I have made this ride into an annual late summer ride. I did it last year on July 22 according to my GPX file that I had on Topofusion. The goal of the ride was "to slingshot myself back into fitness" (I had not been on the bike for an "epic ride" for 4 weeks). Let's just say it was hard and I think it may have worked. We will see in the next few days as I start to increase miles on the bike.
This year, I tried to make it more of a social ride rather than a solo deal. Chris Campy, Andy Suter and I (and later Max Moris on his 29er nonetheless) all began the ascent at 5:30. The first ascent was perfect. We got to Summerhaven, ate some cinnamon buns, drank some coffee before descending and going for round 2. The heat prevailed during this 2nd ascent to Summerhaven. Chris seemed to be the only sane person in the group; he bowed out after 50 miles. The heat was pretty unforgiving, forcing us to run out of water before Palisades. Andy led most of the way, watch out for this roadie turned new mountain biker. I guarantee we will be seeing his name in future bikepacking trips/races.
The profile from the base (we started at Le Buzz unlike last year).
108 miles, 13,974 feet of climbing, 8.5 hours of moving time
Here is an interesting profile of the speed (y-axis) vs time:
42.3 mph is my new fastest road bike speed. Anyone have anything faster?