Julian Death March Preview (part doux)

by Arlyn on March 22, 2009

The first time Mark’s chain broke, we laughed and joked around while we fixed it. We were enjoying pristine weather on a beautiful desert loop which will be part of the Julian Death March next month.

My lovely ride

It was a beautiful morning to be riding my orange bike.

Stopping to adjust Mark’s front derailleur took awhile, but was fairly straightforward. We never did figure out how it got out of whack in the first place. We had stopped next to this old ranch with what looked like a mining operation going on out back. What would it be like to have a mine in your backyard?

Mark makes the repair

Mark makes the repair.

The second time Mark’s chain broke, we still laughed and made jokes about how these things come in threes. We were on the back side of a loop trail, it would have been a long walk without a chain tool.

The third time Mark’s chain broke, we fixed it quickly without saying much and were on our way. Mark was getting really good at fixing his chain.

The fourth time Mark’s chain broke, we wondered how many links you can remove from a chain before you start walking. The desert flowers were in full swing and really pretty.

Desert Wildflowers

Desert wildflowers had their game on. It was startling to see so much color.

What was making us both pretty nervous was the knowledge that we had been descending all morning. Our altimeters told us that a 2,500 foot climb was approaching. It was still a long walk back to the car if his chain kept breaking every few miles.

Luckily, it did not. It held together as we slowly climbed up a steep and rocky jeep trail. We passed two groups of four-wheelers who were descending. They were nice and pulled off to the side to let us pass without stopping. We got several cheers and appreciative comments. A little girl said we were inspiring.


Imagine if you missed the turn and landed in this thing.

My guts became sore from working to balance my bike as it stumbled over the rocky terrain at less than 3mph. It was a great workout in very dramatic scenery.

Solitary Oak Tree

The Pacific Crest Trail passes by not far from here.

We headed back to the car after 23 miles, cutting our ride in half. We managed to climb almost 4,000 vertical feet so it was still a pretty good day. Next weekend we’ll have a do-over and preview the last 20 miles of the aptly named Julian Death March.

Elevation Chart

It was disconcerting to spend the first 15 miles mostly descending. We knew we’d have to pay for it and justice came in the last seven miles.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Mozealous March 22, 2009 at 10:52 am

Wow, that elevation profile looks rediculous.

Arlyn March 22, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Yeah, it’s nice how it saves all the climbing for the end. Mark and I are thinking about doing this combined with the Cuyamaca Grand Loop!

will March 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm

4 Chain breaks …. ouch.

Why do American events have such great names like the Death March or the Triple Bypass, etc. Whereas the biggest European event of my life was named after a cuddly rodent (La Marmotte).

I love the elevation profile, good luck in the event.

Bryan March 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm

That looks like a great ride. I used to do some mtb’ing back in the day. The chain breaks remind me of how long I’ve had my chain and I know I need to replace it. I need to make that a priority.

Did you change your theme? It looks good.

Arlyn March 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm

@will: Europeans have always been more refined than us coarse New World-ers 🙂

@Bryan: Replace that chain! And yes, it’s a new theme; get Thesis at diythemes.com

Adirondack March 28, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Leadville 100 is no joke. I’m going to read this for motivation while I’m training for the Vermont 50 in the fall.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: