NMC was PERFECT today…of course, it will be perfect again Saturday.

The first ten miles are steady, exposed climbing…except for the curious descent from mile 6.5 – 7.5…with *new* guardrails!!  At mile 10.2, the terrain completely changes from high desert sparse to forest plush…the KOM is there…the Feed Zone is there…and the first real rest spot of the day too.

Those who are racing will power through the flats, but you might be able to recover there for the next climb.  It is basically three valleys from there to the Finish.  One five miles long and mostly flat…one five miles long with a gnarly kicker at the exit…and the last takes you through the unexpected flatness of Kennedy Meadows.  It is pretty unusual for the Sierras to have a broad, flat meadow anywhere.  But you are nearing the Southern terminus of the Sierras, and you are sort of seeing whatever was left in the bag-of-terrain-features, all dumped out one after the other.

That last valley, like the others, features a small descent to enter, then a flat spot or three, and then a decent climb to escape.  Each valley is wider, and quite a bit harder to get out of.   Yeah, that last one will leave you with some memories.  At 15km to go, you could see the Finish…if you knew where to look and had the time to hang out.  But you don’t.

At 9km to go, DO NOT GO STRAIGHT!  We turn left, even though the road goes straight.  The last of the descent takes you over a little marsh that claims to be the South Fork of the mighty Kern River.  Officially it is the “Wild and Scenic” Kern.  Whtvr.  Up in Kennedy Meadows it is just a puddle in March 2013.

And then you climb.  Quite a bit.  The final 7km is all uphill, some of it between snow patches and rockfall today.  We will shovel a bit Saturday on the way to the Finish, so it will be clear all the way up.  But there will be some debris in the road, including sand, small gravel, cinders, and even the occasional large rock.

Hope to see you there.  The climbing is intense, the scenery stunning and varied, and the support will be there to keep you safe, fed and watered.

If you want us to take warm clothes up the hill for you, we will do that too.  You can pick them up at the top, where we will have food and water and good snacky things for you.