7a.m.  at the base of the mountain.  Anxiety overflowing from the hard failure a month before.  This time though, I was more prepared.  No more baking in the hot noon sun, plenty of water,  a compact crankset, and a good amount of training in the hills of Orange.
Picture 6678
Also, this time around I had a buddy go with me. Someone who rides quite a bit who is also a lot better than I am.  Team Tarmac time! 
Picture 6680
The first attempt left me turning back after the tunnels.  The gradient there was way too much for me at the time and I couldn’t handle that AND the scorching heat.  This time around though, it wasn’t unbearable.  The whole ride was an incline and with the terrain being covered by mountains one couldn’t really gage the actual incline level.  All you felt is constant pain with occasional more intense pain.  After about an hour and a half we made it to the Lodge! the midpoint!
Picture 6682
The TOP!  Glad to say I made it.  The 2nd leg was the most brutal climb I’ve ever done.  It was short, about 3-4 miles but the roads were unrelenting.  There was virtually no rest and the inclines were so extreme that It took ALL of my power to crawl along.  Couple that with sections with crazy headwinds and the internal voices telling you to stop start making a lot of sense. 
Picture 6687
The faithful steeds at the top.
Picture 6688
Picture 6691
We took Ridge road back for a beautiful scenic ride.  Problem was, the beauty also came with long distances and moderate climbs that drained me DRY. 
Picture 6695
The whole epic ride only resulted in one flat.  That’s great luck in my mind.
Picture 6697
I would probably have to go again sometime soon as I want to actually ride better and not be so wounded by the mountain.  For anyone looking to do this climb I suggest plenty of rest beforehand, eat well, eat smart, hydrate, bring a lot of water, and HAVE GOOD GEARING, a compact crankset with 28T in the rear would be great!

Thanks Eman for sticking with my slow.. pain ridden crawl up the mountain.