Wellllll OF COURSE I DID!!!

Without a doubt, if I picked a time of my life that had the most memories and effect on my memories or the things I say, it would be the years at WSU with Dave, Scott, Jim and I.

The Strohs Bros! I was NOT the tall one, and check out the wall paper

No matter how long its been, there are just times that a phrase, word or saying from these days just want to jump into current conversations. Today was one of those days… Continue reading “Wellllll OF COURSE I DID!!!”

Racking Up the Miles: August 2015

Normally, I do my end of the month posts almost as soon as the last ride of the month occurs.  (Yep Michelle tells me I am very much a creature of habit!)  However, August ended with a great vacation, a huge storm, and major clean up afterwards (not to mention loss of power and interwebs!)  So now, with a day of relaxation, I can get caught up! Continue reading “Racking Up the Miles: August 2015”

Have you recovered yet?

For those who know me and have been around me after my ‘big ride’ of the year, they’ve pretty much gotten used to me being up and ‘rarin to go’ the next day.  Lord knows I am not at 100%, the stairs at work seem MUCH steeper that then were before the rides, and I seem to make a lot more “old man noises.” For the most part, though, most would not know I have done anything major.

Since the RAMROD, though, I’ve had discussions people I don’t know, or some I don’t know that well, that have just made me smile. Continue reading “Have you recovered yet?”

Racking Up the Miles: July 2015

Wow, I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized “Holy Crap!  It’s August!!” Even though I had been tracking the days and watching out for the big ride of the year, it still surprised the heck out of me that we all already into the last real month of Summer.

So far this year, we have had a record 12 days of 90 or higher in Seattle.  The past record was 9 days.  And August is notoriously the hottest month of the year.  I swear I might melt!  But this post is not to whine about the weather, its to talk about the miles for the month… Continue reading “Racking Up the Miles: July 2015”

Sturdy bike, COUG Shirt, Must be Tony!

When I first started riding a bike, back in 2008, there was one guy (The husband of a friend of the ex-wife (Who still holds the prestige of being the only guy I truly disliked on first sight)) who would Lord over me “Well you aren’t a real Washington cyclist until you have ridden the RAMROD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day)” He would then drone on talking about it. (by then I tuned him out)

He was the catalyst to start me on the quest to complete this ride.  Yesterday was my chance to do so… Continue reading “Sturdy bike, COUG Shirt, Must be Tony!”

The Time is Nigh….

Back in 2007 our buddy Mountainstroh stored his crampons, lost his glacier glasses and hung up his ice-axe.  Like an old west sheriff, he reached the time to retire.  Going strictly on my won/loss record (or summit/no summit) I was a dismal 2 and 6 over 12 years,  with the only real summits reached being Mt Baker and Mt St Helens.

Summit Mt, Baker
Summit Mt, Baker
First St Helens summit

Starting in 2008, the challenge shifted to 2 wheels instead of plastic boots, and roadways instead of glaciers.  In the last 7 years and 20000 miles I have yet not to succeed.  Yep, undefeated.  This week will put that record to the test… Continue reading “The Time is Nigh….”

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. Continue reading “Go Big or Go Home!”

OK time for Plan B!

Well, as we all know, My plan this year was the RAMROD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day) for July.  I joined the lottery last month, and I was waiting for the reply….  Well today I got this

Thank you for your interest in the 2013 RAMROD. We are sorry to inform you that your entry was not selected in the lottery. Your credit card has not been charged the balance of the registration fee.

The response was overwhelming! Over 1,000 were not selected in the lottery and are now moved to the Wait List.

Your current position on the wait list is 407. We have a link to the wait list on the RAMROD website. Please keep checking there to see your place on the wait list moving down and to determine your odds of getting in.

If your initial wait list number is 100 or less you can be very sure you will have a chance to ride. Between 100 and 200 your odds are still good. Above 200 the odds will depend largely on factors such as perceived weather conditions the day of the ride.

CRAP!!  OK, time for plan B. There was a second ride I wanted to do this year, but without any vacation time, I would not have been able to do them both.  This one allowed even fewer riders, so I was sure I was aced out.  So I accessed the Crater Lake Century, and damned if there wasn’t still room!  Out came the debit card and I am signed up!

For those of unfamiliar with Crater Lake I am taking this from the Century rides website:

Crater Lake

The deepest lake in the United States and the 7th deepest in the world is located in the northern part of Klamath County and was chosen as the site of the century ride because few places on earth command overwhelming awe from observers as Crater Lake does. Even in a region of volcanic wonders, Crater Lake can only be described in superlatives. Stories of the deep blue lake can never prepare visitors for their first breathtaking look from the brink of this 6 mile wide caldera which was created by the eruption and collapse of Mt. Mazama almost 7,000 years ago. Even seasoned travelers gasp at the twenty-mile circle of cliffs, tinted in subtle shades and fringed with hemlock, fir, and pine: all this in a lake of indescribable blue. For more information about Crater Lake , go to www.nps.gov/crla.

Now, this is a century instead of the 150 miles of RAMROD.  But this is no slouch!



The Century Ride

Century Riders (100 miles) will start at the Fort Klamath Museum on Crater Lake Highway (Rte 62) at 4,000 ft elevation, and will enjoy the first 35 miles along the valley floor of the Wood River Valley with breathtaking views of the surrounding Cascade mountains with old growth forests. This will be a nice warm up for the 3,000 ft climb to the Crater Lake Rim. Once reaching Crater Lake Rim and getting your first view of the brilliantly blue, awe inspiring Crater Lake, Century Riders will continue another 30 miles of peaks and valleys for an additional 3,000 ft of climbing around the lake on Rim Drive. Then riders will enjoy the ride back down to the Wood River Valley and will end the ride with 8 miles of flat roads back to the Fort Klamath Museum.

OK a 3000 foot climb and a total of 6000 ft of climbing means its mountain training time!  I will be road tripping down to Enumclaw for a trip to the top of Chinook pass and back a few times when it gets warmer, as well as the two Century Rides I have already lined up.

I am excited about this ride.  I have ALWAYS wanted to see Crater Lake, but somehow have never gotten there in all my travels in Oregon.  I am also a National Park Geek (as well as many other kinds of geek) so I get a passport stamp every time I go to one.

We have booked a place in Klamath Falls for Thurs-Sat.  This means we travel there on Thursday, drive the route, get my stamps, take pictures and walk around in the park Friday, then get to sleep close by Saturday night!

Rest assured I will be signing up for RAMROD next year again (the year I hit 50!) but now I know what I am training for this year!  Sadly, its been raining non-stop today, so time to go out to the shed for an hour on the rollers!

This stuff just got real this year!

The $6 Down Payment that Could Shape My Riding Year!

It’s March 1st ladies and gents!  I’ve had that day marked on my calendar for quite a while!  What is March 1st you ask?  No it’s not my wife’s birthday, or our anniversary.  I am not WAY late for Valentines Day nor did Easter come early this year.

It’s the first day you can enter the lottery (anyone feeling lucky?) with a $6 fee (shoot I’ve paid more for bad beer) for Redmond Cycling Club’s    R A M R O D 2013!  Anyone who has read this blog from the beginning knows I have one big ride each year, and I have finally reached the point that I think I can pull this one off!  What is the R A M R O D you ask?  (Well even if you didn’t) From the website we see:

RAMROD 2013 – Thursday July 25th
  RAMROD [Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day] is the Pacific Northwest’s premiere one-day ultra-marathon cycling event. It combines the incomparable scenery of Mount Rainier National Park with a challenging course featuring 10,000 feet of climbing over 152 miles. The course begins in Enumclaw, WA and takes riders through the rolling hills near Eatonville, Elbe and Ashford before entering the Mount Rainier National Park.  You’ll be challenged by three climbs: a 12 mile ascent to Inspiration Point (4,850 ft), the 3 mile Backbone Ridge climb and the challenging 9-mile Cayuse Pass ascent (4,694 ft).  Join us for another great edition of this classic ride!

I think the “by the numbers” helps explain it even more:

1 Mountain    
152 Miles    
800 Riders    
10,000 Feet of Climbing

English: NPS map of Mount Rainier National Par...
English: NPS map of Mount Rainier National Park Français : Carte du Parc national du Mont Rainier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To me, it’s the one ride I have always looked at and wondered if I would ever be able to pull it off.  That is one BIG mountain, and I have done some of the hills around it Chinook Pass (well almost, more later on that) and Sunrise Visitor Center are two memorable and VERY steep HARD rides.

Why now? I pulled off the Highpass Challenge 2 years ago, within the allotted time, while wearing running shoes.  I didn’t have clips yet (yes we will discuss that later as well) not even baskets on my pedals.  You know you are the odd man out when someone says “You are going to ride this wearing those??”  Yep and got a finisher’s medal and backpack to prove it!  This year I am clipped in!

Holding the bronze medal after the High Pass Challenge!
Holding the bronze medal after the High Pass Challenge!

Last year did the Seattle to Portland, 206 miles, in one day. and aside from a sore tush, I was rarin’ to go!

Now add to it the stupid reason.  My ex wife had a best friend whose husband I could not stand, but I couldn’t figure out why.  Then looking at this ride it hit me.  When I was new at this biking game, anytime we discussed it, the “I completed the RAMROD you know” would come up.  Lord I wanted to punch that man (but I digress).  So instead of punching him (chances are I will never see him again), I will complete the ride as well!

So why the lottery?  The National Park only allows 800 riders.  This is a ride many people use to challenge themselves.  In a normal year 1700 – 2000 people sign up for the lottery.  This means the odds could be 60-40 against me!  (So if anyone has a rabbit’s foot or other good luck charm they could give an extra rub for me, it would be appreciated….)

I won’t find out until the first week of April if I was selected.  Then there is the waiting list if I DON’T get selected.  This means training without knowing for sure!  MUCH harder, but I can do it.

I am looking at plan B rides, but nothing is drawing my interest.  Any ideas?

Think good thoughts for me folks!