Friday, August 9, 2013


This past weekend, +Kristine Marigomen and I packed up the car and set off for Siskiyou County to tackle the renown (yet largely undiscovered) Shasta Summit Century ride. It was a long drive, and I-5 is flat, straight and boring until we got closer to Lake Shasta. From then on, the drive was very pretty, and Siskiyou County (home of the towering Mount Shasta) was absolutely gorgeous.

Long drive! 5 hours in traffic.

The ride comes in four flavors: super crazy, average crazy, normal and short. I chose to try for the "average crazy" 100-mile route. Kristine opted into the "normal" 60-miler, though in her case, "normal" was more like "super crazy" -- she hadn't been on her bike more than three times in the past year, and hadn't ridden more than 30 miles all together!

Climbs like these make it this ride worthwhile.

My legs had been feeling like crap all week, so it was nice to set out on Sunday morning with company: Quintin and Kim came up as well, and Vitaly, too! My plan was to ride the 100 miles as relaxed as possible, and the rider organizers made that strategy very easy to execute on. Morning-of registration was quick and painless, and the fact that relatively few riders were even out to tackle the ride was a blessing.

Lake Siskiyou and Mount Shasta at sunset.

Kristine had her own little adventure. Ten seconds into her ride, her derailleur hanger broke! Fortunately, she hadn't made it out of the parking lot. Race organizers placed a few quick phone calls, loaded her bike ("Zooey") into a pick-up truck and drove her to the nearest bike shop. The mechanic actually came in hours early to help solve her problem, and she was back on the road again before 8 o'clock. Crisis averted!

They had these at the rest stops, and man, they were delicious.

The roads were quiet and pretty; the aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers there were friendly and helpful. The 100-mile route included three significant climbs, one at mile 42, one at mile 52 and the last one at mile 72, and the sum total elevation gained topped 10,000 feet. The last climb, however, was the most impressive: we climbed Mount Shasta itself, as far up as paved roads go! 14 miles and 4,000 feet. It was probably the longest sustained climb I've ever tackled, but the view from the top was worth it: you could see all the way to Tahoe and well into Oregon.

Extreme visibility (>200 miles?) from the top of Shasta.

All in all, the weekend was a complete success. We camped in a beautiful spot near Lake Siskiyou itself. I hit the 100-mile ride mark for only the second time this year (eep!) and did it while feeling (relatively) good throughout. I even got to eat lunch with Kristine, thanks to some fortunate route-mapping. And Kristine, who had just run her fastest-ever half marathon the morning before, finished her ride, too!

Thanks Shasta, we'll be back!

Mount Shasta from Castle Lake.