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.

This one time, in Yosemite.

Day 65: Lee Vining, CA to Yosemite, CA
Total Mileage: 77 miles

Today’s ride was in dedication to Alice Jiang, my 4K mentor. She’s helped me out tremendously the past couple of months and I’m glad to have a mentor that’s so passionate about the 4K and the fight against cancer. You’re the best!

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I’ve been waiting for this ride all summer. When the leg leaders and ride directors were planning our route a couple months ago, they asked us if there were any cities or national parks we wanted to bike through. A couple team members and I suggested Yosemite and they made it happen! It’s the first time team San Fran is biking through this national park, so we were super excited about this part of our route. Just visiting Yosemite was on my bucket list of things to do, and now that I got the chance to bike through the national park, I can officially say it’s my favorite one. I’m hoping to hike Half Dome next week, so cross my fingers and pray that I get a permit for the hike!

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IMG_5372Today’s team name: Team Fresh Prince of Bel Air with Kat, Zac, Nick, and Coral. This time, Sara came up with the television series theme, where I drew Carlton out of the hat. The first 13 miles were tough out of Lee Vining and into Yosemite. The locals told us it would be a climb, and it definitely was a tough one. Not entirely sure what the grades were, but it felt like it was around 6-10% at some points. As difficult as it was, twelve miles of climbing never felt so great. We had so much to see biking up 120 and through Inyo National Forest: huge mountains surrounded us on both sides, water falling from the top of high cliffs, lakes so clear you could see the bottom, and evergreens all around. Climbing to almost 10,000 feet from around 7,000 feet in elevation within 12 miles was tough, but so worth it.

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IMG_5377To save money, we had to shuttle all the riders into the park so we didn’t have to pay individual fees per biker. The hardest part of the day was over, and it’s great to have it done right at the beginning. After the big climb, a majority of the ride was rolling hills. We still had a couple difficult climbs, but they were all followed by rewarding downhills. One of the most exciting parts of my day was seeing Half Dome in person and passing through Tioga Lake. The ride through Yosemite was the most scenic ride to date. We enjoyed every single minute of our ride, stopping at almost every overlook to take pictures and soak in the scenery.

IMG_5366After lunch, it was literally all downhill into Yosemite Valley. We had 25 miles to go to the host from the lunch spot, so we weren’t sure whether or not we needed a water break. If there were a few strenuous climbs in between, we would definitely need one, but fortunately that wasn’t the case. Coming from the top of a mountain and going into the Valley, we knew it was going to be all downhill… and it was. Zac, Nick, and Coral went ahead of Kat and me. Every once in a while, we would meet up with other groups at great Kodak moment spots, but Kat and I stuck together till the host. We traveled through tunnels together, cruised through a ton of switchbacks, jumped off the Swinging Bridge, peered up at El Capitan, and visited the visitor center. I couldn’t have asked for a better riding partner on our way down to our host.

DCIM101GOPROOh, and a little explanation about my “beard.” Last week when I was changing my tire, I had a ton of grease on my hand. Not knowing what to do with it, I decided to smear some on my face as a mustache. From then on out, it became a daily thing. We eventually found black body paint in the water van, which I substituted that for the bike grease. Today, Amy decided to give me a full out beard. Not sure what the people in Yosemite were thinking, especially since I was wearing the polka dot jersey the 4K office sent to me as an incentive for raising over $7500. 4K, OK!      IMG_5348

Welcome to California!

Day 64: State Line, NV to Lee Vining, CA
Total Mileage: 106 miles

After spending the day in Tahoe, no one wanted to leave. I’ve heard amazing things about Tahoe from friends that have visited before, but never did I expect to fall in love with a place so much in so little time. There’s so much to do and so much to see, and having only one day to relax in Tahoe wasn’t enough. We’re all thinking about coming back here, buying vacation homes if we win the lottery, and just having a reunion in Tahoe. Water activities on the lake, skiing and snowboarding in the winter, hikes for days, bike routes for miles; Tahoe has everything. We still love Boulder, so we’re going to need people to move to both cities in the near future so we can come visit. No pressure 4K, no pressure.

Again, a big thanks to all of our hosts, especially Klaus, who hosted Will, Danny, and me and of course to the Felton family.  “The most important thing is this moment and this day.” Words of wisdom from Klaus during our dedication circle. It truly encompasses what the 4K is all about.

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We always have a late start to the day when we’re all separated in different houses, which was the case today. Call time was 6:45AM at Greg’s house, and we weren’t ready for dedication circle till 9AM. We had a pretty eventful morning: the free hub on my back wheel was not rotating properly (again), the water van (Jack) got into a minor crash, and a team mate was sick at one of the summits we climbed.

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Less than a mile after we reached the top of Daggett Summit going into the descent, my chain derailed and I knew immediately that it was the same issue I had before. Gary told me yesterday that the free hub issue would probably pop up again, so he suggested I buy a new tire. So now, I’m on the search for a new tire. I called the host van and borrowed Coral’s tire for the day and didn’t run into any issues. I was initially with Julie, Nick, Hilary, Kevin, and Caiti, but we got separated on the descent. I had to climb up a little to the top of Daggett to wait for the host van. We spent close to an hour up at the summit and another hour at the first water stop. Things weren’t looking too promising in terms of finishing the century ride today since we were only at 17 miles around 11:30AM. We all just wanted to cross into California, which we did around mile 40!

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Today’s team: Team Finishers with Katrina, Michael, and Will. We had to do a little regrouping at the stop of the first summit, and I ended up joining them for the day. A late start to the day is an indicator that some groups would not finish the day due to the sun setting, especially when you have over 100 miles to bike. One group got 11 flats before the 2nd water stop and had to get shuttled to lunch because they were so far behind.

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Team Finishers was the first group ahead, so we had to find a lunch stop in Toiyabe National Forest. We chose a day area spot which was right by the water and had time to relax and wade in the river before the host van came to drop off lunch.

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By the fourth water stop, we were around mile 78 and it was already past 6PM. We had a great pace going on, but we knew a couple climbs were still ahead of us. It was hard to tell whether or not we’d have enough sunlight to finish the ride, but we were determined. We skipped the last water stop and booked the last 20 miles to the host. After the second to last climb, there was an 8 mile downhill, where I hit a new record of 46.4 MPH down the hill. By this point, it was already past 8 with less than five miles of climbing to go. The host and water van passed and cheered us on cause we were so close. We made it before 8:30PM and were glad to have finished the last century before the end of our 4K journey. That doesn’t mean we won’t have a surprise century, but I’m glad we made it.

Oh, and team San Fran knows how to party in spandex.IMG_5314

Lake Tahoe

Day 63: Rest Day in State Line, NV/South Lake Tahoe, CA

It’s great to have some down time after consecutively riding several days in a row. Like I said before, I’ve heard nothing but great things about South Lake Tahoe, so it’s perfect we have homestays in State Line cause Tahoe is right around the corner and the California border is just two miles away. After biking up Spooner Summit and seeing Tahoe for the first time, we immediately fell in love, so we knew our rest day here would be nothing short of great.

IMG_4804Before I could do anything else, I had to get my wheel looked at since I’ve been borrowing back wheels the past couple of days when I rode. Yelped a couple bike shops around the area and decided to go with Sierra Cycle Works. It had great reviews, high ratings, and everyone said the mechanic was the best in the area. So I took my wheel to the shop, explained the issues I had, and showed him what happened to my chain when backpedaled. It wasn’t a matter of a quick fix up, so he told me to come back in a couple hours to work on the issue. Rachael, Will, Dany, and I ate lunch at the Brewery at Lake Tahoe, explored Heavenly Village and the gondola (got some new sunglasses and chums), and watched Aunt Jenine and Uncle Rodney get married.

IMG_5296At about 5PM, Gary (the mechanic) gave me a call to head on over so I could pick up Roxanne (my bike). Like Kevin said, it was an issue of the freehub not rotating freely. Gary explained to me that the freehub was almost completely worn out and rusting pretty badly, which meant that I could potentially run into the same issue again. My chain could drop tomorrow, five days from now, or last me the entire trip. He suggested I buy a new wheel if it were to occur again. Replacing the freehub is much too complicated and even though it would have been a bit cheaper, the convenience of buying a new wheel would be easier to deal with. Because of the cause we ride for, Gary offered the bike service for free. Guess I really did pick the best bike shop in town (http://www.sierraskiandcycleworks.com/biking/)

IMG_4806When it comes to homestays, it’s hard to coordinate team get togethers. Plan was to meet up at Round Hill Pines at Tahoe for a BBQ dinner. Some groups beach bummed the entire day at the lake, others explored Tahoe and did some retail therapy, some paddle boarded, while others off roaded into the mountains and snorkeled. So much to see and so much to do in this city, and we all loved it.

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During our BBQ dinner, we tested our skills at kayaking, vultured on bean dip and chips, and played a friendly game of volleyball. Two things I learned:

1. The water loves Abigale and wouldn’t let her kayak into the lakeIMG_5269

2. Team Luna rocks the volleyball court

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4K Prom

Day 62: Fallon, NV to State Line, NV
Total Mileage: 90 miles

Woke up today feeling excited since today we’d be on our way to South Lake Tahoe, which means California is just around the corner. State Line, Nevada is about 2 miles from the California border, so we wouldn’t be crossing into our last state just yet. I looked at the directions and for the most part, we’d still be on 50. The elevation/grade chart got pretty rough towards the end of the ride into State Line, NV. They warned us that the last 30 miles would essentially be uphill, so mental preparation for the climb was necessary. Plus, we had a homestay, a rest day, and 4K prom to look forward to. Thanks again to the Andersons and Jan for hosting us!

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IMG_5168Today’s team was with Katrina, Dany, and Will. Patti and Michael provided us with a wonderful breakfast, joined us in our dedication circle, and rode with us for the first 40ish miles (what troopers!). Our water stops were great since all the food we had leftover from last night were up for grabs, and we had fruit donated from the church pantry and local farm from Fallon. As predicted, the first 60 miles weren’t bad at all. The only rough part before the climb was riding on a busy six lane road. Cars and trucks were honking at us telling us to get off the road and pull off to the shoulder. The issue was there was barely a shoulder to ride on and the drivers on the road were just very impatient. We decided to take the lane to avoid any accidents. At this point, we didn’t even care that the drivers were beeping at us. We had to take the lane in order to maximize our safety. It was the only road to get back on 50-West, and we had no other choice. The next 20 miles was all uphill to Spooner Summit.

IMG_5178Over those 20 miles, the elevation gain was about 2000 feet with grades between 6-8%. It was a long and strenuous climb, but totally worth it at the end. One of the first things you see after the descent is Lake Tahoe, which is a scenic sight. Everyone that’s been to Tahoe love it, and I can already tell I’ll fall in love with the city. My team stopped by one of the overlooks to take pictures and soak in all that Tahoe has to offer. The view was amazing and the color of the lake was remarkable. I’d move here in a nutshell just by the grand views and the lake. The last 2 miles on 207 into the host were also tough. The ceremonial hill into the host never fails.

IMG_5192After arriving to our central hosts, Greg and Kim, we were divided into 5 other home stays. Thank you to Athina for getting in contact with the Rotary Club and securing our hosts in Stateline. Will, Danny, and I stayed with one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met, Klaus, who has such a young and spirited heart at the age of 75. He’s traveled a lot, been to a lot of places, and has a lot of wisdom to impart. We’re lucky to have such an accommodating and hospitable host.

IMG_5210After everyone settled at their hosts, it was time to get ready for 4K prom. A few of us took pictures at Greg’s house before we went out to the casino. There was a backdrop with costumes you could wear for prom couple shots. Around 11pm, we met up with the other half of our team in the parking lot of Harrah’s and revealed prom king and queen. Cue drum roll… and the winners were Ali and Julie, prom queen and queen!

IMG_5223They even had a campaign and small cue card giveaways for the team. Abigale, Sasha, Athina, and Hilary wore actual gowns to 4K prom, which was lent to them by their awesome host. I personally bought a shirt and tie from a thrift shop in Green River, UT for $1.50. A huge thanks to Klaus for getting us a shout out from Artie the Party at Center Stage and for getting us into Peek for free. 4K prom was just as fun as high school prom. And I had the best prom date 🙂 I love my team!
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Host Vanning It!

Day 61: Austin, NV to Fallon, NV
Total Mileage: 114 miles

We always struggle to get up in the morning, especially when it’s cold. Camping makes things go a little slower, but it’s always fun!IMG_5113

I was assigned van duty the day we have our one and only century in Nevada and during the naked mile. Sasha and Zac took the water van, so Nick and I were responsible for the host van. Unfortunately, Sasha tried calling ahead of time to secure a lunch donation from Austin, but we didn’t have any luck. Austin itself is a pretty small town with only about three restaurants, so we were limited with potential lunch donators. We had to drive 114 miles on Highway 50 to the next city, Fallon. One of the locals told us last night that Fallon had a Walmart, so that was a good indication for us to go check out Fallon since it was a big enough city to have a Walmart in town. The other places we visited in Nevada were all small towns, so Fallon was our best bet in finding food.

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After 114 miles of driving and accidentally driving into a bird (woops), we made it to Fallon around 10am, dropped the duffles and bags to our wonderful host (thanks Patti), and went to town looking for donations. We went to Dairy Queen first and had no luck cause the manager wasn’t there, so we tried Jack in the Box for a donation. I spoke with the manager and she said I had to get in contact with the manager in charge of the Northern Nevada’s Jack in the Boxes for clearance. After 10 minutes of speaking with the regional manager, she agreed to donate lunch to our team. Every store and restaurant that we asked for donations afterwards were very generous and donated to our team. Here’s a list of things we got:

-Jack in the Box for 25 (10 burgers, 10 chicken sandwiches, 20 chicken nuggetes, and 3 chicken salads)
-Chow mein and fried rice for 15 at Golden Rice Bowl
-$50 donation from Walmart (a bunch of snacks, bananas, bread, lemonade mix, Pringles, etc.)
-Sunblock and chalk from Walgreens (thanks Nathan)IMG_5515

After securing and collecting all our donations, we had to drive about 50 miles back to setup lunch. It’s a good thing Nick and I got all the things we got, cause we were running low on snacks, sunblock, chalk, and the riders were hungry. The water van told us to setup the next water stop after lunch since the first and last groups were really far from each other. At that stop, I gathered a bunch of rocks and wrote 4KSF13 on the dirt ground with a bicycle underneath it.

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A big thanks to Patti, Mike, and Jan for being such wonderful hosts to our entire team. We really appreciate all the hospitality and willingness to help with putting our bikes away, doing laundry, preparing dinner for us, having the Fallon community involved with our 4K cause. We actually met up with Jan’s son Nathan at Walgreen and he donated a couple things to the 4K. They want to make 4K team San Fran’s arrival in Fallon a traditional event, getting the community involved, and having a fundraiser for our cause. If any of you are thinking about doing the 4K next year and are placed in team San Fran, call Patti. She’ll be more than willing to help out with anything related to 4K. She even wrote an article for the paper about the 4K. We really appreciate all the help and can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us.

Also, thanks to Rachael for cutting my hair before prom night. You’re the best!
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Team San Fran 2013.

 

 

 

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Austin, NV

Day 60: Eureka, NV to Austin, NV
Total Mileage: 70 miles

Today’s ride was in dedication to two of the greatest people in the entire world, Valerie and Marylou, my sisters. Thanks for all of the support and love during my 4K journey. See you guys soon!

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It’s weird to think that we only have 10 more riding days left till we reach San Francisco. As a team, we’ve all gone through so much, endured a ton of hardships, and celebrated together. If it weren’t for the support of my other team members, I wouldn’t have made it this far. They’ve made this experience the best time I’ve ever had, and I am eternally grateful to be graced with their presence on a daily basis.

Today I rode with Lauren, Kevin, Danny, and Caroline and we were team FDR. Ali’s theme was based off of political leaders during WWII. Same old Nevada terrain the entire way to Austin, it’s what we expected. The struggle today was finding the host van keys. After all the groups left, we get a GroupMe text from Kat asking where the keys are. Seven miles into our ride, Lauren realizes the keys are in her back jersey pocket. The water van had to turn around from the first water stop, pick up the key from Lauren, drive back to the host to deliver the key, and drive back to the first water stop.

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The ride into lunch was pretty tough because of the strong headwinds and crosswinds. We’re all saying Nevada is the new Kansas, cause we experienced hot weather with strong winds. The only difference between the two was the climbs. The last descent into Austin was scary for me. After a significant last climb, we knew it was all downhill into Austin. I was intimidated by the downhill cause of the sharp switchbacks with no rail guards. Normally I don’t brake a lot, but I kept my hands real close to my brakes going down that hill. Liberating that we didn’t have to climb anymore, but terrifying in the sense that we could get hurt going down this hill if we fall. Better safe than sorry!

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We got to Austin and saw our tents set up right in the middle of a baseball field. The grass was so soft, I didn’t think my sleeping pad would be necessary for the night, but I set it up anyway. Casey and I have become fond in collecting car plates of the states we cycle through. We haven’t found any Nevada ones yet, so we decided to check out a junkyard that was less than a mile from our host. We lucked out cause we found a shed with literally every single car plate from every single state. The junkyard even had extra car plates tucked away in a corner, which is where we found Nevada and several other states we needed plates from.

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After our donated pizza dinner, we headed off to natural hot springs about 13 miles from the host. 4K alumni got in contact with Michael about the spot, urging him to send the team there cause it was one of the highlights of their trip. We drove down 50 and reached an unpaved, long stretch of gravel road. For about 2 miles, we’re traveling on this road, trying to figure out where the springs were. We pull up to a spot where an RV is parked and lo and behold, the hot springs were there. A great way to end the night, especially with great people. “Spencer Hot Springs consists of a series of pools, each one conveniently separated by enough landscape to provide privacy. The best may be the stone-lined pool on a rise with a commanding view of the Big Smokey Valley, the Toiyabe Range to the west and the Toquima Range to the east.
The pool sits just below the source of the spring, which fills the pool from a short length of pipe.” (http://www.allaroundnevada.com/spencer-hot-springs/)
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