Saturday, September 27, 2014
Channeling Goran Kropp
For most of this week, we had planned to hit the rocks outside of Lone Pine, the famed Alabama Hills, one of our favorite destinations. But as the hour for departure drew near, some sort of purely human powered lunacy seemed the better choice. Jodi to the rescue: Let's pedal from home as high up our local mountain as we can get then hike to the summit and back to the trikes and ride home! We'd done this only once before, years before Django. And the year before he dropped into our lives, we pedaled the road but went no further. The distances are not great, but steepness and elevation gain make up for it. All told we did maybe six miles of hiking with 2,000 feet of climbing and 17 miles of pedaling with 2,300 ft. of climbing. The cycling involved some ouch! factor as grades close to the mountain topped 10% frequently, stretches of 13%, and one sustained pitch at 17--18%. Ugh. All praise Florian Schlumpf and his Mountain Drive. That 2.5:1 bottom range made all the difference. For those who know such things, my bottom gear is about 10 gear inches, Jodi's about 8.
The post title is inspired by my ultimate adventure hero, the super adventurer Goran Kropp, a man who pedaled a bike from Stockholm, Sweden, to Katmandu, Nepal, carrying all his high-altitude camping and climbing gear. Once he'd pedaled as far as he could, he loaded up a pack with 150 lbs. of food and gear, slogged up to Everest and climbed it solo, without oxygen. Then he hiked out and rode his bike home to Sweden. Yeah, he was the baddest badass that ever wore the badge. That psycho Viking died too young on a fairly short rock climb in eastern Washington. May the great Goran Kropp rest in peace. Now only a handful of intrepid nutcases try similar outings, the goal being totally human powered for every phase of the journey. Kropp went so far as to attempt to carry all his food from Katmandu into Everest for the climb, too, although he needed some extra calories when a first summit bid didn't work out. I'll give him a pass on taking food offered by other teams on the mountain. In our own VERY little way, we tasted a little Goran soup today. No internal combustion engines were abused, used, or otherwise touched in today's little adventure.
We're safe back at home, worked but doing surprisingly well. This bodes well for the coming Death Valley tour, Lone Pine to Vegas, in December. More pics from the ride--hike--ride:
Me and my buddy and the mountain in the background just touching the clouds--what a great grand wonderful day!
Django: Always the winner!