31st Annual Whitney Classic Recap
A huge thank you to all who participated, supported, and put forth effort to make the Whitney Classic Bike Ride a success!
- 35 riders
- 33 HAM volunteers
- 28 SAM volunteers
- 18 Summit volunteers
- 12 SAG vehicle drivers/supporters
- Start time: 3:00pm Saturday
- Finish times: 10:17pm Saturday – 9:04am Sunday
$83,119 raised (as of this week)
Below you will find snipits from 2012 riders as they reflect on their personal Whitney Classic experiences. We’ll let them tell the story!
“The preparation alone takes nearly as long as riding the event; cars serviced, bikes serviced, tool kit and spare wheels, coolers, water, drinks, ice – lots of ice, food, clothing, helmet, numbers, donations, hotel rooms, logistics, formation of teams, reflector tape, lights, travel, and on, and on…. But that’s what makes an event like the MWC so special and challenging. Before I get too far into my report, the event has been put on by Summit Adventure for the past 31 years, and is Summit’s equivalent of a fund raising Golf Tournament – but held in the most desolate parts of California – sounds like a hoot!”
– Rick Wallace
“In spite of all the challenges associated with doing a ride of this magnitude (extreme heat-cold, long flat distances, climbing up three 5,000’+ mountains, fatigue, and isolation) I enjoyed the ride very much and gained a deep sense of personal accomplishment at being able to continue with the ride when I was ready to quit early on.”
– Gary Fisher (WC 2012 Solo Rider)
“After stops in Stovepipe Wells and then Furnace Creek…we eventually arrived at the start…Badwater, Death Valley, CA. Almost 300-feet below sea level; Badwater is the lowest elevation in North America. Ambient temperature in Badwater was 110-degrees. With added heat radiating from the asphalt, my Garmin registered 117-degrees when the starting conch was sounded. Pretty cool to have a (6-year old) boy start the ride by blowing a real conch.”
– Carlton van Leuven
“The event profile gives the impression that this portion of the ride is relatively flat, however it is deceptively hilly as the road traverses up and down the slopes of the valley floor. By the time we would reach Stovepipe Wells 45 miles into the event at the base of the big (17 miles, 4,000 feet) climb we already had over 1,000 feet of climbing behind us!”
– Steve Atkins
“Through the heat, which stayed at a cool 110 degrees, my SAG team kept me hydrated with electrolytes and douses of water. My friend Erica and I decided to stay together as long as we could during the ride which helped the first 50 miles to roll by quickly. By 9pm we were through the first of three mountain passes. It was dark when we rolled over the summit and a full moon was peering over the rim of mountains. I hit 50 miles per hour on the backside of the pass, my jacket flapping like a flag in a hurricane, and coasted into the sand dunes below. As one might expect, the desert comes alive at night when the temperatures return to a sensible level (mid-eighties), and the moonlight helps one to take it in.”
– Ben Speicher
“Reaching the Lone Pine SAG stop is no small feat. 120+ miles and 11,000+ feet of climbing is behind you. But there are 12 more miles, uphill on the steepest part of the route, to the finish. Daniel had used the last of his reserves to get here and decided to get off the bike and help SAG. Carlton was in great shape leading the team, and basically put Michael and Ryan on his wheel and headed up the hill. About 6 miles from the finish the grade tilts up beyond 10%. This is the moment of truth. With warm vehicles nearby, it is very tempting to make suffering stop and give up on the climb. The team put their heads down and kept grinding!
At this point, you simply pick a spot up the road and ride to it. Pick another spot a few tenths of a mile up the road and repeat.”
– Steve Atkins
“Night had fallen and we enjoyed the illumination of a beautiful full moon. Our surroundings were often so visible, that we kept looking over our shoulders to see if a car was waiting to pass. Owls were silently hunting above us, only barely visible as they swooped down close to the road looking for prey. I suppose they are always there when riding through the night, but I never noticed without such a bright moon.”
– Carlton van Leuven
“Though my morale rose with the sun, with a mere four miles lying between us and the finish line, I found myself dry-heaving in the bushes along the side of the road at the brink of the steepest miles. I leaned against my truck and suckled a gel packet. I knew that suffering awaited me and if I proved unable to ride them, I was prepared to take off my shoes and walk my bike the few final miles. This, however was unnecessary… As I leaned against the truck and stared down at the pavement I heard Blair’s voice reading from one of my favorite books. Something, I’m not sure what, changed in me. At the words “…it is not danger I love. I know what I love. It is life,” I mounted the bike again and began climbing quickly. I found that my legs had more strength than I realized and a long section of road was soon behind me. I don’t know how, but the final mile became as easy as the first. Like the flip of a switch, I suddenly felt utterly assured and completely content. I was at peace and no longer feared the pain of enduring. I could laugh and smile and talk while riding. All doubt had been wiped from my mind.”
– Ben Speicher
Straight from the riders’ mouths, you have the 2012 Whitney Classic Recap. Thank you for joining us this September for the ride of a lifetime.
Ben Speicher: http://benspeicher.blogspot.com
Rick Wallace: http://mtwhitneyclassic.blogspot.com
Steve Atkins: http://cyclewhitney.blogspot.com
Carlton van Leuven: http://jonifide5.blogspot.com