Critical Section

breathless agony

Sunday,  05/02/10  05:26 PM

Yesterday I rode the 2010 edition of the famous Breathless Agony, "the hardest century in Southern California", and man is it a killer.  Seems harder every year.  You have 112 miles, 12,000' of climbing, and the summit is the 8,400' Onyx Pass above Big Bear Lake.  Not to mention heat in the lowlands and freezing breeze near the top, where the mountains are covered with snow.  My favorite part is the climb from checkpoint 2 to checkpoint 3, where you go from 3,000' to 6,000' in 11 miles in one long unremitting ascent, two hours at 7%.  Yikes!

Anyway it was great fun - now that it's over - and the scenery was *amazing* as always.  And yes, I took a few pictures:

the route: 112 miles, 12,000' of climbing, with the summit at 8,400'
the real killer is that steep section between miles 44 and 55
the descent is pretty wild - 35 miles of downhill

the flat early sections in the morning light
not too much traffic out here

Jack Rabbit trail - the first summit - features some nasty sections of road
note the snow off in the distance - that's where we're headed later

Oak Glen - the second summit - as the sun starts beating down...

and on to the third summit - 11 miles straight uphill at 7% - yikes

checkpoint 3 - smiling because I made it this far, and there's only 20 miles and 2,500' left

more and more and more climbing - the last 10 miles seem to take forever
also where - gasp! - are the oxygen masks

final straight up to the summit! - yay - 8,400'

the hills up here are covered with snow
makes for a nice icy breeze

For the record it took me 6:32 to reach the summit - pretty good.  Every year after I finish I say it's the last time, but already by the next day I'm less sore and the hard parts are forgotten...  onward!

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