Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Volcanoes Day 2 Fire then water

Exactly !!
We awoke in the hamlet of Packwood knowing there was suffering waiting for us. We dressed in our costumes and loaded up the lone van that would accompany us on the remainder of our journey.
On the road again..
Turning south from Randle we enjoyed less than two miles before the road kicked us in the teeth.
The woods swallowed us up and the climbing began. Today would be well over a hundred miles and would feature ten thousand feet of climbing.
KB climbing with Mt. Rainier (where we were yesterday) in the distance.
I remembered some of the road from my one and only prior experience here at the inaugural High Pass Challenge back in 2007 or 2008. I knew that moonscapes lay ahead but for now we were climbing and enjoying the cool air knowing the heat would come soon enough.
Some of our band of merry men crossing the bridge.
Turning off NF road 25 we began climbing
After a food stop as riders were beginning to assemble and start I jumped on my bike and grabbed a head start. I assumed I would be swept up in the first mile. I didn't attack or anything, knowing that even after this climb there would be more climbing and plenty more miles. I settled into a rhythm and waited for the fast guys to catch me.
I could see the road cut into the mountain ahead of me. Soon I passed the first mile marker, then the second, and the third and fourth passed as well. I was watching the elevation tick up on my Garmin and soon I was at 1,230m. It was essentially rollers from here to the top and still I was alone. Perhaps I would get the KOM today?
The peak of Mount St. Helens keeps getting closer and closer.
The ride was so epic, it was in black and white !!
Finally, as I was stopped taking pictures "The Plastic Boys" caught me. They were so dubbed as they were on carbon framed bikes. I jumped in and hung with them a few miles until I saw the sign that said the viewpoint was another seven miles up the road. I can't tell you if it was wisdom, or wimpdom, but as soon as I saw the sign I ratcheted down my power output.  Soon I was alone.
I was joined then by the Reigning King of the Mountains for the remainder of the climb.
Even Kings need to stretch now and then...
Spirit Lake..
Spirit Lake from the windy ridge road end..
Mt. Hood. That is tomorrow's objective..

Mt Adams, We will pass that on day five...
Climbing back through the blast zone..
KB would turn north as we turned south and his sweet wife would pick him up that evening as he had other commitments. We kept telling the surgeon "Cancer can wait!" He just smiled, bid us farewell and headed off into the sunset.
Time to descend. It is a long way to the Columbia River..
After fueling up we head to the second big climb of the day; Old Man Pass. While only 3,000 feet in elevation, the road kicks up with a double digit incline and never lets up. By now the day had hotted up and the sun was directly overhead. Shade was elusive and my legs were feeling the fatigue of both yesterday and the climbing of today. We spread out on the road and everyone found their own room in hellish hotel known as climbing purgatory.
At the summit the van was parked and we paused, eating and refilling water bottles. Then it was time to drop and drive. The descent was fun but we still had dozens of miles to go to reach our hotel.
We formed up into an echelon and when we got to roads with traffic we were a pace line. With loud voices we cheered each other on as we took pulls longer than we wanted. Our bottles were empty and we had eaten everything in our pockets that could have helped us.  We were spent.
Soon we made the left turn we had been dreaming of and were greeted by a hill that was maybe fifty feet high and it broke our spirit. Profanities were uttered and with gritted teeth we were up and over and then after five minutes of coasting, we arrived.
I choose to call it......charming....
While they cooked our food, we were already cooked.
Some were more cooked than others....
114 miles, 10,230' of climbing, down to twelve riders...

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