Ryan Tetz, badass

Discussion in 'Free Zone' started by mike, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Western US
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    GG Smash
    I just finished the biggest challenge of my life? What to say? Bittersweet, stoked, dazed and confused?? Hmm content but still sore!!! Yep - I don't even know how far it was yet! The California 14ers consist of 15 high peaks over 14K elevation starting with Mount Langley near Lone Pine, CA in the South and spreading across about 600 miles via bicycle ending furthest North at Mt Shasta.


    BeckTrex, Mikie, Faust29 and 8 others like this.
  2. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    Pretty astounding accomplishment. Hats off to ya, Ryan!

    Excellent write-up as well. Nice to hear all the details: thoughts, strategies, frustrations.. and glad you made it home in one piece.

    I've been to most of those places, but never all in 8 days! Ha! Interesting that the most dangerous times seemed to be on your road bike. I guess that's where your fate's in someone else's hands..

    Mind if I jump on your wheel a sec and reminisce? I think I'm also at #3 on the Death Pass (though probably far more than that I just blocked 'em out).

    One was just like yours.. pitch black descent w/o headlamp near the bottom of Ortega Highway, almost to the relative safety of Antonio Parkway, and a big pickup makes an unexpected pass of an oncoming car, with me 'deer-in-the-headlight'ed in its brights. Pupils to zero, there might've been a shoulder but I couldn't see it, I went right and somehow survived.

    Another time, also on Ortega but headed uphill from SJC toward Antonio, full daylight, a short stretch with no bike lane and 6" of pavement right of the white line, a garbage truck decides he has to pass me with literally inches to spare. Oncoming traffic so he stays in our lane, but his loss of 30 seconds would equal my loss of life, so I bail to a dirt/gravel shoulder at full speed on 20mm slicks.

    And a third fun experience.. I'm finishing an STT/Luge lap and on my way home, which has me on Santiago Canyon Road past Cook's, and I opt to follow the traffic engineer's "bike lane" between the through and right-turn lanes. Except a driver behind me decides the right-turn lane is actually a passing lane, and blazes by on my right at what 75mph? I stay close to the curb now.

    And that reminds me, back when I was your age and on one of my own personal time-trials.. I was descending a local climb, Turnbull Canyon in Whittier hills, and got caught behind a slow car. Never a good idea for a roadie to pass a vehicle on the left on a blind lefthand turn, but somehow the car on my right and the suddenly appearing oncoming one to my left gave me enough space to come home on two-wheels, instead of a body bag. Gotta love 'em for that!

    Best wishes to a long and adventure-filled life, Ryan. Thanks for showing us how to push the limits.
    Danmtchl, mike, mtnbikej and 3 others like this.
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Lebec, California
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Worthy goal. I’m tired just glazing over the read...:gag:
    Danmtchl, mike and mtnbikej like this.
  4. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    East Sacramento
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    There's always that one guy....
    Danmtchl, mike, kioti and 1 other person like this.
  5. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    (Says the guy who rides the thin line.. )^^ ;)

    ..and which I'm certainly not, cuz I like (need) sleep :bang: I'm not that rad :cool: ..and I don't remember ever being in that kind of hurry! :eek:

    But I'm thinking about Ryan's self-imposed rules or philosophy, especially after seeing his fully loaded road bike. Why carry so much stuff? Why not go superfast/light-- ride the time trial bike in a skin suit and aero helmet, with good lights and strobes for visibility-- some aero bottles and an aero stash for food (to supplement mini-mart/fast food choices)? A quick bivy on the side of the road, or a few hours in a motel to break up the 450 mile ride.. faster travel and/or more rested for the final assault.

    Speaking of that, a more direct route from Bishop to Shasta might be to head through Benton and take 120 west to 395 (amazing visuals as well), then continue north through Lee Vining. I haven't ridden from Bridgeport north on 182, but I've ridden Walker Canyon a couple times w/o incident. There's a store there, which is a plus, but the distance is close enough so better safe than sorry? (Reno at 3:00am might be a good call, too. Light traffic and maybe even a police escort through town!) :thumbsup:

    On 395 and other highways, I personally found lightly-travelled straightaways to be more dangerous than winding sections, due to lack of shoulder and two-way traffic. Sometimes I've been able to mitigate that danger by making sure I was visible to overtaking vehicles and not riding the white line. I might have devised something called lane control, which was a way to get driver's attention and encourage those semi drivers to downshift and pass when safe. It involved using a mirror and meandering across the lane which I guess it worked cuz I'm writing this 30 years later.

    (I've found that riding on the white line on country roads encourages drivers to pass too close, which puts you in the dirt. My advice is to avoid it if possible, but obviously there are times you gotta suck it up. Unfortunately, cell phone use is a current danger and almost a non-starter for me-- I did this back when drivers were more likely to be paying attention.)

    What else? Oh yeah, why go down to the Owens Valley between peak crossings? It could be faster and less taxing to have food caches along the crest and stay high, avoiding the 10,000 ft. drops and subsequent climbs to reacquire elevation. It might be a crapshoot, but a day or two stashing food and gear at 12,000 feet could eliminate the need to drop to and return from 4,000. Enter at Cottonwood and descend from the Palisades to Big Pine, then roadie the climb to White Mountain and swap bikes, or ride to Silver and go direct.

    Mid-summer might allow for warmer nights at high elevation, but increased threat from afternoon thunderstorms is probably worse than cold nights. A bivy sack with perforated space blanket liner might help with those freezing temps.

    I like the north/south option as well, though it puts the sun in your eyes during daylight hours and the technical climbing toward the more delirious end of the trip.
  6. littlewave

    littlewave Well-Known Member

    Newport Beach
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Danmtchl and mike like this.
  7. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb Well-Known Member

    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    Words cannot do it justice!
    mike likes this.