Saturday, July 12, 2014

2014_07_05 Triple-By-Pass (Reverse Direction)

Author:  This blog post created by multiple authors
2014_07_05 Triple-By-Pass (Counter Clockwise Direction)
(by Mike Hassur)

The plan was to meet at the crest of Cayuse Pass at 6:00 AM this past Saturday morning and then drive past Ohanapecosh to the base of White Pass.  Our ride would take us over White Pass on highway 12 and down the east side to the junction of highways 12 and 410 (near Naches).  We would then proceed west on highway 410 for 50 miles or so until we crested Chinook Pass.  From there it was downhill to Cayuse Pass, Ohanapecosh, and back to where our cars were parked.  This plan allowed us to spend the coldest part of the early morning climbing White Pass and generating plenty of heat to stay warm.

John Winter and I drove out to the mountains together.  When we arrived at the top of Cayuse Pass at 5:50 AM, we found Mark and Mario waiting for us. Nick, Les, Dwaine, and Jim joined us soon after.  We waited until about 6:05 AM to see if anyone else might show up.  No one did, so we caravanned down the south side of Cayuse Pass to our starting point at the base of the west side of White Pass. On the way, we saw a large bull elk with a huge rack of antlers standing in the middle of a pond next to the road; he was eating water grass and was oblivious to the cars passing relatively close by.  As we were getting our bikes ready to go, another car showed up.  It was James Kressler.  He had overslept and had raced out to join us hoping that he would not be too late to catch us.

Les, Dwaine (hidden), Mike, & John
Our group started up White Pass at about 6:45 AM.  It was a 12-mile climb to the top of White Pass with the grade varying between 5% and 9%.  We were full of energy, the temperature was cool (perfect for going uphill), and Mt. Rainier was out in its full glory; so the trip up to the pass was fun and pretty easy.  At the top, we stopped briefly to regroup.

As we headed down the east side of White Pass, we soon formed into two groups.  The front group of James, Mark, and Dwaine got a bit of a head start and maintained it until our next stopping point at the Trout Lodge (about 25 miles east of
Heading down east side of White Pass...
White Pass).  The second group consisted of Mario, John, Les, Jim, Mike, and Nick.  With Mario leading, our group hurtled down toward Trout Lodge.  In retrospect, this was probably a mistake; because we used up a lot of energy unnecessarily – energy that most of us (especially me) could have used later in the ride. 

Upon arriving at Trout Lodge, we re-supplied with food and drink.  While our bikes were sitting in front of the lodge, John Winter’s front tire suddenly started hissing and lost all of its air in a matter of seconds.  It turned out that he had cut the sidewall of his tire, and the tube – which had been protruding through – finally blew out.  John, assisted by 3-4 Cyclopaths who were standing close by giving advice, quickly fixed the problem (with an assist from Les Becker who gave John a “tire boot” to reinforce the tire where it had been cut); and we were on our way. 

Mechanical problem for Mario (no
shortage of advice from everyone else)...
Unfortunately, Mario encountered a mechanical problem within the first mile after leaving the Trout Lodge.  His rear hub was literally tearing apart.  One spoke had pulled out of the hub, and there were cracks in two other areas of the hub where the spokes attached.  It was clear that he would not be able to continue as we still had about 75 miles to go.  Since he and Mark had driven out together, they turned around and headed back up White Pass and back to their car (I will leave it to Mark to tell that part of the story). 

This is the end of my part of the story, because - not long after this, as it started to get hot (~85 degrees) – my ride began to fall apart (leg cramps, upset stomach, and over-heating).  I, eventually, made it to the top of Chinook Pass (way behind everyone else) where John Winter picked me up in the van.

Dwaine's View of the 2014 Cyclopath Reverse Triple-By-Pass By the Numbers
(by Dwaine Trummert)

4 oh 5 - Time in the a.m. that Les and I loaded his van and hit the road.

Quadruple - Number of shots necessary in my Americano that morning.

90 - One way miles of driving before the many miles of riding could even begin. Happily, the conversation and scenery were pleasant. And we drove past a moose. Or an Elk. Or maybe a stump with big antlers.

12 - The number of miles from the parking area to the top of White Pass. Much to my relief
John, James, and Jim heading up White Pass...
most of the group was content with a moderate pace up this first climb. My legs appreciated this warm up pace. This part of the ride with it's moderate pace, near lack of vehicle traffic, and conversational opportunities was the most enjoyable part of my day. While the majority of the group stayed together, Nick, Mario, and Mark went off the front and would not be seen again until the first shop stop.

22 and change - Paceline miles per hour along Rimrock Lake. This speed was just a little bit beyond my comfort zone. Yet I figured I'd save energy by staying with the group. So I took short pulls. Our paceline worked smoothly and the scenery was enjoyable.

12.5 - Percentage of hub flange spoke holes that were either broken or cracked in Mario's
rear hub. This revelation was a real bummer. After working on the bike in the weeds next to Highway 12 we realized there would be no roadside repair. Not only would Mario need to abandon the ride, he would be facing a challenge to get back to the parking area. Mark chose to stay with Mario. We bid a sad farewell to Mario and Mark and continued East.

Six and a half - The number of minutes that Les was pulling at the front of the paceline while he waited and waited and waited for a break in traffic. His
body language was clearly saying, "I'm ready to end my turn" while the passing traffic pattern was having none of it. He maintained a good pace during his long pull.

250 - The number of calories in the Rice Krispies Treat purchased at Whistlin Jack's. I'll never buy another one of those. Just too sticky. But I needed those calories more than I knew. My eating schedule was one 200 to 250 calorie item every hour on the hour. This schedule had worked well for me previously.

Fourish - The number of miles below Chinook Pass where I officially cracked. The group had already fragmented and I was working hard to stay on Les' rear wheel. I felt my battery draining. I warned Les I was running on fumes. The surprise was how my crumbling took place. The mask that hides the despair caused by miles of suffering was gone. My ride continued but my emotions, now worn raw, were visible to the world. I clicked down to bottom gear. I was unable to explain my condition yet I was still able to turn the pedals. Les suspected I was at the border of Bonk City. He chose to slow to my pace. He tried to cheer me up with conversation. And he made sure I didn't get run over.

19 - Miles of mostly descending that took us from the top of Chinook Pass back to the start point of the ride. I thought I was home free.

18 - The number of years since bonk number one. Bonk number two had started to show itself on the East side of Chinook Pass. Full impact occurred in the last two miles of the ride. Once at the van I parked my bike and immediately ate something. My mood started to improve within minutes.

10 or 15 - The number of minutes Les tells me it took to order and purchase the worlds best Vanilla Latte at Wapiti Woolies. I fell asleep while waiting in the passenger seat.

Three - Quantity of nominations for MVC. Mike is almost always up for Most Valuable Cyclopath. He's the guy that makes all this fun possible. Mark, of course, gets a nomination for sacrificing his day to help get Mario home. But from my perspective, Les takes the trophy for tolerating my suffering and making sure I kept the shiny side up.

From Whistling Jacks to the Chinook Pass Summit
(by Jim Wilcher)

** Note:  no photos at Whistling Jacks or thereafter (we were all too tired to pull our cameras out) **

We met up at Whistling Jacks, for our last load of food and water before the final push. I was curious to see what everyone was using for fuel. Mike pulled a baggie from his fanny pack and began mixing Perpetuem in is water bottles. Les had a package of Donettes in his water bottle cage. John opted for Pop Tarts, PowerAid and a soda pop and Dwaine was mixing a highball of Peanut Butter Cheese Cracker Sandwiches with Rice Crispy Treats!  Nick had some kind of cracker in his mouth at every stop but I couldn't determine his brand preference. For me, it was a bar and some Endurolyte Caps. Les asked me what those capsules had in them. I hinted that they might contain cannabis but I didn't really know.

When we remounted the bikes, the remaining group (now 7 of us) would no longer be together again. Was it the choice of fuel that made the difference in how we performed in the last segment? I had lost James wheel earlier and now as I looked up and down the road, not a Cyclopath was to be seen. It was getting hot as hell and I remembered Les announcing earlier that his Garmin was reading 90 degrees. No wonder Chinook Pass felt like purgatory, it was hot and humid and went on forever. The ride it seemed was starting to unfold as a drama. Mario's hub failure, then the mysterious flat on John's front tire while it was parked (could it have been a chipmunk trying to warn us). We split into pockets of isolation, left to survive the mountains and elements on our own. A slight rain began to fall and it was gloriously good. But when it subsided, the sauna like conditions retuned and I wondered what it would be like if those capsules really were laced with Mary Jane.

Then I saw a small moving dot ahead its James, the man in black. I figured I could catch up with him as long as he doesn't know I'm coming. Crank, crank, cranking up the wide-open drainage of Chinook Pass until his breathing was audible. That's when I announced in an ultra casual voice, "Hi James". He just about flinched off his bike. I didn't intend that response but it was kinda funny. For me, the steeper parts of the climb felt better and I could feel a little cooler air. I begged for more of that wonderful cool alpine air. Near the top the cool air finally came, a breeze was blowing over the snowfields and washing over our parched bodies. Relieved, James and I stopped at the summit and absorbed the experience for several minutes before descending to the cars.

James Makes His Maiden Triple-By-Pass Voyage
(by James Kressler)

Epic team pace line...grabbing wheels...taking my turn at pulling.  Refusing to fall off the back.  And then...Les cracked the whip!  I went extra deep to hang onto his wheel.  We became what I called in my head "the gang of four".  By the time we reached Whistling Jack's I was toast and I remember thanking Les for "slowing down" a few times so I could continue being part of the four.

I knew that I needed to head up Chinook early so I left Jack's as soon as I could.  I hugged Jim's wheel for a long time and then...he was gone.  Huh?  For mile after mile I wondered what had happened..."what did I say"...did he go back to check on Mike"..."should I go back"..."how can Les be so bleeping strong"..."shut up legs"..."why is it so hot"..."why didn't I lose more weight"..."did I really drop Jim"...while I was looping thoughts around and around and around in my head I was battling the SUN.  Oh my God...the SUN.  We don't get to battle the sun very often in Western Wa so when it comes out...WATCH OUT.  I was also battling the knowledge that my MPH was steadily dropping from "so so" to "are you riding or walking" to "baby crawl". As this was my first time riding from Naches to Chinook I was getting desperate to reach the infamous "tack" bridge.  Did reaching that landmark help me get going again?  Not really.  About 3 miles from the top I was awoken from one of my mental mantras by JIM.  Wow!  Out of seemingly nowhere...Jim!  Be advised that he is a one sneaky dude!  I tried to hug his wheel...couldn't do it.  Next best alternative...keep him in site...success.

Typically I put my size to good work on downhills.  The Saturday downhill from Chinook to my car was more of a blessed relief than fun.

Final thoughts...The Cyclopaths Rock!  I am very grateful that I've been able to hang with you guys.  Riding my bike makes me feel alive and riding fast within your group is wonderful.  

Nick’s suffering:  Doing the Triple Bypass to prevent a Triple Bypass.
(by Nick Iverson)

July 5th, the Puyallup Cyclopaths once again set out on another adventure.  Personally on this ride, I expected to get dumped on the climb up White Pass.  In order to prevent a delay
White Pass break...
at the top, I just headed out and waited for the bright yellow and orange jerseys to come roaring up the hill to wait for me at the top.  Much to my surprise, only Mario and Mark caught up and passed.  Mark was hammering, and said his heart rate was 180 for the climb.  I kept mine at 150.  Soon the group headed down the hill, and everybody passed me as if I were stopped.  Within a half mile I was solo.  I wanted to be Han Solo, but I had nerves of aluminum.  I watched longingly as the pace line gradually disappeared down the hill.  Having a couple of near misses on descents this year has made high speeds scary.  Eventually I reached the first stop, having ridden the entire descent alone, (snif), but at a leisurely pace that allowed me to gaze over the beauty of Rimrock Lake.  Bumbling along at about 18mph, I yearned for the pace line had likely gone 37mph through this area.  At our “rest stop,” mechanical problems:  flats and wheel problems. 
Repairing John's blow out at Trout Lodge
(thank goodness for Les' "boot")...

 Onward.  It was great to be riding in a pace line headed toward WA 410 at a nice pace of about 37mph.  I spent as little time pulling as possible, knowing that I would be Han Solo heading up Chinook Pass.  Jim Wilcher and Iron Mike Hassur helped me keep a reasonable pace as I dropped off the back of the “kids” in the pace line ahead.  Finally Jim started whistling, and I knew we were soon to see Jack’s.  After a short stop, I told Jim and Mike to just go ahead, and that Solo would eventually get to the top.  I may not be fast, but I’m old.  After passing the “Chinook Pass 11 miles” sign, I was feeling okay, and was able to get up to 10mph at times, and there were a few spots where I could get a boost from some flat areas or even slight downhills, and RIDE ON MY AEROBARS!  Eventually the climb gets steeper, buy my cadence was steady.  At about 4-5 miles from the top, there was a cyclist up the road easily visible with a bright orange and yellow jersey.  OMG it was IRON MIKE.  Changing into my doctor mode, I talked to Mike, offered him some Gatorade, and when I was certain that he was bonked, was okay, and had help on the way, I headed back up the hill.  I don’t quite understand the suffering that we do on these long climbs, but I just stayed in my own rhythm, and in my lowest gear, and the miles gently passed by.  The views were awesome.  Then 2 pickup trucks driven by Bubbas, followed by a Winnebago driven by their Dad, Bubba, each pulling a trailer with some off road vehicles were in a contest to see how close they could come to me without killing me.  I saw the same three !#$%^&*+!!! heading east on my way up 410 the previous Wednesday as I was riding up to Sunrise!  To their chagrin, I lived.

Soon I crossed under the wooden Chinook Pass sign, and was courageous (or dumb) enough to zip down to the top of Cayuse where I waited to make sure that Mike had indeed gotten a ride.  Mike had a smile, as he had recovered enough to get back on his bike and make it to the top of Chinook before getting a ride home.  I headed down Cayuse, and about half way was able to just let it fly.  At the starting point was my lone Volvo waiting to take the last euphoric Cyclopath home.  What a joy to be able to ride with all the caring group, and special thanks to Jim and Mike for helping to drag me to Whistling Jack’s.  I think that part of Mike’s Bonk was his usual gift of his energy to help another cyclist.

John Recounts His the Epic Triple-By-Pass Experience
(by John Winter)

When we arrived at Cayuse Pass for the “Reverse Triple Bypass” (aka Double Bypass) we all felt a bit chilled as we waited for everyone to show up.  With the image of our ill-fated Skate Creek ride still clear in our minds we decided to avoid the descent to Ohanapecosh and drive down and start our ride at the intersection of highway 12 and 123 near Packwood (good choice).  As Mike and I drove past the pond by the Ohanapecosh entrance we saw a big bull elk with a huge set of antlers (An awesome sight to see).   As we continued driving Mike was kicking himself for not getting a picture – guess we’ll have to record the memory in our brains (Ha!). 
After we parked the cars we all got into our usual pre-ride preparation routine.  Les was kind

enough to hand out to each rider a rubber tire ‘boot’ that he had cut out from an old tire.  I was to find out later that he couldn’t have given me a better gift.  We started up the climb towards White Pass at a reasonable pace and had lots of good conversation.  The temperature was perfect for climbing and the view of Mt. Rainier was spectacular.  Once we got to White Pass we all stopped at the convenience store for a quick nutrition break. 
As we started downhill towards Naches the temperature had warmed up to a comfortable temperature for descending.  So far so good with regards to the weather.  We broke up into two groups – Mark, Jim, James, Duane, and Les at the front while Mike, John, Mario and Nick brought up the rear.
We regrouped at Trout Lodge for another nutrition break and a chance to refill the water bottles.  As a few of us were waiting outside by the bikes we suddenly heard a loud ‘Pop’
followed by a ‘whoosh of air’.  Darn.  Sounds like someone has a flat tire now.  I’ll go and take a look.  Sure enough, it was my front tire that blew.  After changing the tube and re-inflating the tire Les and I did a quick inspection and noticed the tube bulging out of a small hole on the sidewall.  Must have hit a rock somewhere on the descent.  Perfect opportunity for using the boot that Les had given me at the beginning of the ride.  After slipping it in and inflating once again I was good to go.  Thanks again Les!!
As we left the lodge to begin the next leg of the ride we noticed that Mario and Mark were not riding along with us.  We all doubled back to see what the trouble was and as it turned out Mario had a mechanical issue.  After giving it a good college try for about half an hour it was discovered that Mario’s rear hub had a couple of cracks in it.  We all agreed that Mario’s ride was over for the day.  Very disappointing!!  Of all the Cyclopath rides I’ve been on there have been VERY few where we haven’t all finished together.  Mark decided he would ride back over White Pass and come back to rescue Mario. A true selfless Cyclopath gesture on his part.  Hope you guys made it back OK.
On to our next goal – Whistlin’ Jack’s.  We organized ourselves into a paceline and maintained a brisk pace along highway 410 towards Chinook.  Lots of July 4th weekend traffic and as a result some pulls ended up longer than expected for some of us.  Everyone made a strong contribution to keeping up the pace.  When we arrived at Whistlin’ Jack’s it was the usual busy scene.  We all snarfed down lots of calories (Pop Tarts, Rice Crispy Treats, and peanut butter crackers – Yum!).  I topped off my water bottles with quart of strawberry lemonade flavored Powerade and added about half a can of Squirt.  Not a bad tasting formula.  Before we left Mike told me he was starting to flag a bit so he handed me the car keys in case I finished before him.  If it didn’t go well he asked me to come back and pick him up. 
Jim heading up toward Chinook Pass...
Off to the final leg of the ride…..
I was feeling pretty good (must have been all the great food I’d been eating) so I put my head down and got into a good climbing rhythm.  The weather was rather warm and humid but some scattered cloud cover kept it from getting blistering hot.  At one point I even felt a few sprinkles coming down.  Unfortunately it lasted only a minute.  I was very tired and very relieved when I reached the top of the Pass.  While contemplating the ride on my descent I couldn’t decide which was more brutal – the ascent from Naches to Chinook or Ohanapecosh to Cayuse.  Both definitely in the ‘Epic’ category.  I made a speedy descent down to the car and quickly loaded up the bike, happy to be done.  As I drove back up toward Cayuse I flashed my headlights as I saw Duane and Les, Jim and James, and then Nick and Mike.  Not in his usual form at the front of the pack, Mike was disappointed not to finish the entire route but happy to finish the climb up Chinook.  Just having a bad day ….we’ve all been there. 

The Mark and Mario Perspective
( by Mark Delrosario)

I met Mario back in 2011 during the Skagit Spring Classic, which was my second organized ride during my inaugural year as a cyclist.  Sure enough it rained on that early May ride and being the more experienced cyclist Mario helped me thru the wet, cold, a railroad crossing fall and the headwind.  Since he lives on Whidbey Island in the north and I live in Fife in the south Puget Sound, we are lucky to ride together once or twice during summers.  We have corresponded thru email and watched our cycling progress on Strava.  In my opinion he is a strong and competitive cyclist.

This year I convinced him to throw his name into the Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day (Ramrod) lottery.  We were both selected.  I completed Ramrod (150 miles and 10k in climbing) in 2012, my rookie year with the Cyclopaths and my second year as a cyclist.  Without the training and rides with the group I might not have been able to complete the feat.  Our group rides during the season are a perfect build up towards such a goal. 

Mario joined us for this June's aborted Skate Creek Loop ride.  However, mother nature had different plans and would not cooperate with us to complete the ride due to the cold mist/rain and fog on the climb up and down Paradise Inn on Mt. Rainier.  Mario experienced a long mountain climb for the first time, was the only one of us to attempt to give chase to Conor and was more than capable of completing the full ride had we not cut it short due to the weather conditions.

Our Triple By Pass ride is a 115 mile ride over and down three mountain passes crossing from the west side of Washington to the east side and back.  Mario made the journey to join us once again.  My intention for the ride was to treat it as a training ride since I barely had any miles during the two week lead up.  Knowing Mario he would probably chase whomever was the fastest rider up the road.

The ride itself started with Dr. Nick starting off earlier than the rest of us.  The group rolled out single file.  Having only ridden the descent of the west side of White Pass I did not know what to expect so I kept a steady cadence up the grade.  Mario quickly joined me and the group disappeared from my rear view mirror.  Knowing the quality of riders I expected that they would come charging by at any time.  Mario began to egg me on and saying I wasn't showing any sign of suffering.  He couldn't be farthest from the truth.  Thanks for the encouragement though.  My heart rate was out the roof as I looked down to my Garmin reading a constant 180 beats per minute,,  My max!  I learned early on in my cycling experience that it is best to ride at your own pace or risk blowing up on a ride.  Easy to do if the riders are strong on mountain terrain.

Strava data confirmed my average heart rate for the 7.5 mile segment was 180 bpm.  I would hate to look at what the average was for the full 14 mile climb because I might really have a heart attack.  Mario could have taken off at any time and he even stopped a few times to take pictures of the scenery.  Several miles from the summit we spotted Dr. Nick.  Mario seems to think I picked up the pace but in reality I was counting down the miles to the top since seeing the 12 miles to White Pass sign.  I was grateful to be near the top.  Mario was dancing up in an Alberto Contador climbing style.  It was such a relief to feel the road flatten out after cresting and a welcome sight to see the gas station for a much needed break.  Dr. Nick arrived within the minute and the group a few minutes later.  Think they were conserving their energy which in retrospect I should have done too.

Dr. Nick got the party going again.  This time we passed him quickly on the descent of the east side of White Pass.  Against better judgment I tried to hammer the downhill to enjoy the fruits of my labor from the ascent.  I could see a scrambling of riders occurring behind me and eventually a chase began.  Before I knew it James, Jim and Duane were upon me and a pace line formed.  I found the descent too short for my liking.  I started to pay the price for my earlier efforts and foolishness with the onset of leg cramps.  As we rode along the Rimrock lake I felt like I had bricks instead of feet.  I only hope that I did my share of the work when it was my turn to pull.  We did not have a monster, i.e. Rob, to pull us like he did the previous year.  I was quite impressed with Jim.  He took on the role of captain of the road warning us of the tunnel ahead and checking if we were ok.     

We arrived at, Trout Lodge, the second scheduled rest stop about 35 miles into the ride.  The rest of the group was less than a minute behind.  Only another 80 miles to go.  After snacking and fixing John's flat we were off again single file.  This time I thought I'd sit in the back to conserve energy for this middle section of the ride.  Some campers hooted and hollered at us and next thing I know there was an ugly sound from Mario's bike.  He pulled off and I did too.  The rest of the group slipped away from view but they realized we were missing and turned around.  The mechanical turned out to be worse than a dropped chain.  The rear hub had cracked in several spots where the hub holds the spokes and the wheel was out of true and the rear derailleur hanger bent as a result.  Mario recalls a part of the road on the descent where he hit a rough spot.  The plan was formulated that Mario and I would double back to the cars and the group would part ways to continue on to finish the ride. 

Mario and I started back at a reduced pace but again his wheel became an issue.  I forged ahead and Mario would make it as far as he can by the time I returned with the car.  Being isolated and riding solo on an ascent of a pass I found it difficult to maintain a steady pace.  The east side of the state has a dry heat climate and that didn't help the situation.  The Garmin read 80-90 degrees.  It felt like I was crawling up the mountain in purgatory.  After you feel like you can't suffer no more survival mode kicks in.  I stopped on the side of the road to dip my bandana and jersey in some running water to cool off even though the relief would be temporary.  At the top of White Pass the temperature was 15 degrees less and I was able to stop for food.  An overcooked gas station burrito never tasted so good.  It was enough to hold off the hunger pains.  The descent was uneventful using gravity to my advantage.  Heading back with the car I came across Mario after he crested White Pass.  Mario made it very far and rode well considering his mechanical.  He mentioned he suffered thru the heat too and stopped for a pricey burger.  It appears his solo ascent of White Pass was faster than mine.

Is Mario 0 for 2 in Cyclopath rides?  I'd like to think the opposite.  The Skate Creek Loop ride was aborted because of the weather conditions but we did summit the Mt. Rainier climb and did additional miles after we returned to Ashford.  On Triple By Pass, we might not have completed the full 115 mile loop.  Despite the mechanical we accomplished the equivalent amount of climbing.  The training leading up to Ramrod could have been better.  No matter, I imagine we will find a way to make it an epic ride to remember.

To see all of the photos from this ride, click on the following link:

No comments:

Post a Comment