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RAMROD - Cycle


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Enumclaw, Washington
United States
Redmond Cycling Club
76.3F / 25C
Sunny
Total Time = 8h 38m 48s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Chris and I flew into Seattle on Tuesday evening. Spent Wednesday building up the bikes, taking them out for a test ride, fixing the bikes...and then finally relaxing at the lake house. Both our bikes were acting up on the ride. Mine had a ton of issues...(1) The front wheel was making all sorts of annoying noises on the chip sealed roads. Turns out the valve stem was banging against the carbon wheel frame. I put a few inches of electrical tape around the valve and that was enough to dampen and stop the rattling. (2) My front derailleur wasn't shifting from the big to the small chainring. Had to adjust the limit screw. (3) When I shifted to the large chainring, the chain dropped off. Had to adjust the other limit screw as well. Was so relieved when we finally got both our bikes figured out!
Event warmup:

Woke up at 3:30am. Had some oatmeal and breakfast...and we were out the door by 4am. Mom drove us to Enumclaw (40-minute drive). Within miles of the high school, we were already seeing riders who had left and were on the course. We parked, checked in and started getting all our gear together.

By the time we headed through the start chute, there was already enough light to see the road. Though we both kept our sunglasses on our helmets.
Bike
  • 8h 38m 48s
  • 149 miles
  • 17.23 mile/hr
Comments:

When we left Enumclaw at about 5:30am, we hopped on a pace line with three other riders. They seemed content to pull and rotated out in front of me. We knew that the first 40 or so miles were flat/net-downhill so we would have to make good progress through this section. We were moving pretty well...averaging 20+mph. At about an hour in, the three guys pulled off. We weren't sure why, but we continued moving. Chris pulled the line for awhile. Not sure how many people were behind us at this point. After about 20 minutes, a group of about 5 guys pulled past us on our left. They were going at a pace we knew we could maintain, so we hopped on. With those 5 guys, we rotated around...pulling more people in a pace line behind us. Even I pulled for a good 5+ minutes. Figured I'd put in my dues since I was sucking wheel. When I rotated back, I got a couple of "good jobs" from the guys in rotation. Right before we pulled into Eatonville, there was a small hill climb. The group kind of broke up there...

When we pulled into the first stop in Eatonville at about mile 32, I figured it was good time to use the restroom...and as I headed over, I walked by the food table...and they were offering scones. I'm not one who turns out delicious sweets...so I grabbed one and ate while I waited in line. :) We refilled out water bottles and were on the road again.

We left with three other riders. Two wearing RAMROD jerseys and one in an orange jersey. The first few miles, they were up ahead of us...and after passing groups left and right, we decided that we should bridge the gap up to them. Again, they seemed happy to pull...so the three of them rotated while I sucked wheel and Chris was behind me. Pretty sure there was a line of other riders behind him as well.

The three guys pretty much pulled us into the next stop at Wildwood (mile 55). This was the stop Chris and I had volunteered at last year. We both had some fruit (so good!!), a cookie and quarter of a bagel with peanut butter. I wrapped a cookie in a paper towel and stuck it in my jersey pocket. It was a yummy oatmeal cookie and figured it might taste better than my Clif bars.

We knew the climbing was going to start, so we headed out and didn't wait for any other groups. Surprisingly my legs were still feeling okay. Not a bad sign. The two of us rode solo at this point. A few miles after Wildwood was the Mt. Rainier Nat'l Forest entrance. It was absolutely beautiful! Riding through a forest canopy...perfectly paved roads...winding through the trees.

I knew the first climb was the longest. Not too steep, but a steady long climb. My legs were up for the task. I kept my heart rate in the low 150s. Chris rode behind me and stuck with me. It was starting to warm up, but after doing multiple long rides exposed in the LA heat, this wasn't too bad. We rode past scenic stops we were already familiar with...creeks, waterfalls and bridges we had visited a few winters ago. Towards the end of the climb, I pulled out my oatmeal cookie...that by this point was a warm, soggy mess. I kind of knew this was going to happen. Putting a cookie against my sweating, hot back wasn't a great idea....but it still tasted good! Chris and i were able to pass quite a few riders on the climb...and only got passed by two guys who were moving pretty well. When we crested, I shifted to the big ring..and my chain fell. I got off my bike, fixed it...and then rode the 1/2 mile to the next stop at Inspiration Point.

Inspiration Point (mile 73) had a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier. We filled up our water, took a couple photos and were on our way. I was happy to finally be at the halfway point of the day!! And knowing that the next few miles were downhill was reassuring.

This was our first real descent of the day...and it was fun! Large, sweeping turns that even I could manage without braking. On our way down, we had to make an unplanned stop to take a photo at Reflection Lake. As we were descending, it was tough to keep my eyes on the road and not look over my left shoulder to enjoy the gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier. On one of the hairpin turns on the descent, I started hearing this crumbling sound in my right ear. I thought maybe I was going so fast that my bib number was rustling in the wind? After I made the turn, I looked back and saw a dust cloud right above me. Turns out some rocks had fallen just as we were passing. Thankfully they didn't hit me...and I don't think anyone else was hit.

At the bottom of the beautiful descent was the next stop – Upper Box Canyon (mile 88). We stopped and reset ourselves. Filled our bellies with yummy chocolate croissants (I had seen photos of these and was looking forward to them!) and fruit. We also used this stop to refill our Perpetuem and re-sunscreen ourselves. I was still feeling good at this point....though my bum was starting to complain just a little. And I was a little anxious...anticipating the climbs that were to come...and a little sad that the descent was so quickly over. Over an hour of climbing for just a quick little descent....I guess it was still worth it.

After leaving the stop, it was a "short' 3-mile climb up Backbone ridge, then another fun descent with even more sweeping turns. The roads inside the park were perfectly paved...and with no cars, I really felt comfortable letting the brakes go on the descent. It was SO much fun.

Soon enough, though, the climbing started up again. At about mile 94, we started our last climb into Cayuse Pass. This one was tough. It was warming up, so I unzipped my jersey. I kept a steady effort...trying, again, to keep my HR in the low 150s. A long 9-mile climb at about the century point of the ride...is pretty mentally tough! Had to remember to keep eating and drinking...and just keep pedaling.

I was SO happy when we hit the water stop at mile 99. It was a perfectly placed stop! I unclipped, leaned over my bike...and the volunteer refilled my bottle with ice. The race organizers were well prepared for the heat. They stocked up this aid station with lots of ice and even socks full of ice. The volunteer handed me a sock...I stuck it around my neck..and didn't know what to do with it. He told me I could stick it down the back of my jersey during the rest of the climb. What a great idea! The volunteer then let me know that I was the third woman they'd seen. While I knew this wasn't a race, it still lifted my spirits a bit to know I was riding relatively well. I asked him how many more miles to the top...and they said 4...which was less than the 5-6 I had in my head, so that was even more reassuring!

Since it was warm and the sweat was starting to bead and drip down our faces, we kept the sunglasses on our helmets. These last 4 miles were tough...especially because at this point, my Garmin was only showing me the mile markers and not each tenth of a mile (since we were over 100 miles at this point). It made each mile feel interminably longer. Up a few switchbacks and up a few long stretches...I finally turned a corner and could see a white tent not more than half a mile away. I was so thankful! We pulled into this stop, I dropped my ice-filled sock and we were back on our way downhill. I was so happy to know that most of the climbing was over!!

Another fun, long descent down the mountain...and soon enough it was mile 112 and we were pulling into the deli stop. As we were coming in, Chris turned to me and asked me if I was ready to run a marathon...hmm...not likely! In any case, I let him know that in fact, it would be another 4 miles until I would actually be running a marathon!

This stop was the made-to-order-sandwich stop. We both got simple cheese sandwiches, grabbed some chips and fruit and saw some fellow riders gathered in the shade under the trees. We joined them...and the group included the two RAMROD and one orange jersey guy. We all bonded over talks of the ride. This was the first time we were sitting (not on our saddles!) all day. It felt pretty good. My bum at this point was feeling hot...so I reapplied some glide at this stop. Instead of lingering around and just hanging out with the group, Chris and I decided to refill our bottles and get going. There weren't any other groups leaving, so it was just the two of us riding together. Just 40 more miles!!

The first 10-20 miles out of the deli stop were just fine. Nice long stretches of flat or descending terrain on decent roads. I was anticipating some headwind after reading previous ride reports...but the wind didn't seem to be too bad (or darting behind Chris really helped!).

Then the misery began. Once we left the park, the smooth roads disappeared and it was nothing but chip seal. We had another 20-ish miles to go...and there was some headwind, heat...and lots of chip seal. My bum was getting tired (the glide didn't help!)...and my hands were getting tired from the bumpiness of the chip seal...and both of my big toes were starting to get hot and uncomfortable. We were riding on the shoulder and occasionally, I'd veer a little left towards the car lane...and immediately feel the jarring bounciness of the rumble strip. That invisible rumble strip was pure evil! Thankfully Chris was still feeling pretty good. He pulled long stretches and I pulled a few shorter stretches here and there. With just the two of us, we were still making good progress and I was eagerly counting down the miles.

With about 15 miles to go, we were eagerly awaiting the next aid station...but to our dismay there wasn't one. We hadn't memorized the course, so didn't realize there wasn't a planned stop after the deli stop. It was quite surprising...since it was another good 40 miles of riding...during the hottest part of the day. I couldn't stomach my Perpetuem at this point...and we were both running low on water. With about 10 miles to go, Chris finished his and I shared some of mine.

Thankfully the last 10 miles were a net downhill into Enumclaw. I was just praying that my Garmin had the right mileage and that we were closing in on the end of the ride.

I pulled one last stretch along one of the main highways...and we pulled into an intersection where the police directed us through. We rode straight through....and pulled into the next intersection where the policeman directed us left....and there it was....the finish!!

I pumped my left fist...and rode up to the finish. Volunteers and spectators were there to cheer us on. The announcer called out our names...and let us know that we were in the top 50 finishers and indeed I was the third female.
What would you do differently?:

Absolutely nothing.
Post race
Warm down:

As soon as I crossed, I stopped and got off the bike. We walked our bikes over to the racks..and headed toward the food and the shade. Had some chips and fruit...and ice cream! I felt pretty disgusting. Hot, sweaty...with salt crystals all over. We were both surprised that it was only 3pm and that we had finished so quickly. Chris thought it was going to be a 10-hour ride, but it was only 8.5. and we had told his Mom to come get us at about 5pm. She was quite surprised when we called her!

While we waited, I decided to get a quick 15 minute massage. I felt bad for the masseuse...as I hadn't really wiped down, so my skin was full of dirt and salt crystals. The massage felt good, but wasn't as strong as I normally like.

Once Chris's mom and Christina arrived, we hung around a little more before heading off.




Last updated: 2015-08-01 12:00 AM
Biking
08:38:48 | 149 miles | 17.23 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance:
Wind: Some
Course: Beautiful ride around Mt. Rainier
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2015-08-01 5:35 PM


6

Subject: RAMROD


2015-08-04 2:06 PM
in reply to: #5132485

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Subject: RE: RAMROD

Great job! sounds like an epic, beautiful ride! 

 

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