I took some time off yesterday in the middle of a busy month to ride in the RAMROD 2007 event. Typically RAMROD is (Ride Around Mt Ranier in One Day), however due to the road closures from rainstorms this past winter they modified the route to be 3 out and backs starting from Enumclaw, up to Sunrise, down and up to Crystal Mountain and then up and back forest route 70.
The ride is advertised at 143 miles and 10K feet of elevation gain.
The ride start was at 5am in the dark, but with so many riders and the sky just starting to grow light there was a lot of safety in numbers and an endless chain or red blinking real lights from 300 (of 850) riders who started at that time. The slight uphill climb from Enumclaw to Mt Ranier was not that bad but you really didn’t need a jacket after the first 5 miles as it gets warm enough from the climbing.
The ride up to Mt Ranier and the arrival at the top is just gorgeous. Sunrise is a long 20 mile climb to get to the top, but the last mile is flat to slightly downhill pointing straight at Mt Ranier. After the endorphin high of 2 hours of climbing, (and being slightly out of breath at 6,000 feet) you feel fantastic free-wheeling into the food stop. The ride down was even better with a 20 mile ride down averaging 25-35 MPH the car traffic was light and all you really had to worry about was the crush of bicyclists still climbing up the mountain. If you only do this as your one hill of the day its worth the ride.
The climb up to Crystal is less notable only in that it is 6 miles of up, and 6 miles of back down. The road was really chewed up and I did lose a water bottle on some of the bumps coming down. The cruelest climb was Route 70 which was 10 mile out and back. At mile 5 of that section there is a 12 % grade and when you get to the top of it you think “Hey, I am done” but then you see a sign that says 12% grade downhill and you realize that not only do you have to go down, but when you turn around you will have to do a 12% grade coming back. Heading back towards the highway I didn’t have the heart to tell all the people heading out what they were getting themselves into.
The ride back to Enumclaw ended up having lots of headwinds, but by that point you just find a group of people to draft, and socialize with, and talk about your next ride. Its slightly downhill all the way back to Enumclaw so that compensated from some of the headwinds. I caught up with several people at the finish line including Mitchell (Linda’s husband) and several other riders, ending the ride at 3:20pm. After 10+ hours of riding I was done.
The most dangerous part of the trip was the drive home because I almost fell asleep at the wheel with some extra long blinking and fighting to stay awake as apparently I was more tired then I thought.
The food on the trip was excellent simply for the slight variety at every stop. Each stop (at the top of each climb) had the basics of Bagels, cookies, peanut butter, fruit and cream cheese. That said one stop had the little brown potatoes, another was entirely of chocolate croissants, another was a deli food sandwich and sodas, and the Finish line had an ice cream truck where you could pick out your bar of choice. (I chose the Oreo ice cream bar.) Given that my watch indicated I had burned 14,000 calories it was OK.
I highly recommend the ride and the support, and I look forward to when the route changes to actually circle Mt Ranier, which is when I will try to ride it again. Also, wearing the jersey people are starting to recognize pastrypowered.com from the other rides.
P.S. I have video of the view of Mt Ranier as you circle the top and ride in if you ever want to see it.