Sonora Pass 2001 Home  Map
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Finally, blue sky, sunshine! The afternoon became glorious.



The wild flower photographer had leapfrogged ahead of me and I encountered him again, snapping away by the side of the road. I got him to take this shot of me and then continued on.


It was a tough climb. I maxed out on the last bit—felt at my limit. At the pass an SUV idled by the side of the road, I rolled up, tossed my camera through the window to the driver and gasped “Take my picture!” I wanted a record of the pain.



Then I waited for the others to show up. First came Pat.


Same steady pace.



And of course he’s smiling


Followed shortly by Ron. I watched him cut zigzags up the final stretch of road and thought of the pain of climbing this pass twice in one day. I felt like Pat and I had thrown him to the wolves. I wondered, will he ever speak to me again?



To my surprise he was quite ebullient. Something happened—something clicked over and he arrived at a sense of achievement from the whole ordeal. He smiled and chatted enthusiastically.



At this point the shots in the two cameras I’d brought were exhausted and perhaps it doesn’t matter. The rest of the ride was mopping up. We did a harrowing descent down the Golden Staircase. Ron, with his cornering skills from his motorcycle racing days, was in his element. I felt terrified the whole way down. The final climb back to the car was a test. We all felt exhausted.

Ron came away from this ride transformed. Patrick and I are accustomed to riding mountain passes at altitude. Ron however, tackled Sonora Pass, the hardest pass I've ridden, his first time out. I think of it as a considerable triumph. We certainly roughed it and much of this was unfamiliar to him, but it took away the fear of the killer climb and of sticking with it through adversity. A week following this ride we did the Death Ride, but, that’s another story.

The stats: 105.5 miles, 10,240 feet of climbing. Ron says he got a 13.5 mph average.