The Sierras are Coming

After only two days of cycling, today we already begin our ascent of the Sierras. It seems unfair that we should have to tackle the Sierras so soon. It would have been nice to really get lots of days of training in and really hit our stride.

In stark contrast to yesterday (75 miles and only 350 feet of climbing) today we are planning for 36 miles and about 3,000 feet of climbing. Our destination is Placerville. A lovely little town that, whenever we would drive to Lake Tahoe, was the way post for the “mountains start in earnest here”.

We are expecting today to be challenging and the beginning of several days of increasingly challenging climbs. The end of the week is promising rain and snow and we are slightly concerned that there may still be snow piled up in what would normally be the bike lanes. We may need to hunker down a day or two to wait out the weather.

Furthermore, we are increasingly losing faith in our leader’s navigation and trail reading abilities. We are second-guessing our progress over the past few days and regret every time we stopped for extended breaks. We are seeing great signs of fatigue in the mules and some of the cargo is not tolerating the rough terrain well. I am suspicious of some of our fellow travelers. I think that they are secretly stealing some of our provisions. In particular, I dislike Mary Landrum as she is particularly whiney. Should worse come to worst, I will lobby our leader, George Donner, that we should eat her first.

… Okay, so I was channeling the Donner party there a bit. Actually, we’re not going up the Donner Pass. We’re headed up Highway 88 and Kirkwood near South Lake Tahoe.  This pass is much higher than the Donner pass (yay, us!) but Highway 88 is the recommended cycle pass because it has much less traffic and good bike lanes.

6 thoughts on “The Sierras are Coming

  1. SO excited for your adventure!!! It’s amazing what the human body can do when put to the challenge! You got this!!


  2. think good clean air, not low Oxygen levels. Good climbing. I always liked the uphills because they were slow and I could watch the roadsides. The down trip required attention to the roadway (at 40mph sometimes). Pedal on.


  3. We love your posts! Keep them coming! It’s so wonderful to do this trip vicariously only we wish riding on your coat tails as such would keep us as fit as you two. We know Highway 88 well because it’s our route to Mammoth in the winter. You’ll be rewarded with a remarkable fast decent at Carson Pass. I managed to fracture my right foot in a wide spot of the road on the right just before Woodfords. Maybe you’re planning a little respite at Sorenson’s? It’s a great place to stay with very good food! You’ll deserve the rest! Ralph says to look for Sorenson’s just past where 89 joins 88. Like you need our advice? Hardly!!! Hugs plus attaboy and attagirl! Ralph and Julie


    1. Hi Ralph and Julie. Thanks for the suggestions! We are worried first about the climb TO Carson Pass, but secondly about the descent. I am nervous about going too fast–our heavy bikes & gear create a lot of momentum. We are having a rest day today (rain!) and are planning to check and adjust our brakes.

      Highway 88 has been good to us so far. Not much traffic and enough places to pull over and catch our breath that we don’t feel it’s too dangerous.


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