Vernal Falls

Day 66: Yosemite, CA to Angels Camp, CA
Total Mileage: 38 miles (supposed to be 88 miles)

Yosemite was too beautiful to pass up and just leave, so we had a team meeting last night to discuss spending some time in Yosemite this morning to explore. For most of us, it was one of our favorite rides of the trip because of the scenic views we passed biking through the national park and more importantly, the awesome 15+ mile downhill into Yosemite Valley. Everyone on the team but MJ wanted to do a short hike to one of the falls, so we made a decision that we would have till 10PM to hike Vernal Falls while MJ would bike unsupported for the period of time we were exploring Yosemite. This meant we had to be shuttled for a period of time so we could finish the ride and get to the host before 6PM. They were expecting us for dinner at that time, so it was necessary for us to shuttle at least 30 miles to finish the 88 miles to Angels Camp. As usual, we woke up at 5AM, had a hearty breakfast provided by Kevin’s parents, and we were off to hike.

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Our host suggested we take the mist trail up to Vernal Falls and if we had more time and energy, hike the extra 2 miles up to Nevada Falls. Soaking in the scenery, rerouting ourselves off the main trail to hike up the waterfall (Caiti and Nick hiked the whole way up to the falls), and wading at the top of the river before the water fell hundreds of feet into the falls took much longer than expected. Then again, team San Fran ’13 enjoys lollygagging and taking our time when it comes to adventures like this, so we weren’t too surprised when we left the falls around 11AM and the host at around noon.

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Amy drove into a little surprise on our way out from the host in Yosemite Valley.IMG_5486

Initially, we were supposed to shuttle groups in two waves, but we decided to cram all of the riders into the host and water vans and shuttle to our lunch stop, which was almost 50 miles away.

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We shuttled up and over Yosemite, past construction, and made it to Groveland. Along the way, MJ secured lunch for 25 at the Pizza Factory. It’s impressive how far he’d gone unsupported and we’re very fortunate to have a ride director that’s so passionate about riding and making sure his little kids are nourished. You’re the best, Pa!

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After our 2PM lunch, it was time to bike to Angels Camp. Today, I rode with Kat, Nick, Caiti, and Abigale, the prom couple/trio. Our goal was to get to the host by 6PM. With only about 40 miles to bike and less than 4 hours to ride, it was definitely doable. We’ve seen all sorts of terrain the past 65 days, so we were all prepared for whatever came our way. Started off with a small climb and about 2 miles into our trip, we saw a 7-mile decline down a mountain with a 6-7% grade and sharp switchbacks. Abigale wanted to race to the bottom, but after having wheel and derailleur issues the past couple of weeks, I’m very cautious when it comes to downhills cause that’s where all my problems occur. Had it been towards the beginning, I would’ve done raced down that slope neck and neck with her.

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At the bottom, we saw a sign that San Francisco was only 134 miles away. Technically, we could bike to San Francisco is a day, but the 4K never takes the most direct route across the country, that’s blasphemy. The mile marker just shows us how far we’ve come and how close we are to our final destination. It’s scary thinking that the trip is almost over, but we gotta make the most out of our time left.

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As predicted, we got to the host before 6. The last three miles before the host had a lot of turns. Rather than staying on Main Street, we followed the directions that took us through some back roads and ran into a really steep, but short climb that you just had to power through as fast as possible, otherwise you’d just fall off your bike. It was right after a sharp turn, so none of us were expecting the climb, especially a really steep climb. Caiti and Kat didn’t get enough momentum going into the climb and were at really high gears, so it was almost impossible for them to successfully make it to the top without falling. Nick, Abigale, and I were at gears we could easily switch out of to make the climb doable. After that minor obstacle, we got to the host in time, showered with a hose, and ate a delicious dinner provided by the church in town.

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