Two years ago, I did the High Pass Challenge. This is a century ride from the tiny town of Packwood, WA, to Windy Ridge Observatory in Mt St Helens Volcanic Monument. This was, bar none, the hardest route I have ever ridden. I will tell you, it saved my butt driving the route the week before with my wife! I knew where the hills ended and what was coming.
Learning from the past, Michelle and I came down to Klamath Falls, OR 2 days early. This left us today to sleep in, eat breakfast, get coffee and then head into the park! Damn I am glad we did!
First off, I found the first 30 miles or so will be relatively flat through ranch lands. That works well for me as the first 20 miles, before I get into the grove, are the hardest. Then though, you enter the park! I found that the first few miles in the park, though uphill, isn’t too bad. Slow and steady will get me through this without a problem! The scenery starts to improve the minute you hit the park!
Soon though, it gets steeper, the climb to the rim drive is 7 miles, all uphill, with varying degrees of steepness. Nothing I haven’t done before, BUT it will be a work out! However the reward at the top is this view!
Now, one could think that the hard work was done, and its a leisurely ride around the 33 mile road at the lake. One would be WRONG! The work starts there, these are some seriously rolling hills that will require LOWWWW gears! The downhills are going to be a blast though! What will help me along? These views!
The pictures do NOT do justice to just how blue the water was. I was amazed and in awe at times. And I didn’t bore you with ALL the pics I took!
Another good thing about going early, is that I was able to take pictures today! I know I will take more tomorrow, but this will help me keep moving tomorrow knowing I don’t have to stop EVERY time I see something.
We also saw wildlife! Turkey Vultures, Hawks, Osprey, Pine Martin (kinda like a weasel) and a ton of these little guys!
So what did I learn?
- I was right, this is going to be hard!
- I was also right, it will be one of, if not the, most spectacular ride I’ve ever done.
- I should have trained more in the mountains
- The downhills will be a blast!
- I will be eating at EVERY sag stop!
- I love cycling through National parks!
- Annies Restaurant in the park has damn good burgers!
- I will need a beer tomorrow night!
By the time this posts, I will be on the bike and heading up! I will throw a quick one up to tell everyone how I did, but it might be Monday before yall get details!
By the way, HUGE appreciation to my gorgeous wife Michelle. For traveling 8 hours to get here, going on the recon with me, making sure I stayed hydrated today, and reassuring me the while way! DAMN I love my wife!