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joie de vivre in Hundred Acre Woods is doing 27 things including…

Successfully complete the High Pass Challenge

13 cheers


joie de vivre has written 6 entries about this goal

How it went:

4:00 Woke up
5:00 Realized I wouldn’t get back to sleep, got dressed and ready
5:30 Got to the diner for breakfast, which was overwhelmed with riders; finally got food at 6:23. Can’t imagine what everyone did who got there later.
6:35 Got in line for package pick-up
7:00 And we’re off!
7:50 Arrived in Randle. Last time I did the ride, I was in a pelaton the whole way. This time…I’m so out of practice with pacelining. I would get into one, lose focus, and then get dropped. I finally gave up, and rode alone.
8:15 Started to rain. A misty, light, Pacific Northwest rain. First rain we’ve had in five weeks. Continued riding through green, mossy douglas fir forests – up and down, up and down.
9:00 Arrived at the first rest stop, Iron Creek. It was really too long for a first rest stop for me, and I was running on empty. I ate a banana (and a spare for the pocket), had a vanilla goo, drank a bottle of water, refilled water and electrolyte, peed, and got back on the bike.

The climb begins. It’s not as bad as I remember, but since I last attempted this ride, I have ridden over Cayoosh Pass, I have climbed the Monshees. It’s up, but it’s not impossibly up.

10:15 or so. It stops raining. I realize I am only part-way up the climb. My goal of reaching “the gate” by this time is clearly ridiculous. I eat my pocketed banana while riding.

I start to see Gold Medal finishers descend, the other way.

10:50 Water stop. I have another goo, drink another bottle of water, and refill them both.

I eat an entire package of blocks and swill water while climbing.

11:30 or so. Bear Meadows. I realize that they took down the gate here. I am here one hour later than I had planned.

At this point we’re in the Mt. St. Helens blast zone. It’s no longer lush green doug fir forests. Where there would have been forest, it’s a combo of sliver trunks and young trees. But it’s mostly above the tree line, and the air has a strong alpine spruce scent.

Now, it’s big swoopy downhills, and grinding uphills. I’m running on fumes. I told myself that I would turn around at noon no matter what. But people coming the other way kept shouting encouragement: “Only another mile and a half!” “Only a half mile more!” “You’ll see it in 200 yards!”

12:10 I arrive at the high point, the end of the road. The volunteers greet me with enthusiasm. I have two turkey wraps and a half roast beef sandwich. It’s probably the clearest it’ll be all day. I chew my lunch and look out at the peak-a-boo view of the mountains. I eat four, count ‘em, four chocolate brownies, swilling them down with copious water. I refill the water bottle, and get back on the bike.

1:00 Now I’m doing the reverse of the up-and-downs. I am just crawling up a hill at 5 mph, and I calculate I have 5 miles left to Bear Meadows. Another hour. This is the low point of the ride for me.

And then, no more than probably 3 minutes after I make this calculation – it’s Bear Meadows! My figuring was totally off! I’ve just finished the last real climb of the ride.

Down down down. I try to keep my speed between 30 and 33 mph. Once or twice it got away from me and I got up to 35 or so. The descent is technical – lots of twists and turns, and the pavement is in bad shape in many place. You have to carefully select your line. I made one error, but I never lost control.

1:40 I’m back at Iron Creek. It took 40 minutes to descend what it took two and a half hours to climb. Oddly, I eat no solid food. None of it looks particularly appealing. I have a strawberry/banana smoothie, drink more electrolyte, and refill my bottles. Ten minutes, and I’m back on the bike.

3:00 I give myself a promised break. It’s not long now, and I realize that I have a shot at not just finishing, but a silver medal finish. I suck down a double-caffeinated “Espresso Love” goo and finish a bottle of water.

3:50 I’m over the finish line! They put a silver medal around my neck.

I ride straight to my car, which is at a motel a half mile down the road. I am crying. I never thought I could do this. I had hoped to complete the ride, but complete it in time to get a silver finish, I thought was impossible.

I throw the bike in the car, change my shoes, and motor back to the finish line. I get a well-deserved massage, then eat the free sausage and fixings you get at the end. A pair of “finisher” socks. Another smoothie – this one apple and greens.

By the time I got home, a 2.5 hour drive later, I was too tired to eat more. I just took a shower, loafed a bit, and went to sleep.

hardest ride of the season

I did a training ride today as my final hurrah before HPC. It was the hardest ride of the season. 93 miles.

Zoo Road is described elsewhere as, the toughest climb in the Seattle area. Ascending 1200 feet over 2.5 miles, it has an average grade of about 10%, with common gradients in 15% and some sections approaching 20%. This is not a climb to be approached lightly.

Or, as one rider noted, “Zoo Hill is the puke-inducing lactate-producing gasp-fest that I avoid unless taunted”

I did Zoo Road; I climbed up Inglewood Hill, a 12% grade; three times.

I am sitting on the sofa, zombified.

I’m also quite concerned, as this ride I did today is not as long as HPC, nor with as much elevation gain, nor at altitude.

I am now sort of dreading HPC. God. Well, if I actually do it, that will be awesome. We’ll see.

Registration purchased

I bought the registration, and I have a queen sized bed in some crappy motel in Packwood. I’m doing my final training ride on Sunday.

The ride is probably going to be 122 miles because of road construction. 7500 feet of elevation gain, with a technical descent. To be completed in 10.5 hours to get a finisher’s badge.

I am not planning to paceline with anyone. I am going to successfully complete this ride on my own.

on the site

I was on the Cascade site, and there it was, High Pass Challenge, $80 entry fee.

I couldn’t quite work up the courage to sign up. It’s just such a gnarly ride. Will I really be in good enough shape this fall to be able to complete this ride?

Giving up before it starts

There’s no way I have the time and energy to tackle this ride this year – I guess I’m postponing it to 2010.

Difference between "take the challenge" and "successfully complete" the Challenge

Last year, I wrote the goal as take the High Pass Challenge, and that’s what I did – I took it. But I wasn’t able to successfully complete the 114 mile course. Instead, I turned around before the summit, for 104 miles total.

This year, I want to complete the ride. I think I have the hill climbing cojones – now to prove my love!

joie de vivre has gotten 13 cheers on this goal.


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