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Breathless Agony

Saturday,  05/04/24  09:47 PM

Longtime readers know, I used to be a pretty decent bike rider, doing Centuries, Ultra Rides, and even Double Centuries with regulatory.  That was before I became old and fat.  Now I do them with sporatic irregularity, in a futile effort to prove to myself that I am neither older nor fatter.

One of the classic Ultra Rides in Southern California is the aptly-named Breathless Agony, a ride which starts near sea level in Redlands (East of LA) and makes its way up to over 8,000' to the Onyx Pass above Big Bear Lake.  I've done it before, it's never been "fun", I've sworn I would never do it again, and yet, I did.  104 miles, 11,000 feet of climbing, and very little fun, even in retrospect.

Not long after the start - still smiling

Early morning paceline was nice to follow

And so the climbing begins - Glen Oaks pass - in the mist

Ah, the grim reaper, the mascot for this event, I took his picture as he took mine

The cute little Glen Oaks post office
main point of this picture is to note the angle of the parking lot :/

After a lot of climbing and a brief, cold descent, the real climb starts: Damnation Alley, 11miles

The checkpoint in Angelus Oaks ... whew, made it ... took two hours for those 11mi and now I am cooked

I will say it is beautiful climbing into the clouds

A few lone riders each in their own world - Big Bear 24mi ahead - and much climbing left

Finally! - 8,000' marker - means I am almost there.  I have to confess, a lot of stopping and resting.

Incredible views of the snowy peaks - and yes, it was cold, especially when stopped

What's that up ahead?  Could it be ... the finish?  OMG almost there.

Woo hoo!

From here, a 35mi descent back to the start - and man was I cold.  Arm warmers only, no jacket (dummy!).  I actually slowed down to avoid being even colder, which meant my hands got sore from braking.  Not good.

Strava has the whole story ... so much fun I will never do it again.
(You can remind me I said that...)