View Full Version : Longest Solo, Most Climbing Yet!

07-07-2007, 06:57 PM
I have never really posted a ride report...but, I feel pretty happy with my ride yesterday, and want to share it! :) This is pretty long...be warned.

Summary: I did my longest ever solo training ride (80 miles), and also climbed the most I ever have in one day (7300').

The route: Up Hurricane Ridge & back down (40 miles), followed by the Piedmont Loop...over the Elwha River, out to Joyce, up and over to Lake Crescent, back in over the Elwha, and home (40 miles).

I took a long time...about 10 hours total, including breaks.

I started out in mid-morning, since I hate (and my digestion hates) getting up early, and also knowing we have a lot of daylight at present. It was quite sunny, but also windy. I got everything together, and stocked my bike with 3 water bottles, Nunn electrolyte tabs, Power Bars, and Carb-Boom gels in orange cream/vanilla (which I am now absolutely addicted to on the bike...no upset tummy, great energy, awesome taste). I put on some sunscreen, but as it turned out, not enough. :(

I did a few loops on the one flat parking lot near home for a warm up, and then headed up the mountain. The first five miles is the steepest, and it cuts up through the trees, so no view. It's pleasant, but a bit of a slog. Still, it's near sea level, so the breathing is good ;) . Two riders came whizzing down the hill (well, not taking a whiz, mind you, just going FAST), with one of them in that extreme tuck (hands on bar tops, face an inch from the bar, elbows DOWN and in) that looks so scary to me! She even waved from that position! She had to be going at least 50mph, as I know I go 40mph on that stretch, and she was REALLY flying. Then, at five miles, I came to the park entry gate, where there was a huge line-up! So, I had a de facto 15 minute break. This entry gate is also where anyone doing this ride can take a powder break (in the campground) and get more water (at the entry gate out-building hose).

Refreshed and ready to go, I got started on the much easier 3 miles up to the tunnels. Got passed by a nice gentleman on a bike, and got up into where the view turns pretty. It was super clear, with Mt. Baker, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the San Juans, the Cascade Mountains, and the Dungeness flats & spit all at my feet. This ride is really worth how you feel when you can look straight down and see so graphically just how far you've climbed...and the tunnels are less than 1/2 way up!

Then through the tunnels...always kind of creepy for me...using headlight and extra rear flashers (well, I don't flash my rear on the bike, but you know what I mean) :p . Then on up. And up...the road gets a little steeper again at this point. The sun was out, and although I really ride better in the heat than the cold, the last 8 miles or so were kind of a slog for some reason, yesterday. I was really feeling the altitude. More than the last time I did it. So, I stopped in every small patch of shade I came to, and they come few and far between higher up in the alpine environment. I was carrying 3 water bottles, so I dumped some over my head to use my hair as a swamp cooler, and that really helped!

Finally, long story short, I arrived at the top! I took off my shoes, had some nice conversations with tourists, and pulled out my yellow jacket for the descent. After one last look around at the spectacular scenery of the Olympic Park backcountry, I headed down.

With my low- to mid-range skills, the descent takes me about an hour. I find this fun, but fairly tiring...a full hour of descending in the drops on roads with lots of sheer drops, no shoulder, and many distracted tourists driving! Also, further down, in the trees, I startled a deer and had a moment of heart-in-throat in that flash of time when it could have either jumped out or not. It skittered around on its side of the road, and all was fine, but I realized that was one good reason for taking the descent a little easier. I wouldn't want to hit a deer on my bike!

Then: :mad: Coming down the very final stretch there is a [B]short section of downhill road with no shoulder and a 35 mph limit that I must travel for maybe 2 block lengths. There was traffic, and knowing I would only be on the road for a couple hundred yards, I was taking the whole lane and going about 25, since I knew I needed to make a sharp right-hand turn. I signaled and slowed for the turn, and some idiot in a car was TAILGATING me. Truly on my wheel, about 3 feet off. I just instinctively turned around and in my most deep and agressive voice, yelled BACK OFF! before I turned. Fortunately, I had a goal for the day and kept on my own ride, because I felt like chasing him to the stoplight another block away and calling in his license plate, in as much as this is a small town and I happen to be selling my house to the chief of police! But, a deep breath prevailed, and I kept on with my plans.

After I got down off the mountain, I stopped in at my house to refill bottles and suck down a yogurt with almonds. Then it was on to the next 40 miles. My morale and energy flagged for the next 15 miles. I was riding into a pretty stiff, blustery headwind with a lot of traffic and a very small shoulder, and after climbing the Ridge already, my power was waning. I had a lot of these kinds of thoughts, as my bad attitude almost got the best of me: "Of course it has to be windy! We can't ever just have a day of unmitigated good weather around here! Sh!tty climate! Sh!tty climate! It isn't even a warm wind! We're never going to get a normal summer!" And so forth. Fortunately, I remembered (1) it was time for a gel, and (2) when I got to Joyce, I could take the turn up and over to the lake, and the wind would likely change. I was hoping, hoping, hoping that I would have the same wind at my back for the trip home. With a number of various valleys and mountains, sometimes this happens, sometimes not.

So, a small climb over the hill, down to Lake Crescent, beautiful scenery, and lower wind. Suddenly, I was feeling better. If it hadn't been 7pm already, I would have stopped for a swim! Long story short, the last 25 miles or so felt great. I was tired, but I was doing fine. My tush had been getting a little sore, but it was feeling better again, and I also stopped at a truck scale port-a-potty for the home stretch break, and I did, indeed, get that tailwind. So, for the last several miles of my 80 mile ride, I was able to swoosh along at 25 mph on the flat, thanks to that wind!

I arrived home with a smile on my face, feeling like I could keep going if I needed to (but really glad I didn't need to). When I got off the bike I discovered two things: (1) standing on the ground, my body did not feel nearly as good as I had on the bike, and (2) I had not used enough sunscreen. I was extremely tired, stiff and beat up, immediately after getting home. And, the leg that had born the brunt of the sunshine up to the Ridge was pretty seriously crispy and painful. It looked like a hot dog that had been microwaved for too long. So, no hot shower for me! Ice, neosporin, and Tylenol PM to help fall asleep despite a pretty painful burn.

Still, I feel pretty great about the ride. I did my longest solo training ride, with my highest elevation gain so far for one day...and I arrived home feeling extraordinarily grateful. I have a healthy body that held up, I had no digestion issues, I had no mechanicals, I had a safe ride, I saw some beautiful scenery, I talked to some pleasant people, and I achieved a new PB for climbing. Pretty hard to beat! My overwhelming thought as I fell asleep last night was, "Thank you, Lord!"

OK everyone...if you slogged through and read this far...thanks for listening!

07-07-2007, 07:27 PM
o.m.g.....I'm kinda glad I had to work :D

Congrats though! That is a LOT of climbing. What grade of incline were the uphills?

Wow, just wow.

07-07-2007, 07:27 PM
Great job!! You did good!!

07-08-2007, 03:35 PM
o.m.g.....I'm kinda glad I had to work :D

Congrats though! That is a LOT of climbing. What grade of incline were the uphills?

Wow, just wow.

Next time, Teigyr, next time! It was a blast. You should come over for a ride some time. The second part of the ride, that 40 mile loop out to the lake, is a great ride: 40 miles, 2000 feet or so.

The routes I took this time have hills with almost all between 5-7%. There are some sections on the Ridge Road up to about 9%, but they are the minority, and there are no really steep pitches. It's pretty gradual...there just isn't much let up on that road.

On the second part of the ride, the loop, you can make it harder with a different route that has up to 14-15% pitches, but I didn't. I took the easier routes, nothing more than about7% or something. And, on the loop, the hills aren't very long. Maybe a mile or something for the longest.

07-09-2007, 07:21 AM
Yippeee!!!! Nice write up. Very funny about the chief buying your house.

I'd go seriously crazy if I lived with your rain. It's rained off and on the entire time we've been in Maine. We brought our mountain bikes, so no fenders. We haven't ventured out yet. Of course we've been doing family stuff too.


07-09-2007, 07:43 AM
that's amazing. You went on a 40 mile ride AFTER you did Hurricane Ridge?!?!??!?!!?

I guess it really made a difference that the day we went wasn't nice weather. There weren't many tourists. I wasn't dealing with hardly any cars on the downhill but since it was raining
I wasn't going very fast either. :(

you should be truly proud of yourself. Hurricane Ridge changed my total outlook on hills.
was this your first time on that (ahem) hill?

07-09-2007, 10:08 AM
What a great report. I know how tough that road is. Way to go!
Sorry I missed you. I didn't get out of work until after 5pm. Hope to catch up with you soon.

07-09-2007, 10:40 AM
Starfish, congrats on conquering a long challenging solo ride. I enjoyed reading your writeup. Glad you could overcome your playedoutness and keep pedlin.

07-09-2007, 11:36 AM
Wow well done!!
Love your ride report and yep you should be very proud or yourself.:)

07-09-2007, 11:45 AM
She did it all alone!

07-09-2007, 12:52 PM
Way to go Starfish!!!
Lots of climbing alright!
I really like the sound of those tunnels - just as something different to do...

07-09-2007, 06:13 PM
Starfish, you are AMAZING! Great job! I am seriously impressed!

When I was up your way last week, we drove out to Joyce. I was looking at the roads out there and thinking "wow, I bet this would be a nice place to ride." But to ride all around out there AND do Hurricane Ridge in one day? Way to go!!! :D

07-09-2007, 06:25 PM
Great ride and writeup, my helmet's off to you! :D

And I totally know what you mean about being unable to walk even though you were able to ride just fine towards the end. It's a weird weird feeling. :)

07-09-2007, 08:27 PM
Everyone: Thanks for your replies...you can probably tell I kind of need the encouragement! I really appreciate your reading through my long report.

Veronica: Yes, I am seriously crazy. Yesterday, even though Seattle had beautiful sunshine, our weather was cold, gray and crummy. It does make me crazy. Nice day today, thankfully.

Mimi: No, I think that was now the 3rd time up the Ridge for me. And, you know, I do almost all my riding alone. There is a really nice group of riders over here, but they are all seriously fast. Hawaiian Iron People and so forth. But, I have decided that this fall and winter, when the season is over, I am going to start riding with them, no matter what. Even if I can only hang for 5 minutes, maybe I will get faster over time.

Also, about doing it alone...I harbor a little dream someday of doing STP in one day. My hope is that if I do up to 100 mile hilly routes alone, even though I'm not that fast, maybe if I find a little group of 3 women or so to paceline with, maybe I'd be strong enough to do 200 flat miles in one day.

07-09-2007, 10:24 PM
Yippppppeeeeee Starfish!!

You did great. I'm so happy for you and yes we will ride together one day. I'd love to do that ride with you!!

It's so hard to do a long ride like that by yourself. I did 6 hours this weekend solo. Blech!! Good mental toughness.:D :D

07-10-2007, 10:41 AM
Gee, Starfish, you've already did a ride harder than a 1 day STP.
You're right though; you need to find a paceline. that's the only way to complete a 1 day STP in a reasonable time!

07-10-2007, 05:01 PM
I do very little paceline riding on a double century. I actually don't like riding in a paceline very much. I like to be able to look around and see the scenery.


07-10-2007, 06:31 PM
Wahine: Good for you with your 6 hour ride! I know the longer rides were causing you a little motivational issue. Sounds like you've broken through. I'm up for a ride up here anytime...although I know you're a lot faster than me...you'd have to be patient! I'd also love to come down there for a ride...but the next couple months are going to be rough to coordinate any travel for me, and I know you're working on your house!

Mimi: I feel unsure that my Friday ride was harder than a 200 mile ride. I've only done STP once, but I recall that the rollers on day two were a little hillier than I remember people portraying them. Mimi, have you done a 1-day STP? If so, wanna do it again someday!?! (Wahine, Veronica, you too, for that matter!)

Veronica: The thing about STP is that there really isn't much in the way of scenery! LOL To me, its main selling point as a first double would be that over 200 miles, it only climbs something like 2000 feet!

07-10-2007, 06:54 PM
I'm NEVER one to knock a flat ride :D but bear in mind that on a truly flat ride, one tends to not shift one's weight around as much, get out of the saddle, etc., as they might on a hillier ride. So a super flat double can be hard on the lower regions than a hillier one. A moderate climbing route may be a better 1st double choice....

Just a thought.

- MP, who loooves a flat, fast ride in spite of her moniker

07-10-2007, 06:59 PM
MP, thanks! Actually, this is kind of encouraging, because frankly STP is just a really crowded ride for my taste. You have encouraged me that maybe a smaller double with a rolling profile (in a sunny climate!) might be the ticket!

And, hey, anyone who is reading this thread (Wahine? Mimi? MP?, V?) there is a ride in Montana every June called RATPOD that is in GORGEOUS country and falls smack in the middle of a Century and a Double Century...hint, hint... ;)

07-10-2007, 08:41 PM
Starfish - the house is done. Well, it's functional for guests at least. You're welcome anytime.