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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    WA State

    Cascade's New HPC ride

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    So racing season is over and the hubby and I decided to get in one epic adventure before the winter training grind set in...
    Epic we asked for epic we got - actually it was lovely and a lot of fun if cold.

    The ride was from the small town of Packwood, Washington up to the view point on Windy Ridge, 120 miles, with about 8,000 feet of elevation gain. It looks out over Spirit Lake at Mt. St. Helens, though it was mostly socked in with clouds and we did not see the mountain itself - the views were still very impressive!

    We left Packwood a little after 7am. The first 20 or so miles were pretty flat so we were clipping right along. The hubby being a big guy tends to collect other riders even if we don't invite them... so as usual a paceline formed behind us. We were moving quite quickly and this was a ride for more experienced riders so everyone who joined us was cordial and exerienced. I love pacelining with guys - they pull hard and they don't care if I don't take the front. We covered the 25 miles to the first food stop in about an hour! There was a small hill before that first stop and that split off some of our gang, then some stopped (we did) some went right on so once again we were on our own.

    From there it was mostly up and as it has started chilly the higher we went the colder it got. Whew! I was wishing I'd brought the chemical toe warmers I'd scoffed at the day before...... and I was dressed better than some I saw. I felt really bad for the people I'd seen in just their shorts and short sleeves. We wound our way up to Windy Ridge and totally oogled the scenery. Even 20 years later the blast zone up there is eerie. We hit the turn around and lunch stop, but didn't linger much longer than it took to down some food, refill the bottles and use the facilities. It was too cold to sightsee, but I'd love to go back some day and go hiking. I heard from someone that it was 36 at the top - ouch!

    The way back down was chilling, but it took probably 1/2 the time as going up and we were ahead of most people so we didn't have a lot of traffic to contend with - you had to be careful, there were several sections of road that were being resurfaced and were just gravel!!! One dummy did come flying around me at pretty dangerous looking speeds and I'm pretty sure it was him in the ditch a few turns later....... (no I didn't stop, but a group of others was already there)

    We hit the last food stop (36 miles from the finish - the way back was a little different) and took off, looking like we were probably good to be getting back right around 2:00pm. Then about 15 miles or so later - dun-dun-duuuuuun - I broke a spoke. Drat. We stopped to see if we could true up the wheel enought to keep it from rubbing, but not one of the notches on our spoke wrench would fit my spokes - double drat! So I opened the brakes all of the way and babied it the rest of the way back. The orgainizers did offer me a ride, but I could get by, it wasn't too far, and fortunately most of the descending was behind me. I did have to be careful without any front brake and I don't think the wobble in the wheel was doing me any favors. I was also careful to not hit any potholes - another broken spoke and it the wheel definitely wouldn't have been true enought to clear the fork! In any case I made it back, wobbly wheel and all. We finished up at around 2:30 - 2:45ish. The hubbies computer said 6:55 ride time.

    The wonderful woman who runs the small hotel we stayed at invited all of us cyclists to come back and shower after the ride - what bliss a hot shower and a hot cup of tea before we had to drive home!

    In all the food was good, the support copious, the views awesome, the route nice - mostly very low traffic and only one section of rough chip seal, and on the way up the pavement was very good (a bit torn up on the way down.... I think that side of the road was slowly slipping off the edge....). The BBQ at the finish line was quite nice too. My only suggestion would be to have a gear truck take some extra clothing to the top and then pick it up at the bottom again. I'd have added shoe covers, toe warmers, a hat, heavier gloves (I already had on long finger!) and maybe even a heavier jacket and tights- too much to stuff in my pockets.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Wow- sounds like a very cold adventure! Only 6:55 for 120 miles and 8000 ft elevation gain? You go, stud puppy!
    Did you manage to take any pictures? Even tho you couldn't see well- I'll bet the views were still breathtaking!
    And a broken spoke? Dang- not cool. Glad you made it back in OK!

    Thanks for posting about your adventure on the mountain.
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Lancashire UK.

    Thanks for sharing

    Brilliant and interesting too
    Scarlett x
    Life is Great!

    John O'Groats to Lands End 1000 miles+ 12 days July- August 2008


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    man, that must have been cold, if you were feeling it going UP HILL!!!

    thanks for a great ride report.
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.



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