The Monster Climbs of the Owens Valley

Sat. Jan 25, 2014 4:00pm

Although the big climbs in France, Italy and Spain are on the hit lists for most avid cyclists, there is no need to go all the way to Europe to satisfy your urge to pedal uphill—we have comparable climbs right here in the U.S.!

The Owens Valley is a remarkable place in what feels like the middle of nowhere--east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and west of the White Mountains, about 200 miles south of Reno and 270 miles north of Las Vegas. The valley floor is at about 4,000' elevation with paved roads leading out of it that top out above 10,000', surrounded by 14,000’+ peaks.

During late September 2010, High Performance Cycling Team co-managers Tom Meloy and David Longdon spent a week cycling "the best" of these roads, which can dish up over 6,000' of climbing on climbs up to 22 miles long.

These huge climbs start in a landscape dominated by sagebrush and expansive views and pass through the sub-alpine before finishing in rugged alpine country.

The big famous climbs in Europe are considered the benchmarks for comparison by most cyclists. But flying to Europe for a cycling trip is a relatively expensive and arduous adventure.

The massive climbs of the Eastern Sierras are comparable to the longest and hardest paved climbs in Europe.  A simple road trip to this remote area provides a superb cycling vacation without the hassle of taking your bike apart and flying overseas. The cost is quite reasonable and you don’t have to endure a personal TSA pat down. Food and lodging are inexpensive in the small remote towns of the Eastern Sierras.

This presentation will feature photos and video of these climbs, as well as a discussion of how the Eastern Sierra climbs compare to the famous hard climbs of the Tour de France and Giro de Italia.

How hard are the Eastern Sierra climbs? Plenty hard!  As a matter of fact, we feel that several of these climbs are harder than anything Europe can throw at you. Tom and David will show you why.

Co-manager, High Performance Cycling Team
David Longdon
Cycle University
3418 Harbor Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126