View Full Version : 2004 Ramrod

04-23-2004, 08:37 AM
This year's ramrod (ride around Mt. Rainier in One Day) was done by lottery. I've never done it and I thought, "What are my chances of getting picked?" So I registered . . . Well, guess what?! I got picked! Did I get myself into something I shouldn't have? Anyone else out there ride it? Riding it? What training advice do you have to offer? Tips? Stories? Would love to hear from you!



04-23-2004, 03:20 PM
Hey Sue,
I've never done the ride; no desire to either, but I did offer to support 2 friends who did it last year, so I can claim that I did DAMROD - drive around.....! The Redmond CC is adamant about PSVs...personal support vehicles and they're right to be as I spoke with some of the organizers beforehand. They have to work very closely with the park rangers etc and in the past some yahoos who were personal support for riders, rode too close and dangerously to riders, or stopped/parked their car in bike lanes or got in the way at official rest stops and the like so that is the reason for all of their warnings about psv's on the website.
I did go along and pre-planned where I would meet my riders, always at other spots than official rest stops (there aren't many of those tho) and I pulled completely off the road and out of the way...I had plenty of snacks and beverages for them...even cold water in a spray bottle, that I spritzed them with on the hot climbs...and stayed to do the same for tons of riders following them!
You'll do well to train for both mileage and climbing on this ride...the first 40 or so roll right on by and after you turn in Eatonville, the grade up begins to the park gate...then the climb up to Paradise, followed by a sweet downhill, before you climb a bit again up Backbone ridge...with another awesome downhill...the climb up Cayuse is in the heat of the day, after a century of riding, so all of my friends that have done the ride agree that that is the toughest part. There is of course a long downhill after you crest Cayuse down to the final rest stop at entrance to Crystal Mtn and after that there is about another 30 miles of riding to the finish. I let my friends enjoy the last miles on their own while I drove on ahead and got some ice cold brewskis for them to enjoy after they had their recovery drinks in the Enumclaw h.s. parking lot at the finish.
When I asked for their feedback about whether I was helpful or not, they stated that there was no way they could've done it w/o my help as there were not enough options for them to replenish their water supply, etc. to keep going...I kept 2 coolers in my car, filled with both ice water, accelerade, v-8, coke, juices and plenty of snacks...
All that being said, you've done plenty of long rides and mtn passes before so I'm sure you'll plan and train well to make sure it's a safe, fun ride for you to enjoy...
They're doing it again this year along with another friend and all have already asked if I'd consider helping again - see ya on the road!

04-23-2004, 11:05 PM
Hey Mary,

Thanks for all the info on the ride! I did start training but I know I need to get a lot more of it in before July 29th. I haven't been riding a lot this winter so I have a lot of catching up to do. My husband Joe, who also rides, is helping me to train for the RAMROD. Like you, he has no desire to ride it. He is supporting me though. He said, "If you want to kill yourself I won't stand in your way, but I will be there to help you when you need me." He told me he would drop me off at Enumclaw High School and then go to the Mint Bar until it's time to come and pick me up! LOL Such a funny guy (in his mind anyway!) I was a bit concerned about the water situation. So you can understand my distress after reading about your friends feedback regarding the water options. I may have to go out and buy a roadie hydropak. I have one for my mountain bike (a big mule) but those things can be so dam hot against your back! Maybe my husband and daughter will do a DAMROD. I will just have to tell them not to stop at any of the official rest stops and to make sure they pull entirely off the road. I want to start as early as I can, too. 5 am! How long did it take your two friends to do the RAMROD? Including rest stops.

Have you done any of the annual scheduled rides, Mary? Joe and I did the Tulip Pedal on April 10th in Skagit County and we also did the Daffodil Classic last Sunday. The 50 mile loop. It's a start. Tomorrow Joe and I are doing a 50 miler. It looks like this weekend is going to be a good one for biking or anything else outdoorsy! I hope you have some good rides planned for this weekend.

Again thank you so much for the info!

Wow, your friends are doing it again this year?! They must have really enjoyed the ride last year?!!!!


04-24-2004, 08:55 AM
"If you want to kill yourself I won't stand in your way, but I will be there to help you when you need me."

LOL, aren't supportive husbands great? :D

I had no clue what RAMROD was, so I looked it up on Google and found this site http://www.redmondcyclingclub.org/RAMROD/
Looks like a fabulous (and epic) ride!

I'll add it to my list of rides to check out when we eventually move up to the NW
- Jo.

04-24-2004, 07:02 PM
hey Sue - no worries, you will have a great ride f'sure...I added the feedback in the interest of full disclosure and to help you plan, that's all. I didn't notice too many official support vehicles out on the route last year, and there were a couple of water stations, but you would do well to get even a small camelbak. I don't like the big heavy mules on my back either, but use a small 70 oz bladder which doesnt hang all the way down my back or feel like the same heavy burden as previously used bigger ones. Whenever I ride a century or more (a la STP), I always use a camelbak for water and use my 2 bottles for my electrolyte drink...
All my RAMROD riders had to do was stop and hand me their warm, half-empty bottles (they didn't use camelbak's cuz they had me) and there were icy cold replacements in their hands instantly. Our mutual P.T. is a veteran RAAM rider and she helped with some tips too...like having a sip of coke when you're really tired and hot and one of my riders swears that the 1/2 cup of icy cold (flat) coke that I had her sip while climbing up Cayuse, helped her power the last 1/2 mile to crest it. She also had me bring some V-8 for the sodium content and used it when she started cramping on the climb to Paradise.
I gotta say though, that your husband's got a great idea...where's the Mint Bar? Maybe I'll head there instead of doing DAMROD again!
Yeah, they started out about 5:30 (after saying that they were very nervous - understandably so!) and didn't really stop too long anywhere, with the exception of about 20 min. for cramps up to Paradise and then about the same there for lunch...they crested Cayuse at about 5PM and ran into a friend volunteering at the (good food) rest stop at Crystal Mtn entrance, so that was a longer stop too...I think that they coasted back into the parking lot @ 8 or so...I was in my beach chair next to my car, sipping a beer, chatting with riders, reading a mag...la de da!
2 other friends did it in <10 that same day - they're such gnarly girl riders! I spotted cruising along and passing tons of guy pacelines (love to see the looks that guys give them!) till we entered the park...and then it was sayonara...pretty cool.
Yep, I've been riding...and am headed to Vancouver, WA next weekend for the Ride around Clark Cty...I've done the supported rides in/around Seattle area so often, that it's fun to go and find some new ones. Am also riding RAW/the Cascade annual ride around WA - it's over in Spokane > Walla Walla area and I've never been riding over there either, so am looking forward to that. June/Womantours - yoga and cycling in Grand Tetons too...sounds wonderful, eh?
You bet, I'll be glad to help you out too, while I'm out there this year...we can connect beforehand somehow...but again, you'll have a great ride - get it in your head and it'll happen!

04-26-2004, 08:15 AM

I agree with your statement 100% . . . "Get it in your head and it will HAPPEN!" :)

Joe and I went to Performance and I picked out a 70 oz small hydro pack! I got to thinking at how much water and power aide I go through and then I checked out the cue sheet and noticed that the stops were 30 miles apart! On a hot July day that isn't good! And I will heed your advice about water in the hydro pack and my power aide in my two water bottles. Hopefully that will help a lot.

What a gorgeous weekend we had for riding! Joe and I were thinking about doing the Ride Around Clark County but we are riding with friends up here that weekend. The following weekend, we are driving down to Chehalis to ride in the "Historical Lewis County Bicycle Ride" . . . It will be Joe, me, and two friends. We are going to do the 72 mile loop. It's supposed to be a gorgeous and scenic ride!

I know what you're talking about. Same here. Joe and I have ridden in most of the local rides and we are looking for different ones this year, too. There's a new one called the Rhapsody (http://www.rapsodyride.org/). Joe and I are thinking about doing it with two friends. Nothing definite right now but it looks like a fun ride! And new!

Mary, I'm definitely going to have to meet up with you some day! If not sooner definitely during the RAMROD! And if you talk to my hubby don't listen to him! :D He will say things like, "Sue's the crazy one, doing the RAMROD proves it!" Joe is a max 50-75 miler. He has done centuries with me but only because I nagged him to death! But no matter how much I nagged and coerced him this time . . . he absolutely refused to do the RAMROD! lol

And Jo . . . when will you be moving up here to the NW? I hope soon because our weather is the best right now!


04-26-2004, 07:08 PM
Hey again Sue,
Yeah, I heard about RAPSody when the bike clubs started planning it last year and some folks I know via the Seattle Bicycle Club were talking about how the club would support it. It does sound like fun and I'm thinking of doing it...just have to work it into the crazy schedule somehow!
I'm with Joe re: RAMROD though - really don't have any desire to ride it; if I did, I would've done it before now. Glad to hear that you got a camelbak - you're planning to do a few rides with it beforehand, right? If the water stops are only 30 miles apart, that's a bit better than I was guessing last year. I think that they could do well to find at least 1 more spot to sit with cold water on Cayuse this year. It's in the heat of the afternoon and I found several places to pull off the road completely. One time, I was on the downhill side of the road and after my riders pulled out, I was closing up the back of my car and the next several riders asked me if I had any spare water, so I hung out there a while offering water, or refreshing spritzes with the spray bottle as folks rode by...I was glad to be able to help out.
One thing I forgot to tell you was that last year our P.T. cautioned my riders to not push it early on. She said that it'd be easy to get caught up with hammering pacelines in the cool of the morning, with all of the nervous energy, but reminded them that they should focus on easy spinning and warming up, so that they could pace themselves for the long day.
It wasn't until they were back at the finish and we were all hanging out in the parking lot, reviewing the ride and how all went, that they acknowledged that they did push it faster than they should've from the start to Eatonville. One thought that's why she started cramping, because once she rested and I used sports massage on them both, she could continue, but she realized that if they had been focused to ride their own ride, it would've been a bit easier. So, I guess it always comes back to how you plan and train and then ride your own ride, not anyone else'.
See ya on the road at some point...Mary

04-26-2004, 07:57 PM
Hi Sue,

I agree with Mary. Definitely have to ride your own ride. It's so easy to get caught up in the rush at the beginning. My way to keep my pace is to keep an eye on my heart rate - not the speedometer.

I'm looking forward to hearing all about your ride!


04-26-2004, 09:47 PM
And Jo . . . when will you be moving up here to the NW?Eventually, if not sooner :D ... someday we'll get the wheels in motion.
- Jo.

04-28-2004, 07:10 AM
So many people have given me that one piece of advice! Ride your own pace! Pace yourself! Don't try and keep up with a faster rider! Save your energy for the climbs! So you know that is one thing I will really follow! I want to enjoy (????? lol if you can enjoy a 154 mile ride) the RAMROD. And that's why I want to start at 5 am. I want to give myself the chance to finish!

Oh you are too kind Mary! Offering water and refreshing spritzes of water! I know how wonderful the spritzes must have felt. Last August when I was doing the Courage Classic, at the end of the daily ride when we pulled in to the last stop, they had these arches with water spraying from out of them. Aaaahhhh it felt wonderful! I must have pedaled through one of them half a dozen times!

Hey Mary have you checked out the weekend forecast?! WOW! I hope you survived our wild weather from yesterday. Hail, high winds, thunder, lightning, and even a tornado (so they claim) ... my backyard needs some cleaning up from all the branches that are now lying on top of my lawn! But not today after work. As soon as hubby walks in the door (I get home before him) we are going biking!

You think I should try and do a couple of rides with the camelback? Maybe I'll use it when we head down to Chehalis on the 8th for the Lewis County Historical Bicycle Ride?!

Ok ladies, thanks once again for the great tips. Enjoy the day and as my hubby always says, "Keep the rubber side down!" I'll tell him to save a stool at the mint bar for you Mary. ;)


04-28-2004, 02:02 PM
Hey Sue,
Yep, you'll surely want to enjoy it - after prepping and training for it and you will - I'm sure of it. Just set your goals (both in training and for the event ride itself) and you'll meet them - simple as that!
When I asked if you'd use the camelbak ahead of time, it's from my own practice of not using anything (be it a new saddle position to a different snack, etc) for the first time on the ride I've been training for. You'll want to already be familiar with how the camelbak feels and how it's such a help to be able to have it so handy on hillclimbs and long pulls on the flats; that way, you'll be doing a great job of hydrating appropriately all during your training too.
Yeah, one of my riders spotted a message on the post-RAMROD forum last year referring to "an angel offering icy water on Cayuse"...
Yep, heading to Vancouver for the Clark Cty ride this weekend; should be great.
I'll be ready to sit and sip at the mint bar f'sure...have a great weekend!

04-28-2004, 09:48 PM
The same to you Mary, have a great weekend and a great ride in Vancouver! I want to hear all about it when you get back! And don't forget the sun screen!

And that was really nice of someone to praise you in the post RAMROD forum. To him/her (all of them) you indeed must have seemed like an angel! Saving those poor poor cyclists from their dehydration as they climbed up Cayuse!


Forgot to do my mantra for the night . . . can't allow that soooo

Ride my own ride, ride my own ride, ride my own hummmmmmmmmmmm . . .

07-28-2004, 07:36 AM
Well tomorrow is the big day! I have my camel back and my hubby wants me to take an extra "tire" besides extra tubes! It takes up so much room I am thinking of leaving it. It's going to be hot tomorrow and that backpack is already quite heavy. Joe won't be able to be with me the day of the ride. He has clients coming in from out of state and out of country and will be in meetings all day long. He just could not get out of it. I told him not to worry that I will do fine. The support is supposed to be great and they have people cruising the course. He said he will be at the finish though waiting for me. Today I will go to Enumclaw to pick up my race packet! I'm so excited!:D


07-28-2004, 09:16 AM
Wow, Susan, hope you have a great time!!!

As for carrying the extra tire ... hmmm. Definitely make sure you have an extra tube or 2, but an extra tire might be a bit overkill. Then again I don't know what kind of tires you ride (if they are the ultra lightweight kind then maybe it might make sense) or the kind of terrain you'll be riding over.

Let us know all about it when you get back.

- Jo.

07-28-2004, 09:20 AM
I was sort of dubious about the extra tire too. We carry one when we're doing self supported tours. But this is a ride with SAG. Then again if you're using fairly fragile tires it might be a good idea - if it's Kevlar beaded so you can fold it up! :p

Good luck and have fun!