Aug 22, 2012

Seven Summits details

The Seven Summits x 3 weekend turned out to be a pretty big weekend. It didn't go as planned but that's not unusual, sometimes ambitious plans go off the rails.

As per my last post, the plan was to do the Seven Summits... three times in one day. If you bumped into this page by accident while researching 'The Seven Summits', I need to point out that doing the Seven Summits just once in one day is a pretty big day, doing it three times in one day requires more than the average amount of planning and fitness. You can see some of the warnings I put out last year by going to this post.

Sadly, Scott couldn't make it down for the adventure but Dave Franks could.

Out for a ride with Dave

Dave (one of my athletes and a podium 24hr Solo racer) decided to join in on the adventure, nice! Dave's a fun guy and easy to ride with, he's riding really strong on the bike right now which became painfully obvious as we rode and raced together for a few days in Penticton prior to the Seven Summits attempt.

We got back from Penticton on Friday, enough time to get organized for Saturday morning. Some coffee and then we got on with loading up the bikes to head off to the North trailhead in Dave's truck.

Loading up for Seven Summits

Within a matter of minutes the route starts climbing up, up, up. The vertical gain is relentless and it's not easy vert as it requires constant good line choices. The day was already hot and would eventually reach a high of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit - eeyowch. Because the trail stretches out across the mountains, a big chunk of it is exposed to the summer heat.

Seven Summits satellite view

After clearing the first summit and bombing down past Old Glory we hit a snag. While descending at high speed, Dave slammed into one of the thousands of exposed sharp rocks on the trail and put a dent in his rim and flattened his tubeless tire. As if that wasn't enough he decided to throw himself over his handlebars and bang up his knee as well. Two tubes and some CO2 cartridges later and we couldn't get the wheel aired up. Multiple attempts with a hand pump wasn't showing any sign of success either so we determined the tire was cursed and we would have to walk back up the mountain to get back to Dave's truck.

That's right, the plan had gone off the rails.

It took us four and half hours to get back to Dave's truck. A lot of steep bike pushing made for a long hot day but the worst was yet to come. Dave's heels took a beating from the new shoes he was wearing and by the time we got back to the truck he had some decent sized blisters.

Back at the house, over a beer, we came up with Plan B... also know as 'We should do it again tomorrow'. The only concern was Dave's heel blisters but we figured some Liquid Skin would take care of business. Here's a shot of Dave just after his first application of Liquid Skin, he pulled some funny faces!

Dave getting his first dose of liquid skin

Sunday morning rolled around and Plan B went into full effect. Wheels rolling at 0730hrs out of the North trailhead.

Seven Summits trailhead

A nice endurance pace had us to the Cascade turnaround in 2.5hrs, we swapped bottles at our bottle stash and headed back towards the North trailhead. Everything was humming along nicely.

Seven-Summits-shale 700

Once again the day got hot, hovering around 100 degrees. I mostly felt the heat on the hike a bike stuff and there was a lot of it on the way back because parts of the terrain were too steep for my singlespeed. Luckily for Dave, he could ride a lot more terrain than I could due to his gears and that helped save his blistered heels somewhat but even the riding was bothering him now, his socks were bloody and his walking/riding was being impacted.

Warning, this next image is nasty.

Dave's heels

With Dave's heels acting up we decided to make the smart call and bail out of the third lap. If not for those blisters I'm sure we could have banged off that extra lap as I felt pretty good physically and I had a really positive attitude (the two bottles of caffeinated Infinit might have helped).

Post ride

So, the plan might have gone off the rails but in it's place we got an excellent Seven Summits exposure spread out over two days of riding with approx 12,000' of vert gain mixed into a pile of technical mountain riding. Throw in some world class views and a good riding partner and it doesn't get much better.

Maybe next year we can add a 3rd group of squiggly lines to this image? I hope so.

Seven Summits x 2 vert profile