Go Big or Go Home!

This was a bit of a surprising day, after a surprising weekend.  We woke up to driving rain this morning, but unusually warm.  Surprising mostly due to the fact it snowed hard Saturday and was butt cold most of the weekend.  But we woke to 50 degrees and serious wet!

We had heard it was going to rain, so I packed all the gortex I had for the ride home.  I planned on warm and wet.  What I got was the second surprise of the day.

But wait, second surprise?  What was the first?  Well, the first happened earlier in the afternoon.  I was sitting there working, and emailing back and forth with Auburn Liz about rides we wanted to do this year.  She had just finished her first Chilly Hilly and she and her husband are  doing the Seattle to Portland in one day together.  We talked about some other rides, and then it hit me…

Holy crap, the RAMROD Lottery should be open!  What is the RAMROD?  Its Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day.


From the RAMROD website.

1 Mountain
149 Miles
800 Riders
10,000 Feet of Climbing.

The two toughest climbs are:

  • The climb stiffens at Longmire where riders begin the 12 mile ascent to Inspiration (elevation 4,850 feet)
  • Generally considered the most difficult section of the course: the 9-mile climb up Cayuse Pass (elevation 4,694) which starts at 100 miles into the ride

And you have 15 hours to do it….

For more detail about the course, Check out the RAMROD course page.

One doesn’t just sign up for the RAMROD.  Why?  Well the 3rd number down is the key to completing this course.  The National Park Service only allows 800 riders….  There are over 2000 every year who want to do it.  This means a lottery.  I bought my $6 lottery entry today, and I will find out at the end of the month.

Theoretically, each time you join but aren’t chosen, you are weighted differently, and have a better chance the next year.  However, last year, they advised more than 800 people they were in.  Some had to be cut and subsequently were promised a spot this year.  Might hurt my chances…

Now the reason for the blog post title.  Last years big ride had 600o feet of elevation and only 100 miles.  I am increasing the overall climbing by 2/3 and the distance by 50%.  Now the real kicker.  I’ve already signed up for the STP (in 1 day) 2 weeks prior to the RAMROD,  I almost didn’t sign up because of that, but to my surprise, I ended the day taking a shot at it.

But, I started thinking.  the STP is one day, then I can rest and recover.  It’s a long assed ride, but not elevation difficult.  This means I could count it as just one very long last training ride, then give myself two weeks to recover.  Yep go big or go home. So sign up I did!  I’ll be watching my email closely at then end of the month.  If it comes through, July 12 is STP and is locked n stone.  July 31 is RAMROD.

After that, all I had left was to get ready for the ride home, I looked outside to see how wet I was going to get and there it was, surprise #2!  Blue sky and sunshine!!  I went outside real quick and found it was in the 50s.  Add to it, there was a hard wind, from the south!!  A tail wind!!

I rode in shorts, light gloves, a wind breaker and no skull cap.  And at times I was still too warm! It was the first spring like ride of the year.  The legs were fresh, the wind strong and I flew home.  I cut 10 minutes off my normal time.  By the time this posts, it will be raining again, but tomorrow is a non ride day, no worries.

Its days like this when I think about how far I’ve come in the last 6 years and almost 15000 miles.  When I started I am not sure I’d ever have believed I would ride 200 miles in a day, and I know for a fact that I felt the RAMROD was beyond me.  Now, I am thinking of the STP as a training ride, and even though I KNOW its going to be hard and there will be times I will regret signing up for it, I know given the chance I can finish the RAMROD!

Wish me luck!

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