Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015_07_30 RAMROD (John Winter's Account)

Author:  John Winter

It had been a long time since I managed to get into the Ramrod so I was looking forward to doing this ride again (At least I think I was).  I’ve been more consistent in my riding this year so I felt prepared but the weather forecast for a hot day left me a little intimidated.  I arrived at the Eatonville High School early so I could be on time to leave with the ‘second wave’ of Cyclopath riders at 5:30am.  As it turned out we all arrived a bit early so we were on the road by 5:20am.  There was a little chill in the air as we got on our way so I was glad I opted for long sleeves (for time being anyway).  We all rode in a smooth paceline with each rider sharing the lead.  The group began to get a little scattered, however, as we approached the intersection at Kopowsin and riders began to bunch up.  All of the sudden I heard something rubbing against my wheel and I came close to falling over before the rubbing suddenly stopped .  “Someone must have touched my back wheel”,  I thought to myself.  I took a look back and saw Mike a few yards back but he was still on his bike so  I assumed all was well.  It wasn’t until I reached the Ashford rest stop that I learned the bad news that Mike’s wheel was significantly damaged and he had to abandon the ride.  What a bad break for Mike!  At least he wasn’t injured and was able to make it home on his wobbly wheel.
After Kopowsin I got separated from our group so I decided to ride at a steady pace with some of the other pacelines until I reached Ashford. At that point I figured I would rejoin the rest of the Cyclopaths.  As the morning sun began to pierce through the trees I could feel the first heat of the day.  A harbinger of things to come.  I had plenty of fluids with me so I decided not to stop at the first aid station in Eatonville.  Shortly after leaving the city limits a friendly rider came up beside me.  It was Mario!  It was good to see a familiar face after riding alone for the last half hour.  We decided to ride together in the next paceline that came along and we continued a steady, but conservative, pace.
After passing through Elbe and Ashford we rolled into the first stop of the day.  Since I had been forcing down fluids all morning my first order of business was getting in line for the Port-a-pottie.  After grabbing more fluids, a cream cheese bagel, some fruit, and a couple of cookies I walked back to my bike and found Scott, Les and Conor over by the bike mechanic’s truck.  As it turned out Conor was having trouble with his rear wheel and it looked like the tire was not going to get him all the way through the course.  Darn!  Then I heard the news about Mike.  What a bad break for the both of them. We’d only made it to the first aid station and already two Cyclopath riders out of the ride due to mechanical issues.  Not a great day for the team.  As I left to continue the climb up to Paradise I hoped that luck would keep me from succumbing to a breakdown as well.
As I made my way up the climb to Paradise I was already beginning to sweat.  Geeze! It usually doesn’t get this warm until we reach the climb to Cayuse.   At that point I realized we were in for a scorcher.  Fortunately after the Nisqually bridge I was in the shade again and feeling pretty good, all things considered.  Towards the top I spotted another Cyclopath jersey.  Leon was looking strong and riding steady up the last stretch to the top.  We chatted briefly and I brought him up to speed on Conor’s misfortune.  I told him I was planning on stopping at Box Canyon aid station and would  meet up with him there.  As I crested the climb and pedaled past Refection Lake the descent back down into Stevens Canyon came as a welcome break from the first big climb.
As I rolled into the Box Canyon aid station I saw Tom Peterson.  He wasn’t too happy with how his ride was going but I said “hey, you can’t be doing too bad if you’ve gotten this far already!”  I don’t think I convinced him however.  He said that he just hadn’t been riding enough this season to give Ramrod a good go.  I wished him luck just the same and after downing another cream cheese bagel, a chocolate croissant, and a banana I made my way on to the climb up and over Backbone Ridge.  As I came down the descent toward the Steven’s Canyon entrance I noticed how hard my tires were as I rode over rough spots in the pavement.  I was worried that the hot pavement was heating up my tires and that I was going to have a blowout as I rounded one of the hairpin turns.  Turned out to be a bit of paranoia, however, as the rest of the ride down to the east entrance went without incident.     
I had hoped to get to the start of the climb up Cayuse before the sun really started beating down.  For the first section I was fortunate to be in and out of the shade for the most  part.  I kept a steady pace as I made my way up what is now a very familiar stretch of road.  After riding up this pass so many times one might come to think of it as an ‘old friend’,  but I knew that in these conditions Cayuse would be anything but friendly!   I developed a good rhythm as I made my way up, switching between sitting in the saddle and standing on my pedals.  Then I began to feel my right cleat begin to loosen.  Arghh!  This climb is tough enough with two cleats – I didn’t want to have to do it with one!  My luck held out, however,  and after laboring up around the two hairpins and through the tunnel , I finally reached the top!  No more climbing!  I refilled water bottles and then found someone with a phillips head screw driver so I could repair my cleat.  Got that fixed and headed into the final stretch.
As I made my way down from Cayuse Pass I noticed there weren’t a lot of riders on the road at this point.  I figured they must all be stuffing themselves at the deli stop.  I was dreading having to do the last stretch without anyone to draft behind and considered stopping for a sandwich myself.  However, when I reached the turn off for Crystal Mountain I noticed Mike resting under a tree.  What a welcome sight!  After fixing his wheel at home he decided to make the most of the day by riding out to meet us.  We rode together until Greenwater when Mike decided he needed a ‘pick me up’ at the general store.  He told me to ride on and that he would join me later in Enumclaw.  At this point I just wanted to be done so I continued on.   A bit later I managed to hop onto another paceline and rode with them for a mile or two.  That’s when it finally happened.   Two miles short of the Mud Mtn turnoff I hit a rock and got a pinch flat.  After fixing the flat I rode alone at my own steady pace to the finish line in just a bit over 9hrs.  Since I didn’t really have a time goal I was happy enough with that considering the heat and the flat tire.  I was greeted with ice cream, fruit, cookies,  potato chips and finally something to drink other than warm Gatorade!  A short time later Leon rode in strong and joined me and Mike to rest  under the shade of a tree.  Overall a good ride.  Unfortunately I had another commitment later in the day and had to leave so I didn’t get to spend time with the rest of the Cyclopaths.  I hope to have a chance to trade stories on the next Cyclopath ride!

2015_07_30 RAMROD (Mike's Mis-adventure)

Author:  Mike Hassur

Up at 3:40 AM, bikes and gear already packed in the van.  All I needed to do was eat and drink, get dressed, and be ready to meet Leon at 4:20 AM.  We met on time, headed out, and arrived at Enumclaw at 4:50 AM (which was our goal).

Upon arriving, I texted Scott Wagar to let him know that we had arrived (I had some RAMROD info that he needed) and told him that I would meet him at the Starting Line to give it to him.  As I was walking across the parking lot in the dark, someone called my name – it was Scott.  Great, no long walk to the Starting Line.

Leon and I unpacked our bikes, got our gear ready, and were at the Starting Line by about 5:15 AM.  Soon, most of our group had arrived (Les, Dwaine, Scott, John, Leon, and me).  Mario, Mark, Kurt, Tom, and Nick were also doing the ride; but they had left a bit earlier.  By 5:22 AM, we were crossing the Start/Finish Line and were beginning our ride.

It was forecast to be a hot day (in the 90’s); and, even at this earlier hour it was not cold.  I wore a short sleeved shirt under my jersey to start the ride with the idea that I could easily stow it in my fanny pack as the day warmed up.  It was cool enough that I was chilly at the start of the ride but not uncomfortable. 

It was beginning to get light when we started, so visibility was not an issue.  Our group cruised through Bucklely, then South Prairie, past Orting, and on to Lake Kapowsin at a comfortable pace and without mishap.  As we started the final short climb up to the four-way stop by Lake Kapowsin, someone warned that there was a truck approaching behind our group.  I turned my head briefly to see where the truck was.  When I turned back, my front wheel was overlapping the rear wheel of John Winter’s bike; and, before I knew it, the spokes of my front wheel were “strumming” against John’s rear derailleur.  We weren’t going very fast at this point, and no one crashed; but my front wheel was damaged and very wobbly. 

It was clear that my RAMROD was over.  The immediate question was what to do next.  My first thought was that I needed to give the keys to my van to Leon before our group vanished.  I yelled; and, fortunately, Leon heard me and came back.  I gave him my keys, and he headed up the road in pursuit of the rest of our group.  By releasing the front brake, I could get my front wheel to spin without hitting the brake pads.  It wobbled, but it seemed to be “rideable”.  I took off for home (Puyallup) which was about 10 miles away.  While I was riding home, it occurred to me that I still had the whole day to do a ride – I just needed to get a different front wheel on my bike.  With that in mind, I headed home as quickly and safely as I could.

When I got home, I called my wife (Kathy works out of our home) to warn her that I was at the front door.  I didn’t want her thinking that some intruder was breaking into the house.  I quickly put a different front wheel on my bike, shed the t-shirt that I had been wearing under my jersey, refilled my water bottle, and headed out.

I had decided to ride my bike over to Enumclaw and do the RAMROD Route backwards until I got near Cayuse Pass.  I was hoping to meet someone from our group and ride back to Enumclaw with them.  I was so excited about my new plan that I zoomed up Eli Hill (the hill on highway 410 going up to Bonney Lake) in a time that was near my PR – probably not wise, but fun…  I continued on through Bonney Lake and Buckley and took the back road up past Mud Mountain Dam.  Soon, I was back on highway 410 headed toward Greenwater. 

It was on the way to Greenwater that my phone rang.  It was Conor Collins.  He’d had the misfortune to have two flats and a ruined tire.  He’d abandoned the ride and was waiting to be picked up by his dad in Ashford – looks like I wasn’t the only person to encounter misfortune in this year’s RAMROD!!  I wished Conor well and resumed riding. 

I passed through Greenwater and was heading toward the RAMROD Deli (located at the junction of highway 410 and the road to Crystal Mountain) when I noticed that my front tire was going flat.  Fixing the flat was easy and uneventful; and, soon, I was on my way again. 

It was starting to get pretty hot, and I was beginning to get some slight cramping in my calves.  I thought “Oh crap, I was looking forward to the ride back to Enumclaw, but now with the head and my cramps…”.

I arrived at the RAMROD Deli, refilled my water bottles, ate, and stationed myself under a tree right next to the highway.  My plan was to latch on to the first Cyclopath who rode by and ride back to Enumclaw with him (or as far as I could get before I overheated/cramped).  It was not a particularly comfortable wait as it was hot (even in the shade) and my legs were cramping just sitting there. 

After about 50-60 minutes, I spotted a Cyclopath jersey approaching.  It was John Winter.  I yelled, hopped up (hobbled up??), threw on my helmet, and we were off.  John was still riding strong.  I helped him as much as I could, but I started to overheat badly as we got to Greenwater.  I told John to go ahead without me as he was trying to finish in less than 9 hours. 

I had a cold Gatoraid and an ice cream bar at the Greenwater general store and took off for Enumclaw.  By this time, I was pretty much toast.  I wasn’t going very fast and was surprised that I wasn’t passed by more people (or groups) in that final stretch – everyone else must have been feeling as bad as I was. 

That final leg to Enumclaw seemed to take forever, but I finally made it.  I found John Winter (who didn’t look nearly as wasted as everyone else) and congratulated him on a really good ride.  Soon, Leon came in followed by Dwaine and Les. 

After a quick shower, Leon and I hopped into my van and headed home. 

My day had included frustration, innovation, and physical hardship all wrapped up into an “interesting” RAMROD package.

Next up:  Quadruple By-Pass

2015_07_30 RAMROD (Kurt Maute's Account)

Author: Kurt Maute’

This was my first RAMROD and it certainly lived up to its billing.  I almost didn’t do the ride as I was not sure I would be in the right condition if I had another international business trip or heart issues.  Even with no trips planned and a healthy heart, it was still tough to get my head into the idea of doing the ride as it was the most challenging ride I had ever undertaken in my life.  Previously, doing STP in a day (204 mi.) was my personal record, but some of my fellow Cyclopaths did STP in a day as a warm up – crazy? yes. 

Mark Delros helped to push me over the edge explaining that I had actually ridden all the segments before, just not in one fell-swoop..! Just before the ride Mark and I had agreed that we would endeavor to ride together with Mario agreeing to help lead us on the first leg of our journey. We headed out just as sun began to rise at 0-dark-thirty something – actually around 5:00 am along with most of my fellow Cyclopaths.  It was nice to see several familiar trademark orange Puyallup Cyclopaths jerseys even though it was difficult to ID cohorts given the darkness. The pace was pretty easy going as Mario lead us from Enumclaw > South Prairie > The Climb > Eatonville where the 1st snack stop was – around 32 miles into the ride. We were averaging low 20s speed-wise I would guess. 

Several of my fellow Cyclopaths skipped the Eatonville stop, we know who you are..! We however made a leisurely stop and met up with Dr. Nick who would join our team as Mario headed out ahead of us.  The 3 of us stayed pretty much together reaching the Ashford (Wildwood) food stop at the 55 mile mark.  About 5 miles from the stop I noticed that I had left Dr. Nick and Mark behind as I was feeling pretty good at this point and had been hydrating and taking in some calories, often one of my shortcomings along with staying within abilities.  When Mark arrived he complained a bit about his stomach and the onset of early cramping.  The 3 of us posed for picture at Wildwood and took in some needed calories and a bathroom break.  This is the point where we begin the ascent up to Inspiration Point.  The grade starts out easy enough at 2-4% for the first 10 miles and we all enjoyed the forested areas as we pasted thru the Nasqually entrance to Mt. Rainer National Park.  At this point pace-lines really don’t help as speeds slow so the three of us split up with me feeling pretty good for the 1st 15 miles or so of climbing.  At about the 70 mile mark, I began to suffer from the dreaded “hot foot” where my pace slowed considerably as the grade reached about 6%+/-.  I made it up the last 3 miles in a bit of agony but pushed on to the Inspiration Point water stop at the 73+ mile mark.

Having reached the top of the 1st major pass, I was anxious to enjoy the long decent into Backbone Ridge, which by now was getting pretty familiar, having just done this segment a few week prior.  After taking some Ibuprofento ease my foot pain and slathering on some sunscreen, I filled my water bottles and sought some shade while I awaited my fellow Cyclopaths arrivals.  This stop ended up taking longer than I had planned and I began to get anxious to do the decent but wanted my fellow Cyclopaths along with me to share the great experience. When Mark arrived, I could see pain on his face as the cramping really took its toll on this difficult accent. As we made the 8 mile decent, we would enjoy the stunning views and tourists who posed by Louise Lake with Mt. Rainer in the background.  You really haven’t lived until you take in this view in my opinion – one of the many Great Northwest highlights.

Mark and I would stick closely together thru the summit of Backbone Ridge then on to Stevens Canyon Road where the second major climb up Cayuse would begin. The climb was pretty easy for the 1st 10 or so miles, but when we took the left at SR-123, and I passed a group of slower riders, I noticed that Mark was struggling a bit to keep pace.  It was clear the cramping continued to get to him as he eventually disappeared in my helmet mirror .  This was a bit of a reflection point for me as it became obvious that we would not be riding together the remainder of the journey but knew if the shoe were on the other foot, I would be okay with this.  Hot Foot would again plague me at about the 100 mile mark and I decided to stop momentarily to rest and cool my feet.  A fellow old timer and I (me #188 and he my senior at #68?) decided to walk a few blocks up to a small waterfall where we would both dunk our feet in the cool water. We both found immediate relief and got to know each other a bit, him (Dan) having ridden RAMROD several times before.  For those not aware, RAMROD officials assign numbers based on age with the oldest (82 I think) proudly wearing the #1.  This system would explain why many older women riders displayed no numbers on their backs…J.  I recall seeing #11 during the Cayuse climb and was pretty humbled as I think I was the one being passed.  I calculated that I was in about the upper 23% age-wise at almost 58 while Nick (#18), our eldest statesman, was in the upper 2.25%. The water stop at mile 103.2 was a welcome site at about 4 miles from the summit being packed with fellow riders of all demographics.

2015_07_30 RAMROD (Nick's Account")

Author:  Nick Iverson

2015 was a difficult ride into the heat. I left the start/finish line as early as possible.  Not too far down the road, Mark and Kurt buzzed by near the Orville Rd. turn, but I was a bit slow pulling out to catch the group.  Once on Orville, I was all alone…snif, snif.  Near the Climb, a group that was going subsonic speed came by, and I was able to get a little help until the left turn at the stop.  On to Eatonville, alone, and finally two fellows came by, and I was able to get a little help.  After Eatonville, I rode solo about half the distance to the food stop past Ashford except I passed another solo rider who yelled:  “Hi Nick.”  He was a cardiologist I have known for 20 years, and we helped each other a bit, but when I tried to catch a pace line, he did not follow me, and when I slowed, I was in no man’s land again until the food stop.  There I saw Mark and Kurt, and left just ahead of them, but Kurt has really improved, and soon I was alone again as he and Mark zoomed ahead. The climb to the turn off to Reflection Lakes left me talking to myself again.  There I stopped to take a few obligate pictures, one of which is beautiful.

The descent to Box Canyon was great, then up and over Backbone Ridge.  I was getting hotter.  I rested for 5 minutes at Ohanapecosh, and added Gatorade powder to the water there.  Heading up Cayuse was a bit depressing.  I really felt lousy, and the heat was getting to me.  At the water stop, I decided to get sagged to 410.  I’ll bet that process took about 45 minutes.  I tried to hide my Cyclopath Jersey, but at the top, jumped on my bike and flew down 410 to C. Mtn. food stop.  Met up with Mark D., and he wanted to leave soon.  After scarfing down a wonderful sandwich and two Cokes, I felt like superman for about 25 minutes, and was able to pull Mark almost to the pace line that had gone past us when I had to stop to yank my official Cyclopath shorts up to avoid some discomfort.  Mark closed the gap, and I was doing okay until some back spasms that were originally from my crash on the STP forced me to stop to stretch out for about ten minutes.  I got back on my Madone, finally, and then rode solo the 3-4 miles to Mud Mtn Dam Road.  On the descent I caught a small group, and another behind me joined, then I was able to ride on my aerobars at the bottom back to the High School.  But I finished!  My finish pic is on page 17,411 on the Hovde Website.

                                     Why Ride the RAMROD?…Reflection Lake

2015_07_30 RAMROD (Leon's Account)

Author:  Leon Matz

I frequently have the good fortune of riding with Mike in his van to many of our rides. That was the case for this ride too.  It gives me the chance to talk with Mike about the day.  As is typical I was nervous about how the ride would go especially considering the expected heat.  I frequently wonder how prepared I am for this ride. This year I was hit with a viral attach (I thought was food poisoning) that knocked me out for almost a week. My taper was much longer and more severe than would be typical.

The first 20 miles went well but when we started climbing the hill to Kapowsin I was starting to struggle to stay with the fast group that was pacing us at the time.  I thought to myself” This shouldn’t be that hard- what is going on?” Almost immediately I saw Mike hit John’s bike and almost go down and then he let me know he was out of the ride and I should stop so he can give me his van key. Horrible! Mike has been riding so well and to have RAMROD for him end already was unfair.
By the time I took Mike’s key and started riding the fast group and all 5 other cyclopaths were out of sight.  Oh, well just keep riding and hope some fast groups come by.  I road a mile or so and then saw a Cyclopath jersey up ahead. Who could that be?  Well it was Dwaine.  He had left the other groups to wait for me. WOW! What an incredibly nice thing for him to do.  I kind of thought I would never see the 5 of them again. Dwaine then pulled me for about 8 miles until we caught up with Les and Scott who had stopped for a bathroom break.

From there until Ashford the 4 of us (John had kept up with the speedy group leading us) worked together to try and make good time.  My pulls were short and weak.  Not sure what was going on but I was not riding the way I had expected. I had packed enough food and was still o.k. with fluids so when the other 3 stopped at the food stop I just kept riding thinking they would catch me  shortly.
I started feeling a little better but knew that I was climbing significantly slower than 2011 and slower than I had expected.  Not to many riders and no groups to try and latch on to so I just tried to keep a good rhythm. As I approached Inspiration Point John went by but I could not keep up with him. I was going to stop and get some liquids at Inspiration Point but decided I had enough water until Upper Box Canyon.  My legs felt tired and were starting to cramp some.  “What the heck?” I thought, “perhaps I won’t even finish”.  As I started to descend Steven’s Canyon I saw Tome and he quickly joined me. We stopped together at Box Canyon. Quickly grabbed some food (Some baked potatoes with salt for the cramps) filled the water bottles and headed out.

We road together and talked all the way to part way up Cayuse where he decided to go a little slower.  The first 2/3 was mostly in the shade and even though I was not climbing very fast I was making progress.  When I approached Deer Creek water stopped I asked if they had any ice at the top of Cayuse. When they said “NO” I quickly decided to stop and take two socks of ice and fill my bottles with ice and Gatorade. Before I left Tom arrived and did the same. The last 1/3 of Cayuse was much hotter and more difficult.  Finally he top came and I headed down. Near the bottom I asked a rider to join me in trying to get to Enumclaw but he indicated he was stopping at the Deli.
Unfortunately I rode the next 10-11 miles by myself.  I tried to not ride too hard hoping for a group to come by but not much luck.  Suddenly a big very fast group arrived but too fast for me. Fortunately it was too fast for another rider. I caught him and requested we work together. He agreed and the next 20+ miles we took 2 min leads.  I kept thinking more groups would come by but no one every approached. In fact we caught two single riders on our way in.

I was rather surprised when told I was in the top 40 riders in. REALLY?  My riding time was 9:12 and my total time was 9:32 (an hour slower than my best ride in 2011) I ended up being  the 34th rider in.  I was pleased with that but disappointed in the slow time and how I climbed so slowly. John beat me by about a half hour and just missed a 9 hour ride.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

2015_07_18 Sunrise Double/Triple Ride

Author:  Mike Hassur

Whoa, it’s pretty good when you have a 6:00 AM start time for a ride that requires a 1.5 hour drive into the mountains – AND 13 GUYS SHOW UP!!  That’s what happened for yesterday’s Puyallup Cyclopath “Sunrise Double/Triple Ride”.  Our group consisted of Rex, James, Jim, Chris, Conor, Les, Dwaine, Scott W., Scott L., John, Lanny, Jayson, and me.

Ready to start...

 When Conor and I arrived (unfortunately, we were a little late), there were 11 guys at the base of the Sunrise Climb (the White River Gate) on their bikes and ready to go.  The temperature was in the high 50’s, the sky was cloudless, and we were excited.  Conor and I got ready as quickly as we could, hopped on our bikes, and took off with the group.  I later discovered that – in my haste – I had left my water bottle in the van.  Initially, the pace was slow as people warmed up and visited.  Scott L. started out a little ahead of the main group as he was uncertain about his fitness level (due to being a good father to his young son) and wanted a slight cushion (he was about 100 yards ahead of the main group).  After a couple minutes of visiting, I went ahead of the group and joined Scott.  Soon, we were joined by John, Les, and Dwaine.  I don’t believe that there was a conscious decision to speed up by any one person; but it wasn’t long before our heart rates were higher, and we were breathing harder – AND THIS WAS BEFORE WE REACHED THE FIRST OF THE FOUR HAIRPIN TURNS ON THE CLIMB!!

I can’t tell you what was going on with the group behind us, as I was focused on staying with this group of six.  Somewhere between the second and third hairpins, John and Les dropped back (not quite sure where – just know that we were all together at the second hairpin and not at the third hairpin). 

View from Sunrise Point...

By the fourth hairpin (Sunrise Point); Conor, Dwaine, Scott, and I were still together.  At that point, the grade becomes decidedly less steep.  The pace picked up accordingly.  Conor and Dwaine pulled away with about 1.5 miles to go, and Scott and I rode to the finish (the Sunrise Visitor Center Parking Lot) together.  I can’t speak for the others, but I was pretty tired by the time we arrived – and this was just the first of two or three planned trips up this climb.  It wasn’t long before the rest of our group joined us.  A few people visited the restroom, power bars were consumed, and water/Power Aid/etc. was quaffed.  Before long we were headed back down.

The descent back down from the Sunrise Visitor Center is long, steep (upper speeds into the low 40’s), and curvy.  I had my GoPro video camera and was hoping to get footage of the group sweeping through some of the turns in single file.  I left first and stopped a few hundred yards down the road to be prepared to get some photos of our group with Mt. Rainier in the background.  

Views near Sunrise Visitor Center...

I got my photos, jumped on my bike, and – everyone except Jim and Chris were gone!!  I totally enjoyed the ride down with Chris and Jim, but no group photos on this descent.  As I often tell the guys “being the photographer/videographer for the group often means working extra hard to catch up or (as in this case) not seeing the group until the bottom of the descent”.

Video: Sunrise Double/Triple Ride - Descent #1

(This video courtesy of Chris Fox)

Back at the bottom; we shed clothing, refilled water bottles, and re-stocked our supply of power bars.  Before long, we were headed back up with Les, Dwaine, and I starting after the main group.  The pace (for us at least) was decidedly slower than the first time.  We stayed at a steady pace and talked.  Even though I felt like we were riding at a decent pace and would catch some members of our group, we never did.  Everyone ahead of us was also riding pretty well.

View of our group just beginning the descent from Sunrise... I soon discovered that my video camera settings were "off" and lost the group trying to rectify the problem...

At the top, we stayed only briefly before beginning our descent.  Once again, I was hoping to get some good video of the group.  This time, my video camera settings were off.  By the time, I got it figured out – you guessed it – everyone but Dwaine (who was kind enough to wait for me) was gone – DRAT!!  Eventually, we caught up with James, Les, and Scott W.; and I finally got my group video going through the lower, curvy sections of this wonderful descent.

Video: Sunrise Double/Triple Ride - Descent #2

By this time, it was beginning to get pretty warm.  The six of us (Conor, Les, Dwaine, John, Scott L., and me) who were going to ride up a third time said goodbye to our compatriots, got rid of all of the extra clothing that we could, and headed up.  Conor, Dwaine, and John were stronger and headed up the road leaving Les, Scott, and me to ride up together.  It worked out fine.  We were tired, and that last time up was difficult; but we made it.  I believe that it was the first time that any of us had done Sunrise three times in one day, so that gave us a sense of accomplishment – not to mention the fact that I got a good “group” video on the way down.

Video: Sunrise Double/Triple Ride - Descent #3

Mission accomplished:
1.       Three times up the Sunrise Climb.
2.       Got good results on a descent that I had long wanted to capture on video.
3.       Everyone had a blast – at least, I think that they did.

Can’t wait until our next ride!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

2015_07_11 STP "Escort Service"" Ride (Various Perspectives)

Author:  Mark Delrosario

Hey STP riders,

It was a blast playing domestique for a small part of your Saturday ride.

 I saw a couple of mentions of Cyclopaths on Strava comments and I heard from my coworker this morning. He said he saw the group passing in the opposite direction. Before he knew it everyone was hitching onto Cyclopaths as you guys pulled Les, Dwaine and Scott on West Valley Highway. He said people were in the red trying to hold on. Lit a few of his matches earlier than expected.

When Kurt and I came down Jovita and connected with West Valley there was a pace-line trucking along at 23-27 mph. Was somewhat scared thinking of how to veer off at Sumner since the pace kept on picking up more steam with no sign of slowing. Normally you want to find a way to get into the pace-line not find an exit strategy!

I found the Puyallup Hill rather fun. Could see Mike and Rob ahead since they are tall enough to stand out of the masses. Even being sub-par in my climbing this season, I felt like a go cart weaving in and out of traffic. It is a local road to us so we would hope to show our colors (on a hill of course).

Look forward to hearing about the rest of your STP adventure.

Author:  Mike Hassur

Les, Dwaine, and Scott were planning to do the 2015 version of STP (Seattle To Portland).   A number of us thought that it would be fun to ride north from Puyallup on the morning of STP, meet them around Kent, and “escort them” to the entrance of Fort Lewis.  This year’s route went through Fort Lewis, and only registered riders could enter the gate.

Our plan was to meet in front of my house and be ready to go by 5:15 AM.  We were hoping to ride north and meet up with Les, Dwaine, and Scott close to the first rest stop (the REI Building in Kent) which was approximately 17 miles north of Puyallup. 

I was up and ready to go by 5:05 AM.  All I had to do was to make sure that my tires were properly inflated, walk out of my garage, and meet whoever showed up.  Unfortunately for me, the stem on my rear tire started leaking as soon as I removed the pump chuck.  Instead of having a few minutes to spare, I found myself rushing to change wheels.  I still made it out of my garage by 5:15 AM and found Leon, Kevin, Rob, Rex, and Conor waiting for me.

We rode north along the STP Route until we saw the guys heading toward us.  We were less than two miles from the REI rest stop, so our calculations had been pretty good.  There was a median in the center of the road, so it took us a minute to get turned around.  By that time, we were a couple of hundred yards behind the pace line that contained our STP comrades.  We took off after them and, almost immediately, had to stop for a red light – DRAT!!  The light changed, we took off again – AND WERE STOPPED BY A SECOND RED LIGHT.  By the time this light finally turned green, our adrenaline levels were pretty high.  We took off in hot pursuit, but the pace line that LSD (Les, Scot, & Dwaine) were in was moving pretty fast; and it took awhile to catch them.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but the next thing I knew – Rob, Rex, Dwaine, and Conor were up the road with Les, Kevin, Leon, Scott, and me in our own group.  It was crazy – everyone was going pretty fast, and there was no organization to the melee.  People were passing on the right or left, moving in and out on the road – it was a miracle that we didn’t see (or participate in) a few crashes.  Our group decided that we would slow things down a little.  We took it down to about 20-23 mph and just rode in our own pace line.  There may have been people falling in behind us.  I don’t really know, because Leon and I just kept trading off leading to try to minimize the amount of work that Les and Scott had to do.  Unfortunately, Kevin had a flat and had to stop to fix it; so it was just our foursome heading down the West Valley Highway toward Puyallup. 

Just before reaching the Cannery Furniture Store outside of Sumner; we saw Connor, Rob, Rex, and Dwaine.  They had slowed their pace to wait for us.  As we passed the Cannery, we saw Nick standing with his bike at the side of the road.  We yelled to make sure that he saw us (not really necessary with all of us wearing our Cyclopath gear), and he soon joined us.  About 100 yards past Nick were Mark and Kurt – they too joined us.  Now we had 12 guys in the group – our own mini-peloton!! 

We rode through Puyallup together which I really enjoyed.  After that, it was up the big hill just to the west of Puyallup which split us up a bit.  We re-grouped on Canyon Road.  Not long thereafter, Dwaine asked if I would stop with him as he had to make a bathroom stop.  I got Rob and Rex to stop as well which was a wonderful idea.  With them leading the way, we caught back up with the rest of the guys in no time – and I had a blast just riding along in their slipstream!! 

Before I knew it, we were at the Fort Lewis Gate, bidding the STP portion of our group adieu.  Those of us in the “Puyallup Cyclopath STP Escort Service” turned around and starting heading home.  We were only a short distance from the gate when we saw Kevin (flat tire) who turned around and rode back with us. 

Unfortunately, we didn’t see Nick, Mark, or Kurt on our return trip.  I would have liked to have seen Nick – in particular – as he was going all the way to Portland (from Puyallup), and I was hoping to wish him well. 

One by one our riders peeled off on the ride home.  In the end; it was just Leon, Rob, and me (we all live close to one another).  I thought that this was a really fun ride.  We got to surprise our STP buddies who didn’t know that the group was coming.  The weather was perfect.  The ride was pretty easy (only about 60 miles), and I enjoyed seeing all of the people out doing STP.

Can’t wait for this next weekend’s “Sunrise Double/Triple Ride”.


Author:  Les Becker

My Dad rode the STP in one day many times on his 10-speed Raleigh Supercourse (which is currently in my garage undergoing restoration). Back then the ride started at Seattle City Hall and ended at Portland City Hall. Since he passed away in November I wanted to do the ride one more time in his memory, so I signed up. My goal was not to race, but to do it in a good time since my 4 previous rides had gotten too tied up with long lines at the rest stops. When I told Dwaine I was riding, he asked if he could accompany me and that turned out to be great since we ride similar and had some nice training rides together. More good fortune when Scott Wager said he was riding but his riding partners had opted out so I invited him to join us. Turns out we made a great team and had lots of fun.

The 2:30 wake time was not fun, but  recent Cyclopath rides had been good training for getting up early. Dwaine drove his truck to the U district and we quickly connected with Scott (in the darkness) and started the ride with the early wave at 4:48.

Mike called me the evening prior and described in detail how he (singular) wanted to ride from home and  rendezvous with us near the REI rest stop near Kent. So when six Cyclopath riders came up the road it surprised the heck out of me! Initially I thought I was seeing things! Thank you to the Puyallup Cyclopath Escort Service for the company and assistance for that part of the ride. It made me sad to see you turn around at the gate at Fort Lewis.  I wish you all could have accompanied us all the way to Portland.

We bypassed many of the rest stops, especially early in the ride but when we did stop, there were no lines. Scott’s advice to start early was good advice. Rains soaked and chilled us just before Centralia but only for awhile, and we soon dried out. Past the Lexington rest stop near Longview, we rarely saw another rider so I was very happy to have Dwaine & Scott; our 3 man paceline was very efficient. But a group of 6 appeared behind us along the long stretch past Longview along the Columbia and caught us. However, they did not pass, but fell in behind us and when we rotated off the front, went to the back and they would do their pulls. Since they’d caught us, I assumed they were fast and would forge on ahead, but it was clear they appreciated our help as they stayed with us for quite awhile.

I had paid for the timing chip and finished #21 of 331 riders that had a chip and turned them in. Approx 1500-2,000 riders complete it in one day and someone at the finish line said perhaps 20-30 riders had come in before us and our total elapsed time was 11 hrs 55 minutes. For me the ride was a big success performance-wise and having a great adventure with wonderful friends Dwaine & Scott. Who wants to ride STP next year?

Author:  Lanny Moore

Last year after waking up at 0230 to be up in Seattle by 0430/0445, I decided this year I was going to grab an extra hour or so of sleep and depart from the house and ride to Kent to meet up with my riding partners from eBurg. Mark, who I graduated high school with and Julie, a local triathlete. Yes it would've been easier to just meet them in Puyallup or at McChord. But I am committed and certifiable and I wanted the 200 miles.  After eating a bowl of my "power" oatmeal* and downing a cup of coffee out of my Portland themed Starbucks cup (extra motivation) I departed from my garage around 0507.

My route took me down 176th to 122nd. From 122nd I buzzed down Military (man I love that hill) to Orting highway and up through Sumner, Pacific, and Algona where I caught the Interurban to 228th. I pulled up on the sidewalk at 228th and W. Valley around 0630. It appears I just missed that Big Orange train pulling out.  I wasn't there more than two minutes when I spotted Mark and Julie ride by. I caught up to them and suggested we take a detour to get away from the gaggle of bikes and traffic lights and cruise down to Sumner from which I came. They agreed so we took a left at James and jumped on the Interurban.
I recommended this for two reasons. 1) West Valley sucks. 2) I would've been tempted to climb Little Italy and make our way through Edgewood and come down Chrisllia for added elevation... Lol

From this point to McChord was a breeze and I even set a PR on the "Hill". Unlike last year where I had to stop for a freight train in Puyallup.

The ride through McChord and Ft Lewis was awesome! Great route change. Kudos to Cascade and a salute to JBLM for the access.

Team Sky was kind to grace us with their presence. I spearheaded the paint restoration of that old C-124 (old shakey) in the background during my time at McChord.

On the way down to Centralia, some weird liquid started to fall from the sky and by the time we arrived for lunch the roads were wet and I was covered in grime. I didn't mind at all.

Our lunch stop in Centralia was longer than I had hoped as Mark's wife met him down there so Julie and him could change kits. After about 45 minutes we got rolling again and the new bike path out of Centralia to Chehalis was another welcome change. After we crossed over I5 I ran over a piece of glass and punctured. Great! Second flat in two weeks. Right as I was starting to put in  the new tube when Motorcycle Mike from the Goldwing Association pulled up to lend a hand with his electric pump. Yes! Big round of applause.

We kept the pace around 16-18 mph while stopping at all rest stops as Julie's foot started bothering her. The same one in which she had a stress fracture back in the spring.  This was Marks 4th STP and my second. Julie rode with us last year but had to bail at mile 160 due to heat exhaustion. So our plan was to get her to Portland and across the line. The 160 is the furthest she's ever ridden.

After we stopped at the elementary school rest stop, I believe in Castle Rock we/I encountered one of the problems with riding in such a big event. Less experienced cyclists who can't keep a pace line going up a small incline.  I was leading and keeping a pace of 16 mph when I was passed by a tandem and 8 other cyclists following them. As they passed, I noticed a small hill coming up so I slowed down a bit to let them get ahead. Well I can only go so slow. I gave them a good 30 yards and by the time I reached the hill they were all bunched up like morning traffic at 512/410/167 interchange. So now I'm doing 6 mph and a half a wheel length behind the last guy when not once but twice he stands up and lurches his bike backwards and almost takes me out. This set me off. I looked ahead and none of them are moving up the hill. I said something, pulled out, proceeded to pass all of them up the hill and drop the hammer down and soloed into the Lexington Park outside of Kelso.  On the positive side I had my daughter and son here waiting for me so I was able to visit with them a little longer. They then drove to PDX to pick me up. While here, they were parked next to, I believe it's Kurt, another cyclopath and him and his crew were kind enough to share some water and ice with me.

We left and headed to Oregon. As we approached the bridge it started to rain again...WTF?! Lol. It only lasted until we got over the bridge. On HWY 30 Mark was setting the pace which was steady and then he tired so I took control and kept it the same, only to see them falling off.  I kept soft pedaling waiting for them to catch up and then I lost sight of them. So I soloed into Portland. Along the way I saw Nick making a u turn in a parking lot to head the other direction. Around he 12 mile mark I started to run out of gas. I was happy to finally get over the St John bridge. Of course now comes the challenge of all those silly traffic lights. My success rate was about 50%. At one stop light I heard another ask another behind if they were going to ride next year. At this point I'm thinking to myself, " ask me on Wednesday".

I made it across the line at 8 with Mark and Julie coming across at 830..

Looking forward to riding it again next year. However, I would like to be able to do it in a time comparable to Les, Scott, and Dwaine whose total elapsed time was within a 1/2 hour or so of their ride time. Quick stops. Good job guys.

Author:  Craig Hill

I was riding at a slower clip with a buddy who doesn't bike much. We started from our homes to stay ahead of the masses and caught the route in Roy.

Knowing you guys (i.e. Puyallup Cyclopaths Les Becker, Scott Wagar, and Dwaine Trummert) would easily catch us, Scott Wagar and I were in contact hoping to meet up and ride together for a bit.  As misfortune would have it, when my buddy and I took a quick Honey Bucket stop in Castle Rock, I saw three incredibly loud, orange jerseys zip past.  I hollered "Wagar." He didn't hear me (or ignored me).

It seems we missed each other by minutes in Lexington. We might even have been there at the same time.

They were probably soaking in a hot tub by the time we arrived in Portland about 90 minutes behind them.


Author:  Scott Wagar

I originally planned to ride my 17th STP with my brother this year; but about a month out, he told me that he lost his passion for cycling and was bailing on the ride.  Fortunately for me, I was talking with Les on one of our Cyclopath rides and found out that he and Dwaine planned on riding; and he invited me to ride with them.

My alarm was set for 3am - funny how it's never an issue waking up for a ride when I struggle everyday to wake up for work.  Anyways, my wife and I were out of the house by 3:45 and made it to the start line by 4:25.  I quickly got my things together and was able to find Les and Dwaine in record time - which is not an easy feat with thousands of riders milling about.  My wife, Kameron, took some pictures and wished us well.  Shortly thereafter, we were on our way crossing the start line around 4:48 am.

The first few miles were dicey due to all the riders as well as the street furniture in the residential areas.  We were able to get through all the chaos with no issues.  We soon found ourselves riding at a decent clip through Seattle on our way to Kent.  Our plan was to skip the REI stop and look for Mike who Les informed me was going to meet us around that food stop.  I thought that was great and also informed him that Kevin was going to meet us around Sumner.  We passed the food stop and didn't see Mike.  I kept saying to myself "watch for Mike, watch for Mike"  A couple of minutes passed when all of a sudden I see a large orange wave of cyclist coming towards us.  I was shocked and amazed that so many Cyclopaths had come out to meet us.  What an awesome treat!  In no time, the gang was able to turn around and hook up with us.  I remember Rob saying as he passed "your train is here, get on".  I wished it was that easy, before I knew it Rob and his train had come and gone.  I was fortunate to hang with Mike and Leon who were nice enough to block the wind for me the whole time till we hooked up with the rest of the gang in Puyallup.  The Cyclopaths took us to the JBLM entrance where we had to say goodbye.  Thanks guys for supporting us.  It was an awesome surprise.

Once we got on base, we had easy sailing with no traffic.  It was an honor riding through there with many of the military men and women out on the course cheering us on.  A few miles onto the base, the second food stop showed up where they had parked several military planes for the cyclists to view, very cool.  We used the bathroom and were quickly off again.

We made good time through Roy, Yelm and Tenino.  A few miles after Tenino a small sprinkle started coming down, I was thinking that this is nice and refreshing, but unfortunately for all of us that sprinkle turned into an all out downpour.  For the next 12-13 miles we rode in a sloppy mess.  For quite a while, I was behind Dwaine and Les where I kept getting nailed with their tire spray, I  wished that Dwaine had his fenders on.  We got to Centralia very wet and somewhat chilled.  It's tradition that when you ride into the Centralia rest area they hand you a Creamsicle, and I believe for the first time I passed on this delicious treat due to being cold to the point of shaking.  Nothing like last year at Paradise (Skate Creek Loop Ride), but still very cold.  We made it there at 10:10, not bad.  We used the bathroom and grabbed a ton of food and drink and were off again.

For the next 20-25 miles, we had a decent pace line going with many members taking on the headwind.  However, we found ourselves alone a good portion of the second half of the ride.  Les and Dwaine were awesome to ride with and like always Dwaine took on more of the pulls than he should have.  We made it to Lexington at 1pm where we got more food, and it was then that Dwain noticed his seat was about to come off.  He was able to borrow an Allen wrench form the onsite mechanic and was good to go.

Just before the St. Helens stop, we had another good pace line going when there was a decent incline just before town at that point I felt the "bonk" coming.  I limped into the St. Helens stop where Dwaine pulled out his secret weapon for "debonking" - an ice cold can of Coca Cola.  He had purchased one for each of us.  I downed that along with some cookies, and we were off again.  I couldn't believe it.  Within a few minutes, the caffeine and sugar kicked in; and I felt like a new man.  We powered into Portland, weathered the 45 stop lights and crossed the finish line at 4:43.  Not bad at all!  My wife and daughter were at the finish line about 4pm and told me only 20-30 riders crossed before us.

It was a great day with Les and Dwaine!  Thanks Cyclopaths for supporting us.

Monday, July 6, 2015

2015_07_03 Whidbey Island Ride - Jim Wilcher and Chris Fox (The rogue, northern Cyclopaths)

Author:  Jim Wilcher

As an alternative to the Triple-By-Pass ride that many of the Cyclopaths rode, Chris and I decided to seek cooler temps by escaping to the Puget Sound islands. Chris Fox is an expert guide of the back roads of Whidbey Island, and he loves to share them so off we set at 6:00AM towards the Mukilteo Ferry landing. We parked the car and boarded with our bikes and big smiles. Oddly, there were only a few cars on the ferry which bid well for our plans to ride car free (carefree) roads.

Chris prepared his GoPro, and we set off with a quick left-hand turn just off the ferry dock. The high-bank island provides an immediate climb up to commanding views, a cool breeze and vacant roads. I remembered the first time that Chris had invited me to ride with him on Whidbey — assuming the island was flat. I was unprepared for the steepness and number of climbs — a mistake I hope not to repeat. This time I loaded my jersey with road snacks and prepared myself for some steep hills.

“Watch for deer” Chris barked as he hooked a right turn that dove under tall alder trees and onto a narrow path lined with stinging nettles. Soon, we returned to the quiet roads where we pedaled steadily and spied views of the Sound between cottages and beach homes. We saw a few runners, just a few cars, and – yes - we saw a deer. A short stop at the coffee shop had a deadline of just a few minutes to get coffee, use the bathroom and remount in order to catch the ferry for the return trip. No more lolly-gagging, we had an agenda, we were going to be riding fast from here on out. We reached the Three Bitches, a series of hills that lived up to their name in terms of steepness - then the forested ride up the long track dubbed the Cathedral — an inspiring climb through an enchanted island forest and dappled light streaming though the semi-old growth Cedars.

The last few miles were an all out push in pace line formation to catch the ferry, zipping over the dock just in time. On the front deck of the ferry, we basked in cool breeze, rejuvenated, all of it punctuated by the morning sun glinting off the Puget Sound. On the way back to the mainland, we turned our thoughts to our cyclo-brothers as they would soon be chomped down on the hot tarmac of Cayuse Pass in what was sure to be a bit warmer temps.

Link to Chris Fox's short video of the ride:

Chris and Jim on the ferry...

2015_07_03 Triple By-Pass

Author:  Conor Collins

Over the past four years I have participated in twenty Puyallup Cyclopath rides.  Yet this was my first time doing Triple Bypass. Quite possibly the most original of all the names us Cyclopaths give for our rides; and the longest, most self-dependent ride we do as a group.  It’s shameful that it took me this long to add it to my list. Regardless of my greatly postponed Triple Bypass introduction, this ride was nothing short of what one should expect for a Puyallup Cyclopath undertaking.

I would assume a good blog post would document the span of the whole riding experience, so that’s what I intend to do. After the usual pre-ride day chat with Mike the night before, I jokingly questioned his logic behind starting the ride at 5:15am; our meeting place would be the Cayuse Pass junction, (an hour and twenty-five minute drive from Puyallup) and the thought of waking up earlier than the roosters earliest crow (3:15am) seemed absurd - yet that’s exactly what we did. My alarm rang at 3am, and I was out the door to meet up with Leon and Mike by 3:30.

For those of us willing to venture on the road at such an early hour, I think we can all agree there is a distinct reward for our efforts (besides the lack of traffic on the roads). The pureness of the cool morning air with nature’s light show just beginning to cusp the horizon redefines any pre-existing delineations of natural beauty. One case in specific is the sunrise we witness while driving up Cayuse Pass; the sun’s morning rays illuminate only the upper body of Mt. Rainier’s east face, a surreal sight that is only fully appreciated first hand.

We reached the designated starting area of the ride right on time - with the fourteen others arriving just after. The temperature at Cayuse was 50°, a fairly comfortable temp for a day that was forecasted to reach the 90's. Just like every ride, at least ten minutes are spent pondering the optimal amount of clothing to keep one’s self “comfortable” throughout the ride. Most of us went with a vest and some thin arm warmers, aside from Leon who sported his thick mountaineering mittens for the early parts of the ride.

Cayuse Pass (5:25 AM) ready to go...

The first four miles are spent on the scenic, gradual grade of Chinook Pass (the first pass in our Triple Bypass journey). The sky was perfectly clear, not a single cloud obscured our view. Mt. Adams stood tall in the distant southern horizon, along with a magnificent view of Mt. Rainier as we turned onto the only western facing switchback on eastbound Chinook. The group stayed together for most of the short initial climb, with a brief re-grouping at the top. I managed to catch a glimpse of a young buck walking through the meadows right past the top of Chinook, just as the morning light was beginning to strike the slopes of the canyon.

Chinook Pass at 6:00 AM...

After a quick re-group we began the twenty-mile descent to Whistling Jack’s Lodge, our first scheduled stop of the day. Rob Critchfield and a few buddies of his that were joining us for the ride bolted down the eastern side of Chinook. I remember Mike saying, “Look, there goes Rob!” Naturally, I took that as a cue. In my highest gear I still found myself spinning out, especially when my pace was higher than 40mph. I never managed to latch onto their tails, and decided it would be wise to let up on the pursuit and fall back to the main group for some fun pace-line work to the first rendezvous.

Once back in the group, and with an eased heart rate, I began to notice the significant drop in temperature. I remember Les Becker saying the temperature had dropped “13 degrees” from what is was at the top of Chinook Pass—funny how the temperature dropped the lower we rode.  Although averaging a high rate of speed wasn’t difficult on a downhill grade, there was one unusual challenge:  the sun. Kind of like how Stonehenge focuses the light depending on the time of year, the trees on eastern Chinook must do the same during the first week of July. The light was right in our eyes -making it extremely difficult to focus on the road and the person’s tire in front of you.

Cruising down the road at speeds around 30mph, I remember, for the briefest of moments thinking to myself: “This ride is going to be a breeze.” For the typical, superstitious cyclist, those thoughts are unwelcome in the mind, especially when there’s over seventy miles to go. After about an hour of speedy downhill riding, we rolled up at Whistling Jack’s Resort (in Cliffdell).  There, we met up with Rob’s group. Leon and Kurt decided they would rather keep riding to find some sun, and the rest of us took a quick break to get food and answer nature’s call.

Bathroom break at Whistlin' Jack Resort... we were so early that Whistlin' Jack's general store wasn't open yet... fortunately, the bathrooms were outside and available...!!

After a short break, we were ready to get into another groove for the next twenty miles to the junction of highway 410 and highway 12 – the point where the long White Pass climb begins. Rob’s speedy group that dropped us all on the Chinook descent pulled out first and took most of our fifteen man group with them except for Mike, Les, Mark, and a few others who decided it wouldn’t be in their best interest to burn all of their matches quite so early. They may have been right (see addendum)… We were flying down the road, averaging at least 30mph, for the whole stretch.  Although not smartest of choices for an endurance ride, it’s really hard to pass up such a thrill! We passed Leon and Kurt so quickly during their sunbath they didn’t even notice Mike, Les, and the rest were still far back.

Heading up toward White Pass...

We reached the turn onto U.S. 12 in no time and rode for about a mile until we reached our next re-grouping location.  After re-filling our bottles and waiting for a few minutes Leon and Kurt rolled up.   We decided it would be best to continue to the store a few more miles up the road, where we could wait for the rest while re-stocking our food supply.  Using those miles as a “recovery” from the high intensity of the rapid pace-line, it was nice to have a slight break after fifty-five miles of riding.  We reached the store… and no lights were on… we realized we were a bit too early.  It didn’t open until 9, and we were there at 8:45!! Leon and John decided they weren’t willing to wait for water and tapped the sprinkler in the adjacent yard to suffice their water needs.

To our surprise, Dr. Nick was the first to roll up, beating out Mike and Les.  Although Nick can be speedy, we didn’t realize he was that close to our lead group. When I asked him how he managed to make up so much ground so quickly he replied: “I hitched a ride with a gentleman in a truck.” I didn’t believe him. That sounded like a classic Dr. Nick joke that needed a photograph to be even mildly believable.  Sure enough however, when I asked Mike how Nick managed to be so close to us, he seconded Nick’s story… So, Dr. Nick, kudos for your resourcefulness! When Mike asked the store manager if the sprinkler water was safe to drink, he was told it was a mix of unfiltered river water and brown water from the store… it was too late for Leon and John, but they seemed to manage just fine the remainder of the ride!

A few of us decided waiting three more minutes for the store to open wasn’t worth our time, and we continued up to Rimrock Lake. The climb’s pitch increased slightly along the way the closer we got to White Pass, but leveled off for a few miles as we paralleled the shoreline of the lake.

The second-to-last stop came at a small café along the lake, where Rob was generous enough to buy us some cold water that would keep us refreshed for the real climb to White Pass. While getting ready to finish the climb, Mike’s group had just appeared and was rolling around the bend; we hitched with them until the pitch increased for the final four miles to the top. I pulled off the front to scratch the itch I had left in my climbing legs (even knowing we still had the massive Cayuse Pass to climb). Regardless, it was great enjoying the beautiful vistas around White Pass.

When I reached White Pass, Leon had already arrived having declined the stop at the café and was looping back to ride with the others. I was told to stop at the summit store where I got some great chicken strips and a Gatorade to refill and replenish my nutrition. Over the course of twenty minutes we regrouped and rested in the shade before beginning our final descent and climb to the finish.

Typical expressions after the White Pass portion of Triple By-Pass... John, Scott, Mario, and Les...

Chris and Aaron at White Pass...

Lanny (walking) and Rex (on bike) - White Pass...

Aaron, Rob, and Chris...

White Pass was the last real time I saw everyone in a group; a few appeared to be on the cusp of bonking at the top and took their time on the descent, while others had mechanicals or no interest in going fast.

As always, the climb up Cayuse was Nature’s reminder of her ultimate power… and my ultimate “highway to hell” as I decide to sit back and finish off the ride in a peaceful state of mind. As for Mike, Leon, Les, Mario, and the others who finished with or around me, I think it’s fair to say Triple Bypass was as challenging as it was fun. For the rest who were behind us, hopefully you will all be back for our next ride as a team; it’s not as great without you!

** To see all of the photos associated with this ride, click on the following link: 

Addendum (by Mike Hassur):   I think that it is fair to say the following about Triple By-Pass and the final (Cayuse Pass) portion of Triple By-Pass:
1.       This is a long, difficult ride.  Even for the best of riders, it can be exhausting…
2.       The enthusiasm and vigor with which you start the climb up Cayuse is seldom found by the time you reach the top…
3.       The decisions that you make earlier in the Triple By-Pass ride can play a major role in how that final, brutal climb up Cayuse Pass plays out…!!