Three days of road bike Monster climbs along Highway 395 of the Eastern Sierras between Big Pine and Mammoth Lakes. This trip is designed for over-the-hill polka dot wanna-bees looking for good company, no cars, and upward tilting pavement. 20,000 feet of climbing on 4 goliaths in under 140 miles jammed into just 3 days.
“Monster Climbs”… Let that sink in for a minute. These are no ordinary hills; we’re talking massive Goliaths, rising up to the heavens thanks to the miracle to continental drift and plate tectonics. The 3rd Annual Descenders Monster Climbs trip is only a month away – Here’s a course preview.
Day 1 – Big Pine Canyon to Glacier Lodge
This is our warm up climb, ridden after driving 5 hours up Hwy 395 to Big Pine, California. John Summerson ranked this climb #30 in his authoritative The Complete Guide to Climbing (By Bike). With a profile similar to Alpe d’Huez (10 miles and 3,750 feet of climbing) it should do well as the weekend’s appetizer.
Morning of Day 2 – Pine Creek to the old Tungsten Mine
Now for the main course. The first of two Monsters for the day, Pine Creek is a favorite of locals in the Mammoth cycling club and climbs from 4,500’ to almost 8,000’ in just 10 miles.
Afternoon of Day 2 – Lower and Upper Rock Creek up Sherwin Grade
Now that our legs are warm from Pine Creek, it’s time to tackle Sherwin Grade, the first serious incline to be conquered when venturing into the Eastern Sierra. We will attack this 22-mile beast via Lower and Upper Rock Creek Road which becomes the highest paved road in California at 10,250’. After a short rest in the thin air, we’ll enjoy the 20-mile descent back to our motel in Bishop.
Day 3 – South and Sabrina Lakes
If our legs are not completely cranked off by the morning of Day 3, we’ll head out for more. It’s over 20 miles of climbing to get to South Lake, with road gradient ranging from 4-11%. Luckily, we won’t descend all the way back down before taking on the final climb to Lake Sabrina, a beautiful alpine lake. It’s all downhill from there.
Cheers, can’t wait.
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