Saturday, June 29, 2013

Puyallup Cyclopaths' "Triple-By-Pass" Ride

Author:  Mike Hassur

Well, another memorable Triple-By-Pass in the books.  We had a good group (Leon, Mike S, Rob, John, Les, Dwaine, Mark, Nick, and me).  We arrived at Cayuse Pass (our starting point) at 6:00 AM to find it misting.  There were possible thunderstorms in the forecast for east of the mountains, so the mist made us a little nervous.  We were on the road by 6:20 AM heading toward Chinook Pass.  Almost immediately, we were out of the mist; and the roads were dry.  We hit patches of ground fog on the way up and saw some snow as we neared the summit of Chinook. 

As soon as we crested Chinook Pass, we hit sunshine.  The descent down the east side of the pass was beautiful with sunshine and intermittent cloud banks (see the video of this descent at ).  Unfortunately, my GoPro camera mounting broke about 12 miles into this descent which spelled the end of my video efforts (disappointing because I was looking forward to filming the descent on the west side of White Pass).

Our group easily stayed together on the climb of Chinook Pass (west side) and the descent of Chinook’s east side.  Our first “re-supply” stop was supposed to be at Whistlin’ Jack’s Lodge which is about 25 miles east of Chinook Pass on Hwy 410.  Unfortunately, some of the bladders in our group
Unscheduled pit stop
didn’t make it.  After the stop at Whistlin’ Jacks (where Rob Critchfield, who had gotten a late start, caught up with us), we continued east on Hwy 410 toward the junction with Hwy 12 which would take us to White Pass.  Rob, who is training for the Lotoja 2013 bike race, led much of the way.  It was a little downhill and the wind was behind us, but it was still a struggle to keep up (Rob was going 27-29 mph for this entire stretch).

After turning onto Hwy 12 (at about mile 50), we found ourselves heading into the wind as we headed toward White Pass.  After about 17 miles on Hwy 12, we arrived at Trout Lodge (our second “re-supply” stop of the trip.  We refilled our water bottles stocked up on food and headed out on the final 21 miles up to White Pass.  Somewhere in this stretch we lost Nick.  Mark stayed with the group for most of the climb – losing contact not far from the top.  We stopped at White Pass for a

final refill of water bottles and food.  After a short rest, we descended the west side of White Pass, turned right on Hwy 123 and headed toward our final climb of the day up the south side of CayusePass (Mark stayed at White Pass until Nick arrived so that the two of them could support one another to the finish). 

Everyone in our group seemed pretty strong going up Cayuse Pass – EXCEPT ME.  I bonked and enjoyed cramping on the way up.  Once finished, the group agreed that it had been a really good ride (the weather was hot but sunny); and, in spite of my inauspicious ascent of Cayuse Pass, I had to agree.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Les Becker and Mike Hassur: Crossing The Narrows Bridge And Heading To The Port Orchard Area

Author:  Mike Hassur

We left Les Becker’s house in University Place about 6:50 AM.  The temperature was around 50 degrees, it wasn’t raining, and the weather forecast was good.  Our plan was to cross the Narrows Bridge and head toward the Manchester/Port Orchard area.  We followed Grandview Drive north past Curtis High School.  Before long, we were crossing the Narrows Bridge.  There were minimal crosswinds, so crossing the bridge was uneventful.  Each time that I see that bridge, I’m impressed with its size and beauty.  The engineer(s)/artist(s) who designed it did an amazing job.  After crossing the bridge, we headed down through Gig Harbor.  We rode all the way through Gig Harbor and headed north on Crescent Valley Drive NW.  Before long, we were crossing the Olalla Bridge (each February, members of the local Polar Bear Club jump off that bridge into the water).  Just after crossing the bridge, we turned right on Banner Road SE and climbed a seemingly endless hill that reached grades of 21%!!  We continued to work our way north toward Manchester and Port Orchard.  Along the way, we met another cyclist named, John.  He ended up being a good cyclist, and he rode with us to Manchester (rather, we rode with him; since he seemed to know the roads quite well).  By the time we arrived at Manchester, Les and I needed to turn back.  We retraced our route pretty much the way we had come.  This time, when we crossed the Narrows Bridge, there was quite a crosswind.  We found ourselves having to lean to the right to counteract the force of the wind.  Each time that we would pass one of the giant uprights that hold the bridge up, it would block the wind causing us to lurch to the right since we had been leaning that way.  It probably looked pretty comical.  Anyway, we made it safe and sound. 

Tom Peterson and Les have been urging me to ride in this area; and now I understand why.  It’s beautiful with its short, steep climbs and views of the water.  By the way, Manchester (which I’d never heard of) is a lovely, little community situated right on the water.

To see video of parts of this ride, go to: .

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Portland Short ride and Surprise Mob Ride

Author:  Brent Moody

Spent the weekend in Portland, hoping to get much more cycling in. This was one of my first times spending more than a day in Portland. I was really surprised by the amount of bikes and bike services around Portland, a biking meca! I made the trip mainly for a family  weekend, visiting my brother who was in town for the weekend from Nebraska. 
Portland is all about cycling and micro brews! It was also a brew fest all month long in Portland, with June 6th the opening day. I arrived on Friday, hoping to get a bike ride in early Saturday am. Stayed up a little late, so didn’t make the ride…LOL. Saturday night was a surprise event for cycling in Portland, at least a surprise for me. It was the opening of the cycle fest with… A Naked Bike Ride! Yes, heard from many locals, over 8000 nude cyclists hitting the streets of Portland.  Activities started about 10pm, and yes there were probably over 8000. Traffic was a gridlock for about an hour to allow all these avid cyclist the ample time to ride freely. This was the best gut laugh of the weekend. I know I know, your asking wheres all the pictures. Thought I better not post them… LOL.
I did get up Sunday for a quick short ride. Didn’t have much time, so hit the streets before 8am and wanted to get some climbing in. Wasn’t much warm up before the climbing started, reminded me of Hurricane Ridge. Streets were vacant of cars and cyclists, so I owned the road for a short hour. The climb started quickly and winded up west side of Portland. The turns kept winding and seemed like the top wouldn’t come quick enough, since no warm up. Total Climb was about 1165 ft in 4 miles, the middle 1.5 mile segment had elevation of 7 to 11.5%. I was tired, but great short climb and some great pics. Great weekend, cant wait to go back to get some real longer rides in around Portland.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Puyallup Cyclopaths: Skate Creek Loop Ride

Author:  Mike Hassur

On the drive out; Leon, Martin, and I saw a large cat (not mountain lion large) running across the road that we thought may have been a lynx.  After looking at pictures on Google Images, I suspect it may have been a bobcat - but I'm not really certain.  Anyway, it was a cool way to start the day. 

We gathered at our usual meeting place at about 6:45 AM.  It was a little chilly at that time of the morning, but it was evident that the weather was going to be awesome.  We ended up with ten riders (Leon, Tom, Les, Scott, Martin, Rob, Mark, Nick, John, and me), and we were heading out a little after 7:00 AM.  Unfortunately, Kurt Maute arrived just after we left and missed linking up with us.  Originally, we had been considering doing the route backwards (counter-clockwise) as there was some road work in the Steven’s Canyon area; but further inquiry suggested that the road work was not going to impact us much and taking the traditional route served our large group better.  Kurt still thought that we were doing the route backwards and set out in that direction.  He didn’t link up with us until the very end of our ride (by that time, he was in his car looking for us).  Sorry, Kurt.
We rode together to the Nisqually Entrance of Mt Rainier National Park.  Shortly after that, we started climbing which separated our group.  We stopped at Longmire to use the bathroom and regrouped – sort of.  Les and I were the last to leave Longmire.  After climbing for awhile, we caught up with Martin.  Everyone else was somewhere ahead of us, so we just rode together to the junction a couple of miles below Paradise where you can either head up to Paradise or continue on toward Reflection Lake.  Martin headed toward Reflection Lake, while Les and I continued on up to Paradise where we met the rest of the group.

After regrouping at Paradise, we enjoyed the descent from Paradise to the junction where we turned and headed toward Reflection Lake.  By this time, it had warmed up enough that I really didn’t need my gloves (which made it easier to grab my camera and take pictures while riding).  We passed Reflection Lake and began the long descent through Steven’s Canyon.  This part of the ride is probably my favorite.  There are cliffs rising above you on the left side of the road with water cascading off them (though not as much this year); and, on the right side of the road, there are cliffs dropping hundreds of feet into the valley below.  I wanted to get some pictures of our group descending through this section, but a glove dropped out of my pocket when I reached for my camera.  By the time I went back and retrieved it, the rest or the group was out of sight – drat!!  I headed on down the descent; and, as usual, one of the guys (in this case, it was Tom Peterson) had noticed that I was missing and was waiting for me.  I appreciate the way our group looks out for each other.

We descended past Box Canyon and reached the three mile climb up to Backbone Ridge.  We were riding and talking and went up the climb easily.  Then, it was the fast and fun descent down to the park exit.  There were sections of gravel in this descent, so we had to be careful (it turned out to be no big deal).  We stopped just before the ranger station to refill water bottles and hit the rest rooms. 

After riding past the ranger station and exiting the park, we enjoyed a quick and fast descent to the junction of our road and the highway to Packwood.  We took a right at the junction (left would take you up to White Pass) and headed toward Packwood.  Somewhere in this stretch Rob got to the head of the paceline.  He was going pretty fast, and our large group separated some.  I rode up to the front and told Rob not to worry if the group separated some, because we would be in Packwood in a few miles and we would regroup there.  What I was trying to say was “just cruise at your comfortable speed”, but – apparently – what Rob heard was “go like hell” because the next thing I knew we were going 28-30 miles an hour – INTO A SLIGHT BREEZE.  We continued like that for the next few miles until we got to Packwood – with me working to stay on Rob’s back wheel all the way.

After a short break at the Shell Station in Packwood, we were on our way up Skate Creek Road.  The first eleven miles of this portion of the ride is a gentle climb that follows a stream nearly all of the way to the top.   We almost always go hard on this climb which turns a long, gentle climb into a long, grueling climb.  This ride was no exception.  We all gasped our way to the top and then enjoyed the rolling downhill back to our cars

Every year I say the same thing “I love this ride”.  There’s lots of climbing, the scenery is great, the camaraderie is great, AND – THIS YEAR – THE WEATHER WAS GREAT!!  Looking forward to next year’s ride.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chinook Pass Ride, June1, 2013

Written by Les Becker
At 5:05am Dwaine, who lives 3 houses from me showed up on time as usual. How could he look so bright and eager. Must have been the large coffee mug. We saw one elk past Greenwater on way to Crystal Mountain road where we parked. Brent, who was the first to respond to the email a few days prior, arrived. And in spite of hesitation in his voice on the phone the night before, Scott also rolled in, he had just seen a group of elk off the hiway. At 7:05 the four of us were riding in the cool but dry mountain air. The overcast soon yielded to sunshine and most of the ride was in 50-55 deg weather. Scott and Brent were making us work, but not too breathless to have conversation. Otherwise quiet and almost no cars. After very short stop at Cayuse continued towards Chinook. The low clouds then cleared to give us those spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. The snow banks beside the road not quite as tall as previous years, kept us cool but not cold. At Chinook we talked to some skiers and stood for some time just taking in the scenery.

 Then headed down the other side that always seems to me to never have a bottom. Eventually turned around, took off wind jackets and headed back up. Brent is training for his upcoming ride in Colorado, and I realized he is ready as I watched he and Scott fly up the mountain ahead of us. Back to the pass and met a rider who knows David and I think Rod. Descending to Cayuse the views grabbed me as I descended without gloves to get as many pictures as possible.

Scott and Brent went back to the cars while Dwaine and I road 3 miles down the back side of Cayuse to the tunnel. That was a very cold stretch. Ascending that last section back up to Cayuse reminded me of all the physical, mental and existential suffering that has taken place there on many RAMRODS (at least for me). Part way down to the cars we stopped and took a bunch of pictures again. I missed the Cyclopaths who were not there, but otherwise nothing was missing. The friendships, conversation, workout and stunning mountain views left me with a warm feeling and eager to ride again.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Author:  Leon Matz

After my fall and femur break many caring people came to see me in the hospital and many of them said “Well this puts an end to your cycling career for good”.  When I told them that I had plans to get back on the bike, they looked at me as if I was crazy. Unfortunately, many of these people were not cyclists and had no idea what it is like to be on a bike with friends working hard but enjoying every minute.  I wish they could have been with me today, because they would all become cyclists and Cyclopaths.

The day started early with Mike Hassur driving us out to The Climb to start on our bikes by 6:00. When we climbed out of his van the only sounds we could hear were birds singing their morning song.  The temperature was a wonderful 50 degrees with a few clouds in the sky.  As we headed up The Climb, Mike patiently road slow since my power output is still pretty low.  We talked about everything from cycling to family.  As we headed down, Mark joined us. The 3 of us continued riding and visiting -  enjoying the nice weather.  After an hour and a half or so Martin joined us.  One of the wonderful things about training at The Climb is that people can join the ride at any time.  

On this day everyone drove out, so all of our riding was either up or down. On one of our trips up the last 2 K, two deer visited us.  It is always special for me to see animals on our ride (except chasing dogs). 

After 3 ½ hours of riding, it struck me that we had only seen one car the whole time.  To ride a bike for 5 hours, see perhaps 5 cars and be able to carry on great conversations with 3 other wonderful guys while pushing yourself physically and mentally recharging your batteries -  is fabulous.  

For me, it doesn’t get any better than this.  We have always been known as a group of guys “who see the glass half full”.  Today, after The Climb, I am not a ½ full glass but an overflowing cup - great activity, great weather, great friends, and great conversations.  I can’t imagine having a better Saturday morning.  Well - to be truthful - if I could climb a little faster and not have others waiting for me, it would be a little better.  That will come with time.

The four of us rode together until about 11:15 - when we climbed off our bikes, shook hands and thanked each other for a delightful morning and said “goodbye”.  THANKS MIKE, MARTIN, AND MARK.!!!!

A video collage from this ride can be found at the following URL: .