Saturday, October 28, 2017

Devil's Peak

Last week I got a chance to participate in a group mountain bike ride near Yosemite, up to a lookout station called Devil's Peak.

The ride was organized by the Tenaya Lodge, and I rode a rented hardtail mountain bike with worn out shocks on the front.

The view from the lookout tower
The ride was basically an up-and-back climb, riding up a road that starts paved and gets gradually more primitive as it gains altitude. Almost all the way up it's a comfortable fire road, but the last mile near the top gets a little steeper and considerably more rocky. With my always-modest mountain bike handling skills atrophied from years of disuse, that last mile was a bit of a challenge.

The peak is at about 6900 feet, and has the panoramic view you would expect. It's a suitable reward for the effort, and photographs just don't do it justice. One of our guides was apparently a park ranger, and he gave us a combined geographical and historical tour of the area by naming the neighboring peaks and then explaining the history behind those names.

I was worried about descending that rocky bit near the top, but in the event it wasn't too difficult, even with the traffic of my fellow riders. On the way down we took the opportunity to try two sections of single-track, which was plenty of fun but still well within my meager abilities. Near the end was a two-mile climb, not particularly steep but seemingly never-ending.

Elevation Profile.
The sharp peak isn't real; the elevation drifted over lunch.
The whole ride was about 23 miles. The elevation on my Garmin drifted up about 200 feet while we ate lunch at the top, so while I recorded about 3000 feet of climbing, I wouldn't swear to it. The most difficult kilometer was certainly the one near the peak, not only because it was steeper, but also because of the quality of the road, and of course the altitude.

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