

    Roy.
    I had this video ready to post before you even finished the ride; I was hoping that Charlie had some stuff to post so I could leave this hidden away:


    Anyway, after reading your most excellent write-up the poignancy of your "survivial" comment out on the trail shows the strength and courage you guys mustered early on.

    Congratulations!
    Content here does not officially represent the CA DPR.

    Windows 10, destroying humanity one upgrade at a time.

  98. #98
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    1,135

    Hard COEre 100, the second running

    As usual, my post-ride ritual is to write as much detail down as I can so I can "free my mind" and move on! There are probably drugs that would do this more easily, but I like going back and reading these recaps months (or years) later. For the TL;DR types, there are pretty pictures you can scan instead

    Not even a week after we first successfully finished the 100 miles of Coe, I stupidly asked "what's next?" and ElHombre responded along the lines of, "How do you feel about 29,000' of Coe?". I laughed.. and then I realized he was serious!

    A year later and we are unracking our bikes and getting ready to ride it!

    Preparation/Training
    Having been unemployed for most of the past year, I've been doing a lot of endurance riding, mostly roadie rides including three double centuries, which have given me some pretty good stamina for long rides. I landed a job starting three weeks ago which has soaked up all my time leaving only weekends for cycling. So, for the past month, I've been out at Coe nearly every weekend with Plymmer, going deep into Coe and trying to keep my strength up.

    I have recently been having some mechanical issues on my bike but sorted most of them out. The most troubling was a chain-suck problem, documented in a previous thread here, where my chain would wedge between the granny and middle rings. Rather than replace it all, I decided to stay with the known and be careful with my shifting.

    Since I'm no longer riding the big miles every week, I have to watch what I eat. I quickly gained 4 pounds when I started working but stablized there. The day before, I ate more but tried to stay with non-heavy foods (rice, beans). My wife and I had pre-ride dinner at Chevy's where the corn chips were unusually and ridiculously salty - I ate them all!

    I had hoped to go to bed early and aim for 7 hours of sleep but a late work day, then dinner out, then getting my bike and all my gear ready, got me to bed after 11pm. Since I had to be up at 3:45am, I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped. This resulted in my extreme tiredness late in the ride.

    ElHombre had made an addition to the official route, adding a loop up Pacheco Ridge and down Phoneline Trail. This pleased me greatly as it lessened the need to run loops at the end of the ride to round off our Garmin numbers. I took his published GPX track, compressed it and converted it to TCX for my Garmin. It only had the first 100 miles - I figured we would ride the final 9,000'/40 miles without guidance. Or perhaps I already knew it was impossible?

    The weather forecast said low 50s in the night and high 70s during the day. I figured I didn't need any more than shorts, jersey, arm warmers and a light wind jacket. Any later in the year and I might have spent hours thinking about whether knee warmers or a heavier jacket would be necessary!

    I packed more food than the last ride, and a greater variety. I went into Sports Basement and grabbed one of every bar that looked decent. Variety can make a big difference in ability to eat on big rides, I've recently discovered. I boiled some small potatoes, had some dried fruit (particularly apricots), had two wraps (one ham, one roast beef) and about 8 bars. We also had bought tickets to the Tarantulafest BBQ at HQ so had a full lunch waiting for us there.

    Start (6:35am)
    Up at 3:45am, I had a quick shower, bathed in sunscreen and got into my gear. Breakfast, made coffee for the road, packed all the cold food and I was on my way.

    Arriving at Hunting Hollow, I was shocked by the number of cars there! ElHombre had suggested we might be joined by others, but there were 9-10 cars with folks actively getting ready. Wow!

    The weather was nice - not too cold, so I didn't regret not packing a heavier jacket. I wore my wind jacket at the start, but quickly regretted it as it warmed nicely once the sun was up.

    The first inkling of sunrise began just before we rode out, so I had decided to fit my handlebar light. In the end, it wasn't necessary as it took a while for ElHombre to round everyone up for a pre-ride briefing. The plan was to ride out promptly at 6am, but by the time everyone had gathered, been given warnings that you really ought to have a map out there, we were ready and rolled out at 6:35am.

    Tom & TahoeBC had come to do part of the course with us and started out just ahead of us, expecting that we would eventually catch them. There were 4 Coe "newbies", well, one of them had ridden a small ride out of HQ just once, that had joined us. Ordinarily, I'd think they were crazy to attempt this but these guys looked seriously fit and ready to go.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    ElHombre led the "neutralized" first climb up Lyman Willson. Well, it wasn't really neutralized and the group splintered as one-by-one we fell off the back, or stopped to take photos of the breathtaking dawn.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    ElHombre kept the pace high, perhaps checking out the newbies to see how they would survive. We reach the small hill where we had our first skunk encounter last year and I wonder if he'll take the higher path with more climbing, or the easier bypass route and, of course, he goes straight up the high route. The tone for this ride is set!

    I was looking forward to the Lyman Willson Wall, a good test to see if you are ready to dive deep into Coe. I heard ElHombre give warning that it was coming; one or two of them had to push while the rest of us cleaned it. Ok, so they are human.. good! We may have something of an edge over this long ride being used to the types of steeps Coe throws at us.

    As the sun comes out, I warm up quickly so stop just before Bowl Trail and remove my wind jacket. We continued up to Willson Camp, arriving quite spread out.

    Willson Camp (7:19am, 3.81 mi)
    We take a break of 5 mins here to regroup. I begin to wonder if this is how it is going to be and whether a large group will slow us down. I had a chuckle when I overheard one of newbies speak of the "rocket pace" up the climb. Yeah, it wasn't slow! I decided that my light was safer in my bag than on my bars and removed it while we rested.

    We began the climb up Steer Ridge Rd, the newbies taking off ahead of us and making fast work of it. We bid farewell to Eric, who took off up Wagon Rd on his own ride, and Tom. TahoeBC was up ahead of us somewhere, trying to be our rabbit!

    We take off up Steer Ridge Rd and without trying, set a new Strava KOM (that won't last long now that Diesel has Strava!). Plymmer reminds us of our encounter with a skunk on this ridge last year but fortunately, none were seen or smelled today.

    There was still some light fog up on the ridge, but it looks cloudless above and suggests a very nice day ahead of us! Up ahead, we see TahoeBC and slowly reel him in.

    The climbs on Steer Ridge are much steeper than I remember (probably a daylight vs night thing) but soon we are the top of Serpentine Trail and then Willson Peak.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    The newbies wait for us here, not entirely sure where to go next (or perhaps they just wanted to regroup at this point?). We descend Steer Ridge Rd then turn down Spike Jones Trail. We warn them that the Timm intersection is very hard to find now so they might want to stay close. They decide to follow and I lead the way down.

    With a fast descender on my tail, pressure was on to perform so I let it fly. This was the first singletrack descent of the day so I was still getting my balance dialed in but must have done that fairly quickly as I scored a Strava KOM on the descent.. unexpected!

    I paused at the Timm trailhead long enough for the followers behind me to see where we went, then started down. Timm, although it is not the fun playground it used to be, is still quite an enjoyable ride in a rollercoaster, flowy kind of a way. The newbie behind me let out several "oh yeah" exclamations of joy so it was clear he was really enjoying the new Timm!

    I really wanted to take him down The Chute - I think he would have loved that - but that wasn't the course and the course is king today, so we took the traditional way down to the clearing at the bottom of Spike Jones. Everyone was high from that descent!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Grizzly & Spike Jones (7:58am, 9 mi)
    We regrouped here and took a 5:30 min break, telling lots of lies about the descent down Timm! The newbies say they are really enjoying the trails and the route so far!

    I'm a little worried that we are settling into a habit of taking frequent, long breaks so I suggested we start moving. We begin the climb up Coit Rd, everyone taking their time and chatty.

    At Anza, I take the lead and am surprised to gap the strong newbie behind me. I slowed to stay in his sight until past the Cullen intersection. We regrouped at the Jackson intersection. I suggest that they might like to take the lead as there are no intersections ahead to get lost, but they are good with me continuing to lead this trail. I have a blast down Anza, wait at the Grapevine intersection so the newbies don't turn up there, then head down to Coit Rd where we all regroup again.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We take a 2 minute regroup break then begin the long climb up Coit Rd. TahoeBC is slightly ahead of us but stops when he finds a small snake. He, of course, picks it up and poses with it. He hands it off to ElHombre who recoils because of its nasty smell!

    The newbies go off the front again but miss the Coit Springs turn. Actually, it snuck up on me too - I wasn't expecting it so soon. The newbies come back but TahoeBC continues to spare his shoulder any unnecessary pain from a lower-Cross Canyon climb.

    I lead the group onto Cross Canyon but immediately dab - I'm not used to approaching it from this direction! I pull off to the side and let everyone pass, then go back down and clean it. That's better! Conditions are so good for cleaning on this steep wall that I didn't want to waste the opportunity. The newbies all walk it.. schadenfreude..

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Plymmer starts the climb just after me and I worry when he doesn't appear at the top of Cross Canyon after me - it turns out he wanted that clean as well and made sure he got it!

    Cross Canyon & Coit (9:05am, 14.4 mi)
    Another long regroup here (9 minutes). TahoeBC arrives from Coit Rd about the same time as Plymmer appears up Cross Canyon.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We give the newbies a warning about the downed tree and they take off with TahoeBC on their tail. The trio stays a little longer, eats a bit, updates MTBR with tapatalk and begins the descent. ElHombre says he is going to take it easy as his bike's handling is affected by the weight of his food bags. I say I'm in no rush and will take it easy too, but once the trail starts downwards, gravity takes over and I go with the flow of the trail.

    I thought the newbies might regroup at the bottom but they had decided to push on through Kelly Creek and we didn't see them again until Willow Ridge Rd. Hearing ElHombre and Plymmer approaching, I whipped out my camera and unfortunately caught this:

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Just a moment of inattention and ElHombre's front wheel caught a rut or a rock and he goes OTB. If only I had switched to video!

    Fortunately, there is no major damage to ElHombre or his bike. He sustains a cut on his leg and some very sore ribs which add an extra level of pain for the remainder of the ride, definitely earning him the Iron Man crown!

    His remote fork lockout mount broke (easy zip-tie fix) and, although we didn't realize it until later, his backup bar light came off. Hopefully, he'll be able to recover that.

    We had a quick stop while ElHombre cleaned up his wound and fixed his bike, then headed into the Kelly Creek section. Plymmer led the way picking the best route through and gapping ElHombre and me fairly quickly. Plymmer also cleaned the steep climb out of the creek easily which ElHombre & I were happy to push this time

    We didn't catch Plymmer until the Cross Canyon Wall. I always want to give the Wall a solid effort, but for some reason the lower section seemed more slippery today. We all ended up walking the majority of it. I hope the coming rains clean it up, rather than make it worse.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We continued on our way up Cross Canyon to Willow Ridge at an easy pace

    Willow Ridge & Cross Canyon (10:06am, 18.64 mi)
    I was surprised to see the newbie group here waiting for us as I assumed they would ride on at this point. The route is easy to find for the next few miles.

    We take a 6 minute break, update MTBR,send photos to Facebook and eat. We leave at about the same time, the newbies go off the front but stay in sight. I realize they may miss the Hoover Airstrip turn, so up my pace a little to get closer (shouting distance).

    They wait at the intersection to be sure, and I direct them to Hoover Airstrip then stop to take some photos as it's looking quite nice covered in tarweed.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    TahoeBC finds a tarantula on the airstrip and immediately bonds with it, giving it a ride down the strip for a little way, letting it roam about his neck and camelback.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We continued down the fun Hoover Lake trail and find the newbies regrouped at the lake, unsure where the trail went to!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We take the low-water shortcut on the lake bed back to the trail. Plymmer reminisces about the mylar balloon + Pliney shrine left here for us last year by pliebenberg! At Willow Ridge Rd, we continue riding its rollers to the top of the Willow Ridge Trail. The newbies had ridden past the trailhead but I think had slowed, unsure about the well-signed intersection. We let them go first, with a warning to wait at the bottom as it was tricky to navigate around to Los Cruzeros. We stopped to eat a little then bombed down.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Last year, we descended Willow Ridge Trail in the dark so I was looking forward to a descent in daylight. Perhaps a sense of caution dominated after ElHombre's crash, but I couldn't allow myself a full-speed descent. ElHombre, however, was descending with full confidence, setting a new Strava KOM!

    At the bottom, I was sad to see the piece of trail that Skyline35 had spent most of the day clearing when we last did trailwork here was almost completely grown over again! I pointed out the Mahoney bypass trail to Los Cruzeros and the newbies took off.

    At Los Cruzeros, I recalled last year's sub-freezing temperatures. It was nicely in the 70s today.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Los Cruzeros (11am, 24.5 mi)
    We gave the newbies directions up the Mahoney Wall and to take the first right to Lost Spring Trail and they were off. It takes a special focus and the right conditions to clean a climb like the Mahoney Wall. I started up and saw everyone ahead of me start to push and that gave me license to not make the effort to clean it.

    Plymmer, on the other hand, was in the zone and not only cleaned it, making it look easy, but also set a new Strava KOM. Unbelievable!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Plymmer led the way up Lost Spring Trail. I usually try to clean it - it takes some concentration but isn't ridiculously steep for long - the hardest part is staying out of the poison oak! I did fail to clear a sharp turn around a tree most of the way up.

    The newbies were out of water (most had only 2 bottles) so filled up from the spring. We didn't realize until later, but none of them had a filter!

    At the top of Lost Spring Trail, one of the newbies who hadn't refilled, decided to head off down China Hole Trail. The rest of us regrouped here with a 5 minute break. In the end, the flies convinced us it was time to move on.

    I followed a newbie down to China Hole, having fun keeping up his pace. Another newbie was not far behind me, and when we reached the final descent to the water, he decided to ignore my dismount and ride, very nearly going OTB.

    We skipped a few stones and messed around at China Hole, as usual. The newbies took off quickly, walking the first steep up the north China Hole trail. TahoeBC followed them up and a few minutes later ElHombre, me & Plymmer began the climb.

    I like this climb, never steep and with a nice variety of landscape - sometimes hot, but often with a bit of a breeze. I attached myself to ElHombre's wheel and we climbed at a comfortable pace, way off our PRs, but slightly faster than last year's Hard COEre 100 pace

    As we got to the manicured section of the trail, we laughed as usual about the "caution" signs and wondered what had become of the old guy who maintains this part of the trail.

    Manzanita Point & China Hole (12:17pm, 30.3 mi)
    Near the top of China Hole Trail, we caught up with TahoeBC and arrived at the picnic table together. I thought the newbies would regroup here (who can bypass the table after the long climb?), but it was very easy to navigate from here to HQ so they chose to go on.

    7300' climbed, only one quarter of our goal!

    After a few minutes, Plymmer rolled in and we rested, ate and updated MTBR. Even though we were close to HQ and lunch, I decided to eat one of the wraps I had brought at this point figuring it would be good to get extra food in me.

    After an 11 min break, we continued up Manzanita Point Rd towards HQ. The road climbs steeply in sections, and while it's a grind, I enjoy the expansive views from this climb. Some dislike the road to HQ above Flat Frog but as long as the surface isn't moon-dust, I don't mind it too much after the previous steep sections.

    Near the top, a couple of descending MTBers came racing by and I have to pay attention to keeping right! One of them is pliebenberg and he stops to chat and capture us on video, wishing us well for the rest of the ride.

    We roll into HQ, a hive of activity with Tarantulafest in full swing.

    Coe HQ (12:51pm, 32.6 mi)
    We had hoped to arrive here around noon, so were already behind schedule. The newbies have a picnic table near the visitor center so we parked our bikes and checked in on them.

    All the activity at HQ only slowed us down more and we didn't roll out until 1:42pm But it was a great break - we dropped into the visitor center and bought some Cokes. Snr Ranger John and Ranger Cameron were there so we chatted with them for a bit. Then we headed down to the Tarantulafest BBQ and got our meals: mine a hotdog with salad, beans and garlic bread, and a large piece of watermelon. Real food tastes so good on a big ride!

    Eating back at the visitor center table, we helped the newbies map out the rest of the course. They were understandably eager to press on solo. Two of them, who didn't have lights, realized that they could go no further so returned back to Hunting Hollow. The other two newbies, with the route clearly marked on a Coe map, took off on their own. I didn't expect we would catch up to them again.

    We refilled our camelbacks and I had left my Garmin charging while we were eating. We also took the time to oil our chains as the dry dust was drying them out. After a restful and pleasant 50 minute break, we were back on our bikes.

    The groans started immediately as we climbed the paved road to the trailhead - lunch legs are no fun! We bomb down Manzanita Point Rd until we get to the Flat Frog intersection. Here a docent has a large group (20-30) on a tour and is blocking the trail entrance. They make room for us and Jeff leads us down the always fun Flat Frog trail. In keeping with the endurance pace, we don't hammer the trail - also there are many hikers out so we are cautious

    Hobbs & Flat Frog (2:02pm, 35.9 mi)

    We wait at Hobbs for Plymmer who somehow got held up on Flat Frog. Next the not-so-fun grind up Hobbs Rd, taking it very easy (my slowest recorded time for this segment!) TahoeBC leaves us and says he'll meet us up on Middle Ridge Trail.

    I'm feeling really good with food in my system and a good break to refresh my legs. We all arrive at the Middle Ridge Trail together so start down it immediately. I take the lead and decide up-front that I want to clean the two climbs. I cleaned the big climb with no problem and collapsed in the grass at the top, seemingly made as a recovery spot for those trying to clean it!

    I recalled that last year, my legs were cramping after this climb so I was pleased that this wasn't the case this time. I had been taking Endurolytes since the China Hole climb and there were no sign of cramps all day.

    The Middle Ridge descent was fun, as always. The trail is in great shape. On the way down, I was reminiscing about the feeling of fear I used to get descending it and how I missed that, just a little bit, now that my descending skills are better. It's a fun descent, but no longer pushing the limits.

    I catch TahoeBC just as we reach the creek and we watch Plymmer & ElHombre make their final descents.

    Poverty Flat (2:47pm, 40.2 mi)

    We rest at the bottom of Middle Ridge for about 7 mins. Even though lunch is recent, I eat to try to keep the calories going in (it's too easy to stop eating after lunch). TahoeBC decides it's time to turn back so bids farewell at the Creekside trail. I love riding with TahoeBC, especially in Tarantula season, so it was sad to see him go. Amazing he could ride so far with his shoulder still healing!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    The fire roads to this point have been a mix of sand/moon-dust and well-graded, hard-packed dirt, so it was hard to know what to expect on Poverty Flat Rd. It started well. We came to one small section of moon-dust but were able to keep riding over it.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    At this point, I could easily pick out the tire tracks of the two newbies ahead of us so there was some pride at stake in making sure we rode more than they did! Further up, the moon-dust returned and eventually got too thick and on too steep a part of the trail to ride and we had to push.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Disappointing, but I was pleased that we got further up than the newbies

    The moon-dust section didn't last too long, and although the trail was still steep, I insisted that we ride rather than push to the top! It turned out to be my slowest climb of Poverty Flat on record, but that just means that we were properly pacing ourselves

    Probably the worst part of the climb was the lack of a breeze, so once we summitted and began the descent down the other side, the cooling of moving fast through the air was amazingly refreshing.

    At the top of Shaffer Corral, we examined the tire tracks to make sure our newbie friends were on the trail. It appeared that they had almost missed the turnoff but had come back to find the correct trail. The descent down Shaffer Corral was fast and fun, as always.

    At the bottom, the newbie tracks appeared to go straight to the creek, instead of making the sharp left to The Narrows Trail. We hoped that they realized their mistake and got back on track somewhere!

    We bumped our way along The Narrows, me thankful that I had a FS bike and wondering how ElHombre could handle a ride like this on a hardtail! This being my 3rd ascent of Bear Mountain from this direction, it was no longer a surprise - actually, I was eagerly awaiting it to see how much I could ride this time!

    Bear Mountain (3:56pm, 45 mi)
    As we rounded the final turn in Bear Mountain Rd, the mountain was revealed to us. It's different every time, from the initial "no way", "urgh" and this time, "cool.. let's have at it!". I think the fact that it wasn't too hot and that ElHombre reported that the surface was much improved over last year, contributed to my eagerness.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We spotted the two newbies about 15 minutes up the road, pushing their bikes. "Welcome to Bear Mountain", I thought!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    I always like to clean the first steep from the creek to the next really steep (35%) section and managed to do so this time. The next section is a mandatory walk for those of only human abilities!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    The really steep stuff only lasts about half a mile, averaging 20.5% and much of it is rideable. Still we pushed the 30% sections, cleanable or not, to save something for the upper parts.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Over the first false summit and I thought we'd catch sight of the newbies but they were long gone. I later joked with them that I was tracking how much they rode vs pushed by their tire tracks, and they joked back that they only rode the sections where we could see them!

    Past the first false summit, with an average of just 11% for the next 0.7 mi, and just a few really steep sections that had to be pushed. I tried to clean as many as I could.

    Just past the Bear Springs Trail intersection, I passed a solo hiker - very unusual this far out! I wanted to stop and say hi but he was at the bottom of a valley in the trail and I needed the momentum to get to the top so just yelled "hi" and "thanks" as he moved to the side of the trail.

    I rode all of the top section to the summit, which capped the climb well. I was pleased to set a new PR, knocking 6 minutes off my previous best.

    Bear Mountain Summit (4:46pm, 47.6 mi)
    As I had gone for a big clean of the last section, I reached the summit a few minutes before ElHombre and Plymmer. I jumped up on the survey marker and enjoyed the 360° panoramic view. I enjoyed it especially this time as I had been in much more of the park in view and could identify more of it from this height.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    Soon ElHombre arrived, then Plymmer. We rested, ate and thought about the rest of the ride. I was so warm from the climb that I suggested that perhaps a swim in Mississippi Lake was in order!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    At this point, we had accumulated about 11,000' and it was sobering to think that this wasn't even half of the full 29,000'. It was at this point that the incredible size of the goal we had set ourselves became obvious and I began to wonder if it was achievable! But I knew that if we could just keep going, we would get there eventually. As I said later to Plymmer, "we have all night" - as long as we could keep riding, anything was achievable!

    The hiker we had passed arrived and was eager to chat with us. I suspect he was craving human company! It became obvious that he was a big lover of Coe as well, and we talked about many of the back-country trails and their history. It turns out he worked for the CA AG office, so we talked politics a little as well. Nice guy - it's great to come together with others who love and appreciate the park as much as we do!

    I took a 17 min break up here, so was well rested when the time came to head down County Line Rd to Mississippi Lake. I had brought two wraps with me and although I wasn't hungry, I decided this was a good time to eat since we had some downhill before beginning any serious climbing, so I downed my second wrap. On a whim, I had bought some of the new Hammer Perpetuem chewables for this ride. I chewed one at the summit, just as we took off down County Line Rd. I'm sure the rest had a lot to do with it too, but I was feeling very energized down County Line Rd - even on the small climbs, I wanted to stand and hammer them. These pills may be magic!

    I got to the lake turnoff a good 2 mins before ElHombre & Plymmer wondering if it was the Perpetuem that was giving me all this energy! Now out of water, ElHombre took off while I waited for Plymmer. Plymmer arrived not long afterwards, so we all rode around the lake trail to the picnic area.

    I never used to like this section of trail, but now full of energy I was enjoying it thoroughly! ElHombre & Plymmer filtered some water at the lake. I felt I had enough to get me to Pacheco Camp and would prefer the cleaner-tasting water there (despite the recent postings about Pacheco's spring source!)

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    After the cooling descent from Bear Mountain, I no longer was so hot that I needed a swim! We still took a good 12 minute break here. When we were ready, we headed around the lake, then up our old friend, Willow Ridge Rd. The golden hour had begun and everything was starting to look golden!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We remembered the initial route which had us take the evil Willow Ridge rollers over to Rat Spring Trail, glad that the new route took us down the fun Heritage Trail straight to Pacheco Creek Trail. Of course, this year the tall grass has produced a bumper crop of "stickies" which cling to socks and leg hair.

    The descent down Heritage was fun ...

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    ... but Pacheco Creek Trail at the bottom was not. It is very overgrown and the upper part is particularly hard to ride in this direction. The stickies were attaching behind my knees causing me pain on every pedal stroke. By the end of the trail, it felt like I had a thousand cuts behind my knees!

    The further we got down the trail, though, the more open it became. I recalled last year that ElHombre had gotten tired of the uncomfortable bumping of the rough surface on his hardtail so had sprinted the trail all the way to Pacheco Camp just to get it over. This year, I had such a burst of energy, I decided to leave Plymmer & ElHombre to their own devices and sprint it myself.

    Pacheco Camp (6:48pm, 58 mi)
    I was surprised when I rode into Pacheco Camp to find the two newbies there! They were refilling bottles. I found it incredible that I had caught them, despite my fast sprint along Pacheco Creek Trail, so they must have been waiting for us to catch up. If so, assuming they didn't wait more than 5 mins on Bear Mountain, they would have waited about half an hour!

    Part of my rationale for sprinting was to try and catch Skyline35 who had said that he would try to meet up with us at the camp. Sadly, he wasn't there when I arrived but he had left us an awesome message!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    The newbies were a little alarmed to see us filtering the water - we relayed the recent spring work and offered our filters but they didn't want to delay any longer. Sunset was falling as we arrived and they wanted to get on the trail before it was dark. We convinced them to mount their lights before heading out and gave a few directions, including a warning to be careful at the end of Dutch's - a section ElHombre has appropriately named, "The Coe Bermuda Triangle".

    After they left, we lingered, busy for 45 minutes installing lights, filtering water and eating. I spent much time cleaning the stickies off my legs, socks and shoes, tired of the pain they were causing! I recalled that it was here that we had abandoned our first attempt at the Hard COEre 100 but there was no talk of that this time. Our minds were still on the big goal and whether we could keep going after completing the 100. Doubts were beginning to surface!

    At 7:30pm, we rolled out in darkness on the climb up Coit Rd to Pacheco Ridge and the newly added Phoneline loop. On the previous week's Coe ride, my MagicShine with the original battery had gone to red a little faster than I had expected, so I was being very conservative with my light usage. On the climbs, I used just my bar light set to low, stealing illumination from ElHombre & Plymmer. On the fire road descents, I turned on my helmet light. On single-track descents, I bumped my bar lights up to high. This combination gives me an almost-daylight view and I was able to take the descents much faster.

    The climb up to Pacheco Ridge went quite quickly and we turned up towards Phoneline Trail. Skyline35 (& locoyokel?) had worked this trail, brushing and marking the parts that were difficult to follow. On the last Hard COEre 100, we had to do some extra loops at the end to bring up the 100 miles, so this addition was planned to expand the course to exactly 100 miles.

    I had the course in my Garmin, but still missed the Phoneline trailhead. ElHombre & I doubled back and found it marked by a rock cairn. Phoneline was to be quite an adventure. I have descended it only once before, and that was more of an expedition to find it than actually ride it! It is quite steep, much more than I remembered, and very loose in parts.

    One of these loose corners was my undoing, as my front wheel slipped out and I went tumbling. I was going slowly at the time, so no scrapes. The front wheel had wedged under a tree, annoyingly. I pulled it out and got back on and started back down. The steering was extremely squirly and I knew something was wrong. I stopped and sure enough, I had a flat.

    I run tubeless on both tires and I was hoping that the bead had somehow not been dislodged from the rim. I pumped some air in, but couldn't get enough pressure to reseat it. ElHombre had a CO2 cartridge but I didn't want to waste it without being sure it would reseal so decided to throw in a tube.

    I was annoyed at myself for not being more cautious and costing us 15 more minutes of delay. It was difficult to do the repair as it was quite a steep section of trail, but with ElHombre's help I eventually got the tube mounted and we were on our way again.

    Other than this mishap, Phoneline was fun, although I'd have much more fun on it during daylight hours. It's certainly much preferable to a descent of Coit Rd. The trail dumped us out on a bend on Coit Rd, and we continued the descent then began climbing up Coit Rd again.

    Coit & County Line Rd (8:20pm, 61 mi)
    For some reason, I thought we had another ridge to climb before reaching County Line Rd, so I was quite surprised, and pleased, when we reached the end of Coit Rd, at County Line Rd.

    I forgot about the Turkey Pond loop and began down County Line Rd but ElHombre reminded us that we need to descend Turkey Pond first. The course is king! And so we headed north on County Line and dropped down Turkey Pond Trail.

    Turkey Pond is more open than Phoneline, so faster and better for night riding. There are, however, always trees down in need of a chainsaw to clear. Last year there were three and this year there are still three blocking the trail. Plymmer has done some work to make them more easily passable, so we weren't held up too much.

    Quite weirdly, we actually got a bit lost at the bottom of Turkey Pond Trail - somehow we made a left turn where we should have gone straight - one of those things you'd never do in daylight! We only lost a couple of minutes then were on our way up County Line Rd to Dutch's Trail.

    The ascent of County Line is quite a pleasant climb, as fire road climbs go, and I enjoyed climbing it alongside ElHombre the whole way. It has a nice surface and at times, a cool breeze. We lingered 5 minutes before taking off down Dutch's... nobody seemed to want to lead it

    I was still feeling strong so I tackled and cleaned all the ridge climbs on Dutch's. ElHombre & Plymmer were feeling a little more worn out and chose to walk a few of them. Having better lights made a big difference too.

    At one point in the trail, I found a big rock right in the center of the trail hidden by grass. I almost ran into it which would have resulted in a nasty crash. Being in an open meadow, there's no way it could have got there naturally. But I can't believe some anti-cycling hiker would have dragged it out there maliciously either. Just weird. I moved it off the trail.

    I was leading the way, and with my lights was pulling ahead of Plymmer & ElHombre, so I would often pause and wait for them to catch up. Then I noticed they weren't there and stopped and waited for some sign. Lights are usually easy to see from a distance but all I saw was darkness behind me. I turned my lights off and was immediately drawn to the sky - so much going on up there that you never see from the Bay Area!

    After 4 mins, I thought I had better go and find out what happened and climbed back up. Eventually, I found them with ElHombre's bike inverted - he had broken his chain! Fortunately he had the pieces to fix it and was just about ready to go by the time I arrived.

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We continued on down Dutch's. I was enjoying it immensely - in a much different way to a daylight descent. As we neared the bottom, we saw lights on the other side of the small valley - wow, we had caught up with the newbies! Given our lazy stop at Pacheco and mechanical on Dutch's, I wondered about this - they must have got lost somehow.

    When we got to the bottom and began climbing up out of the creek, I realized that they were way off to the side, so were off trail. I wasn't sure whether we should attempt to contact them (they had definitely seen us coming), or get to the top of this valley and find them there.

    We kept climbing and found them waiting for us. They had indeed got lost, had missed the trail on the other side of the creek and gone down the creek bed instead. They decided to wait for us and ride at a slower, guided pace for the rest of the route! You have to know Coe pretty well to ride out here at night!

    So we all continued up over the small, but steep ridges to Yellowjacket Pond. I tried to clean them and I think got them all but one. At Yellowjacket Pond, we lost the trail for a moment before I remembered that it went off to the right - Plymmer & I had stopped here for a bite to eat on a previous ride so it was fresh in my memory.

    Eventually, we descended Tie Down to North Fork and then Kaiser-Aetna Rd. I suggested to the newbies that it was fairly straightforward from here if they wanted to sprint ahead but they wanted no part of that and chose to hang with us! And so up the ugly Kaiser-Aetna Rd climb we went - actually, it wasn't as bad in the dark - I think half of its ugliness in daytime is that you can see it going up for quite a while ahead. Recognizing this, I made a point of turning off the light on my Garmin and just letting it roll by.

    ElHombre & I climbed at a comfortable pace. I was surprised that the newbies hadn't overtaken us and instead fell back to a slow climbing pace. Were they at their limit?

    Dowdy Ranch (10:52pm, 70.5 mi)

    It's always a relief to pull into Dowdy after a Kaiser-Aetna climb and this day was no different. The temperature was dropping quickly and the sweat from the climb was chilling me. I put my wind jacket on and began wishing that I had something warmer!

    From Henry Coe Everest Challenge - Oct 2011


    We refilled water (no filtering needed), ate what food we had left and rested for about 23 mins. The newbies, who were originally going for the full 29K', but had revised to doing the 100 miles, were now asking for bailout routes. We gave some options although suggested that they should ride with us at least as far as Wagon Rd to avoid the turn down Dormida Trail - almost a guaranteed mistake that would end badly without clear directions and experience of that intersection. I described it as best I could but after their "Bermuda Triangle" experience, they decided to play it safe and stick with us as far as Wagon Rd.

    I thought Plymmer or ElHombre might lead up Burra Burra Trail, but neither felt that they could clean it so encouraged me to lead. I did clean it, stopping at one point to try and move another big rock in the middle of the trail (this one was mostly buried!).

    I almost turned down Dormida Trail myself, until I saw the metal post that reminded me where I was! The newbies said they were sure they would have gone the wrong way if they were solo. This needs a good sign post!

    Down onto Center Flats Rd for the hard miles back to Wagon Rd. I encouraged the newbies to take Center Flats at their own pace - it's easy to follow and we would be resting on the tops of the rollers quite frequently. The only trick is taking the correct fork to the final climb to Wagon Rd, but missing it is not so bad since it takes you to Wagon as well. But still they wanted to stay with us.

    Center Flats went by much easier than I expected. I had no trouble with the rollers until we got to the big ones near the end when it took more focus to climb than I was able to muster! I forgot that there were long sections of downhill on Center Flats in this direction that actually make it quite fun.

    On the other hand, I was beginning to get quite tired. It was around midnight and I had been up since 3:45am. I found myself nodding off on some of the roller climbs which was a completely new experience! I really needed a good dose of caffeine.

    We pushed up the final climbs towards Wagon with the newbies taking the lead. Fortunately, they stayed within earshot so we were able to make sure they caught the turnoff to the correct climb to Wagon Rd. On our last ride, Plymmer had impressed me by cleaning this whole section; I felt good so decided to give it a try. Perhaps it was the tiredness but it didn't take long on the steepest part of the climb for me to bail out and push!

    Wagon Rd & Center Flats Rd (12:54am, 75.7 mi)
    This ended up being my slowest climb of Center Flats Rd recorded, a good 20 minutes slower than our pace last year. But this ride had long become about survival! The newbies had decided upon a bailout route and were going to descend Wagon Rd, probably all the way to Willson Camp then Lyman-Willson back to the cars. They thought that they might take Wasno and Tule Pond but weren't sure.

    On Center Flats, Plymmer had been struggling about as much as I'd ever seen. Were were all tired, but he seemed to be suffering the most. I figured ElHombre was probably in quite a bit of pain still - I had seen him grabbing his ribs often - so I offered that I was ok with bailing out. Although none of us wanted to do quit, I felt we had good enough reasons to do so and we needed to at least consider the possibility.

    ElHombre, however, was ok to go on. Once he was decided, I was fairly sure that Plymmer was going to continue no matter what but I wasn't sure if he was feeling pain or tiredness so we asked. He gave it some thought but decided to finish what we had started.

    The 29K' goal was looking unachievable at this point, but we still didn't write it off. Once we got back to the car, we hoped that food and the chance to rest might be enough to spark us back to life. I ate a food bar but had a great deal of trouble getting it down - severe indigestion. That was the first health problem I'd suffered so far and fortunately it passed in a few minutes. I guess it was the hard work of Center Flats taking its toll. I was able to eat ok after this point.

    And so we parted with the newbies and headed up Wagon Rd for the final 25 mile loop. Fortunately, ElHombre had planned the route to have this loop with relatively easy climbing towards the end. After Center Flats, it felt quite easy climbing Wagon and I quite enjoyed the descent of Live Oak Spring Trail. After the descent, the flat part seemed to go on forever but eventually we reached Coit Rd and after a 4 min break to regroup, we turned up Coit Rd.

    I found my toes were starting to go numb from the cold, so I put some chemical warmers in my shoes; these little wonders kept my toes at a comfortable temperature the rest of the night - I completely forgot they were there!

    The Coit Rd climb is steep enough to be hard work but I was welcoming all climbs at this point as I was finding myself getting quite cold on descents, or while waiting to regroup. A quick descent down Coit Rd was fun, followed by another climb up Coit then up Crest. We rested briefly at the Crest-Coit intersection, although I don't recall why!

    My lights were doing really well - still showing green (full charge) several hours into the ride. So I pumped them up to full for the Kelly Lake Trail descent. I was ready for the tricky parts of the descent so enjoyed it. I was still a full 2 mins slower than last year (also in the dark) but for some reason it didn't feel slow!

    Kelly Lake (2:51am, 82.7 mi)
    We only rested here a few minutes, wanting to attack the Coit Rd climb to Wasno and get it over with. It is one of my least favorite climbs although much better in the dark. I checked off the landmarks that marked our progress: the first bend which marks the first steeper section, the switchback that marks the turn towards to the top and easier grades, then the tree cover which marks the approach to the top. And fairly quickly, we were at the top.

    I had climbed the whole road with ElHombre, although at the top either he faded or I accelerated. This seemed to be happening on a few of the fire road climbs - perhaps it was my competitive subconscious taking over? Strava is in my subconscious.. help!

    Plymmer was not far behind us at all, so he had clearly found a second (or third...) wind!

    At Wasno and Coit, I knew there was cell reception so we updated MTBR (ElHombre & I sending independent updates accidentally) and rested for 13:30 mins. Neither he nor Plymmer were at all interested in taking the little singletrack that joins Coit & Wasno! So we went down to the road junction and headed off down Wasno Rd.

    We got to Dexter and with little pause, began our descent. I put my lights on full and went as fast as I dared. A branch had hit my helmet light earlier on Live Oak Spring Trail and it was not as tight as it used to be so I found it unsteady on the trail causing me to have to slow to see properly.

    Once we regrouped, we continued on down Grizzly Gulch towards Wagon Rd. A couple of times, I got the dreaded chain suck which, thus far, I had mostly been able to avoid. I had little tolerance for mechanicals at this point so was getting quite pissed off when the chain got itself wedged. Fortunately, they were all fixable without the use of tools, some just by backpedalling without even stopping. I think they got worse at this time because the grass was getting wet causing the chain to get wet as well.

    The route along Grizzly Gulch was otherwise a lot of fun and I was still feeling physically great. I was still quite tired, though, and finding myself drifting off "at the wheel", so I hammered the last bits of Grizzly Gulch, hoping to ward off the tiredness with hard work, and create a gap so I could shut my eyes for a few minutes at Wagon Rd.

    Some find the idea of actually napping on a ride a bad one, but I've used short naps before the instantly refresh myself. I'd never do it solo (who knows how long I'd be out!) but with our trio, I felt safe to lay my bike down, lay myself down in a semi-comfortable position and close my eyes. Sleep came almost instantly. I heard the others arrive and I saw Plymmer collapse on the ground as soon as he saw me down ElHombre, our leader, fortunately stayed conscious and after about 7 minutes he announced that we really needed to get going!

    I felt much better after my nap, although the relief was only temporary. We had a little more climbing to do up Wagon Rd, then a descent down to Willson Camp. Again, on the descent, I found myself nodding off so I repeated my drop-and-snooze there, getting another 5 minutes of refreshing shut-eye. Plymmer, I think, did the same which must have left ElHombre wondering if we were ever going to get to the end!

    Willson Camp (4:31am 89 mi)
    - If we kept the same pace as last year, we should have finished around 4am so it was with some regret that we watched that mark fly past with about 15 miles still to go. But every year will be different - the goal is just to finish - quite hard enough without time pressure!

    Last year I had a strong feeling of dread about heading down into Vasquez but this year, it didn't worry me at all. It turns out this was because I had completely forgotten about the steepness of the climbs, having in my memory a great photo of Plymmer climbing Vasquez Peak at sunset on what my memory had turned into a pleasant, mild ridge climb.

    From Henry Coe - end of Hard COEre 100 - Nov 2010


    We took the descent down Vasquez Rd very carefully, remembering that it is severely rutted and dangerous at speed. Then a turn and we are faced with a wall. My Garmin went ballistic and says it averages 37%.. 30-32% perhaps. Probably cleanable on the right day.

    After that there are the steep rises up Vasquez Peak, averaging 12.5% over a third of a mile, with several 25% walls. I clean them but not without pain. It seems forever until the Long Dam Trail sign appears but I'm thrilled when it does!

    Since ElHombre & Plymmer are pushing the climbs, I again drop to the dirt and close my eyes. 8 minutes later, I am awoken and ElHombre leads the way down Long Dam Trail.

    Long Dam is difficult to follow in the best of conditions. We stop at one point seeing where the trail appears to go but having no memory of it crossing a creek and climbing steeply. Realizing our memories must be wrong, and my Garmin route seeming to confirm it, we take it and soon are on our way to Wagon Rd.

    The Wagon Rd climb to Phegley Ridge is somewhat daunting but also somewhat exciting since it is the last big climb of the ride. ElHombre & I again rode together and I thought we were keeping a pretty good pace, although it turns out we were climbing 3:30 mins slower than last year! It seems tiredness trumps physical tiredness since last year I was physically exhausted while this year I am mentally tired but physically fine.

    I resisted the urge to look at my Garmin and watch the summit approach, feeling it was better to just plod away and let the summit come to us when we get there. Eventually, I see the early turnoff to Phegley Ridge Trail and a minute later we hit the summit.

    I'm extremely impressed to find that Plymmer is right there behind us! How many winds can this amazing climber summons?

    Wagon Rd Summit (5:40am, 93.6 mi)
    It's cold and foggy up here so we don't linger long. Both ElHombre & Plymmer remind me that there is actually one more "little climb" to come - I didn't recall it at all!

    I was really hoping that with the Phoneline extension, we wouldn't have to add any extra loops to make up the miles. Checking my Garmin it looked like it matched up exactly giving us dead on 100 miles at Hunting Hollow.

    I am last to begin the descent while I try to figure out my glasses which are fogging up with the thick fog in the air. Eventually I give up and take them off.

    Strong bar lights help a lot in fog (lower to the ground) so I am able to descend much faster and pass by Plymmer and ElHombre on the way down. I manage only 25 mph, nothing like the 37 mph I got descending here in daylight last year, but it feels like flying in these conditions.

    We regroup at Hunting Hollow Rd. Last year, ElHombre sprinted along here to the end, undoubtedly using his finish-line gravity that got us to the end of the Terrible Two double century!

    So, feeling good, I up the pace but find Plymmer & ElHombre don't follow. I wasn't interested in winning this particular race so slowed and we all rode into Hunting Hollow together at 6:10am, just short of 24 hours of our starting time.

    I was watching my Garmin's odometer the whole way wondering if I would make 100 miles and sure enough, as soon as I passed the portapotties, triple digits appeared and, for me at least, additional loops weren't required!

    Hunting Hollow (6:10am, 100 mi)
    ElHombre checked his Garmin and found it slightly short on distance and elevation, probably due to a Garmin crash earlier, but it was so close that he decided to do a quick loop to round it off.

    The big question at this point was if anyone had anything left to tackle another 9,000' of climbing. Sunrise was just beginning but we put off seeking eachother's opinions until we had eaten and rested a few minutes.

    I wanted out of my bike clothes so first priority was to change. I had brought a spare set for the extra loops. Plymmer brought around some deliciously salty chips. As we relaxed, it became pretty clear that we were done and it was a formality to agree.

    ElHombre & Plymmer cleaned up and headed out straight away. I didn't trust myself to drive so far while so tired, so decided to sleep as long as I could in my car then head out. I snacked on chips, chocolate and all sorts of sugary, salty junk food, ran my engine for a few minutes for heat then switched on the seat warmer and dozed off.

    I normally don't sleep well upright (plane trips to Australia are sleepless nightmares for me) but it was 2 hours before I woke up again. It wasn't my plan, but I checked myself to see if I felt up to going out on the Everest loops. My head felt woozy, my mouth raw and disgusting, but my legs felt good. It could be done. I was thinking it might be easier to ride more than to face a long drive while so tired.

    I took a walk to the portapotties to make my decision. It was still cold, and really, that decided it for me: no more, I'm done. I suppose I was looking for any excuse but I think, really, I didn't want to do it without my compadres by my side!

    The drive home was fortunately uneventful. I had to stop for gas which broke it up nicely and I had a packet of good crunchy chips (crunchy food is my secret for staying awake on sleepy drives). I was home around 10am, jumped out of the car, showered and went straight to bed. My wife came in from the San Jose Rock-n-roll half-marathon and woke me about 4 hours later. I never really felt human again until I had a beer later in the afternoon!

    In hindsight, I think it was the change of start time that really did us in. I think we were all physically stronger and better prepared this year than last. We rested far too long again, most of the extra 2.5 hours going in rest time this year. Tarantulafest was the main culprit, but it was impossible to just pay a fleeting visit with so much activity up there!

    In the past year, I've done three roadie double centuries and wanted to compare them to this while both are fresh in my mind - this is by far the hardest ride I've done, even harder than the Devil Mountain Double which I thought topped it all!

    So, the Everest Challenge remains unclaimed. I think that we are going to do it one day. It may need a special course of its own to avoid the temptation of returning to Hunting Hollow prematurely, and the start time is clearly going to be critical. We may need to do some food stashing, or arrange for a trail angel to deliver us some mid-ride. But with coordination and determination (and stubbornness) I think we can do it!
    Last edited by ratpick; 10-05-2011 at 10:36 AM.

  99. #99
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    what an adventure. thanks for sharing in detail. Congrats to all! I have some unfinished business with Coe, I think rediculous vertical there someday could be the ticket for me.

  100. #100
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick
    Hard COEre 100, the second running…

    I love reading ride reports! Especially Coe reports since I know the trails there well enough
    that, as I read, I could put myself there.



    Paul L - neat video. If Dirk does a documentary again this year, maybe that can be incorporated.

    ///Charlie
    Long live long rides

  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg View Post
    I had this video ready to post before you even finished the ride;
    So that was you, I was the one hanging with Roy.

    Dang Ratpick, that was a small novel, when your old you can put these together in a book and peddle them to kids in the hunting hollow parking lot "you know kids...."

    Was fun to tag along with you guys, takes a lot of metal fortitude to pull off a ride like this.

    The only interesting story I have is up on top of steer ridge a couple of the young guys had just caught up with me when I noticed a pig trap up ahead with 1 huge pig in the trap with at least 2 babies, another large one outside the trap with another one or two babies outside of it. As we rolled up to it the one's outside shot off quickly and the ones inside started going crazy. Just then the BIG one (guessing maybe 300 pounds?) blew out the door which was chain locked open to my surprise, pretty impressive seeing this huge pig run out just a little ways from us, luckily it was interested in just getting space between us.

  102. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    So that was you, I was the one hanging with Roy.

    Dang Ratpick, that was a small novel, when your old you can put these together in a book and peddle them to kids in the hunting hollow parking lot "you know kids...."
    Ha, yes it is. Perhaps we need a tshirt for anyone who successfully completes reading it all!

  103. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by plymmer
    I get through Burra Burra Trail, walking the hills and soon Center Flats Road is upon me. I walk most of the hills. When I try to ride, I am falling asleep. Delirious. I have no power. The breaks are plentiful and I am grateful. Grueling and painful. How can I continue on and stay on the bike. I catch myself from veering off the trail constantly. If I fall I won't get up. I will curl up and sleep forever. The lateness of the night is a huge factor. I'm normally home asleep and dreaming. I feel like a zombie. Sleep is forcing its way and taking over my body. I shake my head. When I stop, I put my head down and doze instantly, in another land but still there. I have to keep going. If not to finish the route at least to get back to the car. Soon that is all I am thinking about. I can't imagine doing 20 more miles at this point. How?
    F'n awesome. I'm saving Ratpick's epic writeup for later in the day. Work to do now...

  104. #104
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    I was going to do a full writeup as well, to complete a Rashomon-style three-point perspective, but can't seem to get around doing it (when I do, it will probably first appear over here) and since Plymmer and Ratpick covered everything pretty well, I'll just add an executive summary and some photos...

    Lots of activity on Hunting Hollow in the morning, we'd start out with about nine riders. Seven going after the hundred miler, five amongst them for the full Everest Challenge. After a long and eventful day and night, three would finish the 100 miler at the crack of dawn, leaving the tantalizing heights of Everest for another occasion...


    Early morning hustle and bustle on Hunting Hollow




    Daybreak on Lyman-Willson




    Dawn patrol




    Ratpick ascending Steer Ridge




    Lead group at the top of Cross Canyon




    TahoeBC's new best friend




    The Mighty Mahoney Wall; the yellow spot in the back is Plymmer taming the beast




    Regroup and festivities at HQ




    Middle Ridge anticipation










    All that fun had a price...




    ... a steep price




    This guy offered me some distraction during the neverending climb of Bear Mountain




    A message to us from beyond




    Trailside repairs by night




    Pondering options




    Done


  105. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick View Post
    As usual, my post-ride ritual is to write as much detail down as I can so I can "free my mind" and move on! There are probably drugs that would do this more easily, but I like going back and reading these recaps months (or years) later......

    .....So, the Everest Challenge remains unclaimed. I think that we are going to do it one day. It may need a special course of its own to avoid the temptation of returning to Hunting Hollow prematurely, and the start time is clearly going to be critical. We may need to do some food stashing, or arrange for a trail angel to deliver us some mid-ride. But with coordination and determination (and stubbornness) I think we can do it!
    Great writeup; it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Great accomplishment.

    -D

  106. #106
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    Absolutely incredible! Thanks for the great write-ups.

  107. #107
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    You guys are inSANE!

    That was the hardest ride I've ever done, and I didn't even finish. It was impressive to watch Roy clean the Mahoney? wall just before China Hole... that was a beast, I couldn't help but think he shouldn't have later that night!! I also didn't realize Dirk had blown his ribs, I can only imagine that sucked for the following eighty miles. It was truly impressive to watch Patrick riding away up all the nearly verticals on Center Flats, while I was trying to convince Aaron we should cut it short (he only relented when I reminded him we'd probably have to ride the last couple hours on our tiny LEDs)... Patrick's effort made me certain that the Everest challenge can be done.

    I'm definitely going to have to return one day to clean at least the 100, though I think I'll start in the afternoon and catch a few hours sleep at night, and stop where I drop the following evening. That way the mentally easiest section from HQ to Mississippi could be done at night.

    Aaron (black Mojo) and Dain (BlurXC) have some great photos, I'll try to aggregate and post some.

    Thank very much for planning out such a legendary beast of a ride!

    -Sean

  108. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanA View Post
    You guys are inSANE!
    Hey Sean!

    Our insaneness was a known quantity though since we've done this before I was truly impressed by the four you attacking a ride like this without having ridden the depths of Coe before. *That's* hard core!

    And I hope you realize my use of "newbie" above is entirely ironic

    Great riding with you guys!

  109. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanA View Post
    You guys are inSANE!
    ...
    I'm definitely going to have to return one day to clean at least the 100, though I think I'll start in the afternoon and catch a few hours sleep at night, and stop where I drop the following evening.
    ...
    Thank very much for planning out such a legendary beast of a ride!

    -Sean
    This ride was indeed completely insane. Really at the human limits of super-fit performance.

    I'm glad to hear nobody was seriously hurt. Just a lot of pain from pushing. And the reports of the attempt were amazing to read. Thanks to Plymmer and Ratpick for the great detailed writeups.

    It seems Sean might have the secret to finisihing this ride. Start early, get some sleep as needed to allow yourself to finish.

    With that approach I might just be tempted to do this ride myself next October,... and November. Maybe a little of December too.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  110. #110
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    recap

    Copy/pasted below from 2011 Hard COEre 100, 2011/10/1
    ... I'm sinning with the non-use of mtbr handles, and am also reusing some of my previous and Patrick's photos, but you'll have to give me a pass on those.

    Hunting Hollow, 2011/10/1, 6.35 am
    The contrast with last year's edition (midnight, 3 vehicles on the entire parking lot, near freezing temperatures) is striking: the large lot is now buzzing with activity; the night has been relatively warm with only a few high clouds obscuring the skies. We exchange our hellos, greet new partners-in-crime and prepare to get started. About 10 riders are lining up: 7 of them going for at least the 100 miler, 5 for the full Everest Challenge, among them the 3 veterans of last year. Eric the Nightrider will be embarking on his own solo expedition, which he'll dub the "Four Corners of the Apocalypse"... we don't ask many questions, Coe park has a tendency to attract the adventurous and the eccentric. My buddy Tom is there, providing moral support and spare lights, and Jeff, aka TahoeBC, shares his brave intention to join us as long as his recently-dislocated shoulder would allow him. Some unknowing campers are a little startled by the early hustle and bustle, but take it with a smile.

    I hold a short briefing, before we get started with the steep 2 mile/1200 foot climb up Lyman-Willson trail, a good introduction if anything to what lies ahead. On this first climb of the day, I push the pace a bit to see how the crowd responds and it becomes quickly clear that we have assembled a fine and fit group here - once on the ridge, we witness the day break in pretty spectacular fashion and a quick photo stop is in order.





    (photo Patrick H.)



    Camp Willson
    Three guys in the group are Coe-virgins and one is a second timer. While a bit concerned, I'm admiring their gutsy move of taking on this thing as their first (or second) ride in Coe. From our previous email correspondence and quick conversations in the morning I was convinced they knew what they were doing, so I quickly put my worries about their well-being to rest, and encourage them to go for it and hammer out the course if they would feel inclined to do so - their biggest obstacle would be navigating the often tricky maze of trails in this vast place. I send them off to Steer Ridge, and start the climb a bit later alongside Patrick, Roy and briefly Tom. We reel in Jeff, who took a bit of a head start and he reports back the sighting of some wild boar near and in the pig traps on the ridge. Coe's fauna has a special affinity to Jeff, as we find out repeatedly.




    Coit Road
    Everyone is loving the Spike Jones / Timm descent, a fast and furious singletrack combo, and the switchbacked Anza trail (fun going both up and down) generates additional grins. On the fireroad climb toward Cross Canyon the bunch regroups, while Jeff plays snakemaster with a small constrictor on the side of the road. Patrick and I lead the group to the steep climb on lower Cross Canyon trail, starting with a tricky left-hander that I was intent on not dabbing. I make it, only to drift slightly off-course and be forced to put a foot down fifty yards farther; a duh-moment, though today would not be about cleaning, but surviving, as Roy will remind me. Soon we reach the crest and are looking forward to a fine descent into the canyon.




    Cross Canyon
    I'm picking myself up from the steep patch of loose gravel right before the first creek crossing; the crash left me gasping for breath and I feel some dull pain on my right side. During the dreaded fraction-of-a-second of enhanced consciousness right before impact I saw my front wheel jerk to the left after giving apparently too much front brake, anticipating the dried out creek crossing. My bike is set up with two small handlebar bags as well as a stem bag (all loaded with food), so I decide to blame the incident on my unfamiliarity with its altered handling, rather than dismal descending skills. The bike is suffering some minor damage as well: a broken fork remote lockout lever. And my bar mounted LED is whacked off, but I will only notice after I will have climbed out of the canyon.


    (photo Patrick H. - yes, he actually captured the crash)



    Willow Ridge road & trail
    A little shaky and sore, I'm moving cautiously during our passage through the canyon; after the long climb out - the Cross Canyon Wall looking as daunting as ever - we run into the rest of the group again on the ridge and head to Hoover Lake. At the airstrip, Jeff takes a tarantula along for the ride. On Willow Ridge trail, as fine a downhill as they come, I regain my confidence, just in time to dodge the plentiful bushes of poison oak sprouting along its thread near the bottom part.




    Coe Headquarters
    Some amazing contrasts on this ride: from the dark solitude of our pre-dawn climb to the Tarantulafest party & barbecue at headquarters; this is a benefit event of its own for Coe park, and going on in full force when we arrive. The long climb up here - over the mighty Mahoney Wall (Roy cleaning it as if it was a speed bump), Lost Spring trail (additional quality time with poison oak), China Hole (nice, gradual), and the reviled Manzanita fire road, has been troublesome for me - with sore ribs acting up, and the impending dread of the many more hard miles coming up I start to fantasize about joining the party then calling it a day. We run into the always cheerful Paul L., who's doing some impromptu GoPro video interviews, and he inspires me to put my game face back on. Some caffeine-laden drinks at HQ, the food on the grill, the buzzing activity and the party chatter put me back in business, and after a long break during which the entire bunch has regrouped, we take off again. Scott and his buddy Dane, who were traveling light and fast, decide to peel off at this point. They probably could have gone faster if they'd known their way around here, but weren't prepared for the deep dive into the backcountry at night. Aaron and Sean, the other two relative Coe-newbies, radiate fortitude, are good with the map and stay on course, taking off toward Flat Frog trail - I wonder if we'll see them again.




    Middle Ridge
    The thrills and adrenaline this trail dishes out never get old; Poverty Flat road and Bear Mountain don't seem that insurmountable anymore... or will the delirium wear off quickly, once confronted with the hard facts? We'll see. Jeff splits off now and heads toward the Creekside trail. He's been going pretty strong, for not having ridden in a few weeks, with a semi-functioning shoulder.





    (photo Patrick H.)



    Bear Mountain
    After we dragged ourselves over Poverty Flat, sporting an odious dusting of cake mix in spots, there would be time for recovery on a few flat miles, before we'd tackle the toughest climb of the day. At least, if the Narrows trail wouldn't be such a bumpy mess. The final stretch of flat fireroad afterwards is easy enough though, an ominous counterpoint to what lies behind the bend. When the first, ludicrously steep pitches of Bear Mountain become visible, we immediately spot Aaron and Sean struggling high up the hill, probably about 20 minutes ahead of us. Until now, Roy, Patrick and I mostly rode together, but during the ascent it becomes clear that Patrick has the most fuel left in the tank, and is most eager to crank out the power. He'll be dropping us on most of the climbs during the remainder of our journey. Roy and I retreat in our respective pain caves and while hiking the steepest pitches of Bear Mountain, I find a receptive audience for my complaints in a rare horned lizard, taking in some sun on this hottest part of the day.





    (photo Patrick H.)



    Pacheco Camp
    The five remaining 100+ mile riders are briefly reunited at Pacheco Camp. Patrick has laid down a fast pace on these past few miles. Heritage trail was a beautifully primitive and fine descent but I didn't quite enjoy the subsequent passage of Pacheco Creek trail. The upper parts were overgrown and rough, and took a toll on me. I remember feeling very strong here last year whereas now, all I can think of is the possibility of some trail angels making an appearance at the camp, handing us out various goodies. Alas, it would turn out Charlie and crew indeed came by here, but missed us by about 45 minutes. The golden hour has almost passed and doubt creeps in again... this place is an easy bailout point. But no, that would make for a sad, depressing and lonely ride home, after having come so far. And thus without further ado I join the others, install lights, filter water and prepare for a long night.


    (photo Patrick H.)




    (photo Patrick H.)






    Dutch's trail
    I'm a bit dismayed to see that many snagging branches I had trimmed down on this fine trail months ago seemed to have grown back together. On one of the short steep uphill pitches I feel my chain break and curse. The drivetrain had been acting up for a while, probably a link was bent earlier on. After Patrick's flat on Phoneline trail (quite a trip in the dark), this is our second night-time mechanical. Luckily the fix is quick and we carry on. Approaching the lower section of this fantastic ridgeline trail - a genuine 'Blair Witch project' experience by night, with heaps of weirdly shaped chamise lighting up in our headlights - we see what must be Aaron's and Sean's lights, moving apparently slightly off course.


    (photo Patrick H.)



    Dowdy Ranch
    After we had swept them up, Aaron and Sean decided to stick around with us, probably not a bad idea in this confusing and remote section of the park. I feel somewhat revived on the usually brutal Kaiser-Aetna climb toward Dowdy Ranch and am surprised that Patrick and I seem to be dropping the rest. It must be the absence of heat that makes this thing easier. My helmet light had come off its mount and I thought the mount had broken, so I zip tied it together, making for a slightly more wobbly light spot than I cared for (I found out later that it was just a screw that had worked itself loose - Magicshine owners, beware). A break at the deserted facilities is welcomed by all, but it is getting colder, so we layer up and quickly start to get moving again, onward to Burra Burra trail.


    (photo Patrick H.)



    Center Flats road
    This is the section of the course that can really break a rider. The relentless grades of Center-non-Flats show no mercy. Patrick is still going insanely strong and cleaning an impressive amount of the steep rollers thrown at us; Aaron, Sean and I are limping along, but I'm getting a bit concerned about Roy. He's often falling behind, seems to reside in a catatonic state and hardly utters a grunt when I talk to him. I hand him some chocolate covered coffee beans, my late-night secret weapon. There is talk about bailing. I don't want to hear about it and suggest we'll decide once we hit Wagon, and are back on trails with civilized grades.

    Wagon road
    The call is made. Roy, who somehow came back to life, Patrick and I continue and take on the final 20 miles of the 100 mile course; Aaron and Sean are running low on lights and batteries and will take a shortcut home. They are a pair of impressive riders, having taken on this challenge in style, on pretty much their first real ride in Coe. I'm convinced they have the capability to pull this off in a strong time, with their newfound experience and some preparation; when we say our goodbyes I urge them to come back and get it done next time.

    These last 20 miles go by in a dreamlike daze. Slow fireroad grinds alternate with frigid singletrack descents, while sleep deprivation and an immense fatigue take a hold of us. The eerily moonless sky is lit up by an unfathomable amount of stars. When Patrick and Roy, who has made an incredible resurrection, take short naps, I joke with them that lethal hypothermia may set in anytime and urge them to get going again. Not sure why I stay awake; the coffee beans, perhaps. We survive the rutted Vasquez-Long Dam debacle, and climb the tough final 500 vertical feet on Wagon road, ridden clean by all three of us, as a matter of honor. Our final descent home is obscured by a dense fog bank, making for dicey conditions, but we all make it safely to Hunting Hollow road. Patrick hammers out the last three miles, but I don't have the energy to keep up with him and ride my own pace, Roy not being too far behind.

    Hunting Hollow, 2011/10/2, 6.17am
    Once we regroup on the parking lot, few words are exchanged and we start to clean up; I'm feeling elation and satisfaction, because of the successful finish in difficult conditions, but mixed in is a slight sense of disappointment, as I knew I was in no shape to even attempt the Everest 'bonus route'. I think the others are sensing the same. Patrick may have come closest to giving it an honest shot, but he seems overwhelmed by sleep, and soon retreats in his car. I look at the time and can't believe it's past 6am; the sky is slowly lighting up. Taking on the long night ride after a full day on the bike had slowly drained our energy and worn us out, more than expected. Last year - with a midnight start - we were able to maintain our pace and finished about three hours faster. I dig out some caffeine, and like Roy, prepare to drive home. The Everest Challenge may have been unmet, but with some new lessons learnt we think it can be done. Some time.

    I would finally like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who donated to the Coe Everest Challenge and CPPF; it's people like you who make the difference, and real results can be achieved, as proven by the successful effort in keeping Coe park open.
    Last edited by ElHombre; 10-05-2011 at 10:48 AM.

  111. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    We reel in Jeff, who took a bit of a head start and he reports back the sighting of some wild boar near and in the pig traps on the ridge. Coe's fauna has a special affinity to Jeff, as we find out repeatedly.
    Great writeup and now we have recaps from the three of us. You're such a stoic Belgian that I had no idea you were suffering, other than frequent grabs at your ribs.

    I'd love to hear Sean and/or Aaron's version of events, just to fill a few gaps!

    I'm beginning to wonder if I do these rides just to relive them!

  112. #112
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    Seriously HARD COERE

    Wow….that was nuts, just a crazy day. I must admit, I underestimated this ride – I’ve done some hundred milers before easily under 12 hours, so I thought we’d be able to get it done in 15 or 16 hours max. I remember saying to Sean in all seriousness before we got started: “dude, I bet we can finish before dark, and then we’ll have plenty of time to knock out Everest.” HAHAHA! Little did I know what awaited us…

    By the way, mtbr won’t let me post images since I haven’t posted at least 10 times (seriously?) but I do have lots of great pictures. If anyone has a good way for me to post or share them, let me know.

    Here’s my recap: The start was HARD! I was not ready for the pace that was set up the first climb, and dangled off the back up until the first downhill singletrack. What have I gotten myself into?? It took about 2 hours for my legs to warm up, and I didn’t start feeling good until that rocky, technical climb along the creek (sorry, I can’t remember trail names). This was where the four of us newbies took off ahead of the main pack, we were riding strong. Dain on his Blur XC was especially hard to keep up with. The morning is pretty much a blur of constant climbing and descending, but I loved the long singletrack climb up to the final fireroad to headquarters, which Sean and I did together. We were both getting super hungry so just decided to push it to HQ and wait for everyone there.

    Over 6 hours to do 34 miles! I was getting worried we were way behind schedule, so Sean and I took off a bit before everyone else after lunch at HQ. We felt AWFUL traversing along Flat Frog Trail because we stuffed our faces with sausage, cheese, and brownies from the Tarantula Festival, but I knew those calories would come in handy later. Middle Ridge descent was crazy fun! Coe has some damn fine trails it turns out! We slogged our way up the moon dust fireroad feeling strong, got kind of lost going up Narrows (ended up in the creek for a few miles instead of on the trail beside it!), and couldn’t believe our freaking eyes when we saw the Bear Mountain climb looming ahead. Are you kidding me! Let the hiking begin. About half way up, we turned around and could see the rest of the group about a half hour behind us.

    Finally made it to the top, hauled ass to Mississippi lake, decided not to stop for water and try to make it to Pacheco. Heritage was yet again another bad-ass descent, but Pacheco Creek trail was simply annoying – I’m still picking those damn pricklies out of my leg hair. We chilled at the campground for probably too long, and were surprised to see the rest of the group catch us! They were obviously riding really well, and I was glad they were close by, as I feared we’d need their help in the dark.

    It was getting dark by the time we left camp (at mile 60 something……Sean and I were laughing at my proclamation that we’d finish before dark). We got a bit lost trying to find the new Phoneline trail, but finally found the entrance….fun little descent. We got lost again at the end of Turkey Pond singletrack, but quickly got back on route. We were flying, both of us surprised at how good our legs felt, and made it to the top of Dutch’s in no time, even stopping to poke at a tarantula for a bit. Dutch’s was great fun, I can’t wait to come back and do it in the daytime. At the bottom of Dutch’s is where our trouble began. We were trying to find Yellowjacket trail, and came upon a sign pointing to Yellowjacket lake. Somehow we lost that trail, did pretty much a complete 180 without meaning to, and ended up on some random goat trail that we thought was Yellowjacket. We descended/bush-whacked our way down through the dark, looking desperately for the lake, but ended up in a dry creekbed instead. Crap! We consulted the map, Sean did some stargazing to orient us, and we realized we went down the wrong valley. ARGH!! Time to climb back up! On the way back, we could see lights descending down Dutch’s, and realized happily that the rest of the group was near and could show us the way. We sheepishly waited for them and allowed the Coe masters to show us the correct way. Patrick was charging! Riding super fast, and Roy and Dirk, although looking a little tired, were riding strong as well.

    Patrick and Dirk took off on that horrible long fireroad climb to Dowdy. I hung back a bit with Sean, who I realized was literally falling asleep on the bike! We stopped for a quick Coke and caffeinated gu recharge as Roy passed us. We were beginning to be concerned about battery life, and rode this climb on our emergency LEDs. Stopping at Dowdy was not fun….Sean was asleep, I was cold, and not looking forward to 30 more miles. Did I mention it was midnight!! This is insanity!!

    Burra Burra and Center Flats were pure misery. Sean and I DEFINITELY would have missed a critical turn there without the rest of the group, so thank you guides!! We couldn’t fathom how Patrick was cleaning all those climbs on Center Flats…we could barely walk up them. Unfortunately, when we got to Wagon, we had to pull the plug – not enough battery for another 4 hours in the dark. We bid adieu to our fellow racers/guides, and told them we’d be back to finish some day! The ride back to Hunting Hollow was quick and relatively painless…..although I was shocked at the steepness of Lyman-Willson and couldn’t believe we had ridden up that so fast earlier in the day!

    2:30am….20 hours on the bike….Footlong spicy Italian subs were devoured immediately….too tired for beer….set up the tent in a daze and passed out hard. I was woken up at 6am when the three strongmen finally finished their journey and cheered them on a bit before passing out again until 9am.

    All I can say is – ABSOLUTELY AMAZING RIDE. Patrick, Dirk, and Roy deserve much applause for pioneering this route and so far being the only people strong enough to finish it. The course was both beautiful and brutal, and was a great intro to Henry Coe. Sean and I had a great day - no mechanicals whatsoever, no crashes, ate and hydrated well, but we weren’t prepared enough to survive an entire night on the bike! We will definitely both be back to crush this ride, now that we know what to expect!

    Cheers!

    -Aaron

  113. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick View Post
    Great writeup and now we have recaps from the three of us. You're such a stoic Belgian that I had no idea you were suffering, other than frequent grabs at your ribs.
    It wasn't too bad really, with the Ibuprofen. The days after have been more painful. I was mainly pissed at myself for such stupid tumble and losing my bar light, but I tried to take it in stride.

  114. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by ayayron View Post
    Wow….that was nuts, just a crazy day. I must admit, I underestimated this ride – I’ve done some hundred milers before easily under 12 hours, so I thought we’d be able to get it done in 15 or 16 hours max. I remember saying to Sean in all seriousness before we got started: “dude, I bet we can finish before dark, and then we’ll have plenty of time to knock out Everest.” HAHAHA! Little did I know what awaited us…

    By the way, mtbr won’t let me post images since I haven’t posted at least 10 times (seriously?) but I do have lots of great pictures. If anyone has a good way for me to post or share them, let me know.
    Aaron, thanks for chiming in, and it was great fun riding with you and the others, and show you a bit of our little playground. Feel free to email me the pics, I'll post them up.

    Coe has some damn fine trails it turns out! We slogged our way up the moon dust fireroad feeling strong, got kind of lost going up Narrows (ended up in the creek for a few miles instead of on the trail beside it!), and couldn’t believe our freaking eyes when we saw the Bear Mountain climb looming ahead. Are you kidding me! Let the hiking begin. About half way up, we turned around and could see the rest of the group about a half hour behind us.
    We were looking at your tracks and could see you got a bit off course in the Narrows. It is tricky at times to find the trail on the side. But yeah, Bear Mountain is hard to miss... such an iconic view, so horrific that it becomes a thing of pure beauty .

    Dutch’s was great fun, I can’t wait to come back and do it in the daytime. At the bottom of Dutch’s is where our trouble began. We were trying to find Yellowjacket trail, and came upon a sign pointing to Yellowjacket lake. Somehow we lost that trail, did pretty much a complete 180 without meaning to, and ended up on some random goat trail that we thought was Yellowjacket. We descended/bush-whacked our way down through the dark, looking desperately for the lake, but ended up in a dry creekbed instead. Crap! We consulted the map, Sean did some stargazing to orient us, and we realized we went down the wrong valley. ARGH!! Time to climb back up! On the way back, we could see lights descending down Dutch’s, and realized happily that the rest of the group was near and could show us the way.
    That's why that area is the Bermuda Triangle of Coe - many riders have disappeared here without a trace .
    But that intersection of Burra Burra and Dormida is probably the most treacherous of all... take a wrong turn and you end up in a hellhole. I will update the site with some extra warning for it.

    All I can say is – ABSOLUTELY AMAZING RIDE. Patrick, Dirk, and Roy deserve much applause for pioneering this route and so far being the only people strong enough to finish it. The course was both beautiful and brutal, and was a great intro to Henry Coe. Sean and I had a great day - no mechanicals whatsoever, no crashes, ate and hydrated well, but we weren’t prepared enough to survive an entire night on the bike! We will definitely both be back to crush this ride, now that we know what to expect!

    Cheers!

    -Aaron
    Thanks much, looking forward to seeing Sean and you back next time!

  115. #115
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    Aaron's pics

    Aaron sent me some great shots, I'm posting them below...










































  116. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by ayayron View Post
    Wow….that was nuts, just a crazy day. I must admit, I underestimated this ride – I’ve done some hundred milers before easily under 12 hours, so I thought we’d be able to get it done in 15 or 16 hours max.
    Now you know why we love Coe so much - extreme is an understatement!

    Great writeup and great to have you guys out there. It provided an extra level of incentive (and distraction, perhaps) and made this year a very different beast from last year.

    I suspect that this ride will be like that - an entirely different ride each year, even if the course is the same.

    If we can find a solution to the sleep "problem", the full Everest is definitely within reach!

  117. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    Aaron sent me some great shots, I'm posting them below...
    Great photos! This...

    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post


    .
    ... oh yeah .. I remember my Bear Mountain virginity being smashed in the same way!

  118. #118
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    Holy Gau-Coe-Moley!!!

    Great write-ups and pics.

  119. #119
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    Just published, Hard COEre Everest Challenge in XXC Magazine

    ElHombre sent this along:



    Not positive that the above will be permanently available so read it now.



    And I don't think this has been posted here yet:

    Last edited by Skyline35; 12-16-2011 at 10:10 AM. Reason: To fix broken link
    Long live long rides

  120. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    ElHombre sent this along:

    Not positive that the above will be permanently available so read it now.
    The embed doesn't seem to work (on my browser)... clicking the link below should work - we're on pages 20-27, yay!

    XXC Magazine #14

    The entire XXCMag backcatalog (14 issues) is accessible for free online reading, so I think it will be available for a while. Though I will encourage folks to buy the pdf download (~$2) or print version (~$11); publisher Jason from, ahem, Soiled Chamois fame, is living and breathing mtb, turned his passion into his job, and I will only encourage such behaviour .

    His about page is pretty funny, an excerpt:
    The goal of XXC Magazine is to combine all the things I love about cycling magazines and try to leave out all the stuff I hate. I don’t want to do bike reviews, have more ads than content, talk about the latest and greatest parts, or tell you how to bleed your brakes (especially since I don’t know how to do that myself!). I don’t want all the efforts of a 100+ mile race summed up in a 50 word blurb. What I do want is for XXC Magazine to capture the beauty, pain, and emotion of long rides and races in the dirt with words and photos by the folks who are doing them.

    Their backcatalog makes for excellent reading during these short winter days; just to be clear: we're not getting any cut from the proceeds or something, so I'm not shilling this for any financial gain.

    Finally, many thanks to the CPPF, everyone who donated or was otherwise involved in keeping Coe open! Though one can argue about the merits of having to use private funds to support public parks, it shows that a positive difference can be made, by anyone.

  121. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratpick View Post
    I just don't seem to be able to sleep enough to wake up today! Here's my track. My Garmin clicked over to exactly 100 miles as we rolled in to Hunting Hollow making this the perfect course!
    Hmm.. can't edit old posts with new MTBR?

    Had to re-upload GPS track to Strava to reclaim some achievements


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    Fun article, too bad about the typo on the height of Everest - some people might not know that Everest is 29,029 not 20,029 - if it were the latter you guys would have made it!

  123. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by locoyokel View Post
    Fun article, too bad about the typo on the height of Everest - some people might not know that Everest is 29,029 not 20,029 - if it were the latter you guys would have made it!
    Thanks for spotting this - somehow all of us have been blind to this most obvious typo. I forwarded it to the publisher (Jason), he can hopefully correct it...

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