My First RAMROD Training Ride! (and Pie!)

Ruben *finally* convinced me to go on a RAMROD training series ride today (ride 8 to Snohomish). Anthony met us over there. All three of us had our PPTM shirts on.

Ruben jumped off with the Rabbits (not the Bunnies as I tried to call them, and that Just Will Not Do). Anthony and I held back. Note: if you go on one of these rides, Per the ride leader is VERY strict about the safety rules.

I still am slower than most on the hills, but I felt like I held my own with the “last” group on the flats. Around mile 40 I wound up petering out up a hill and lost the group (I think it was a food energy issue – I just bonked). I still had them in my sights, but they were about 1/4 mile ahead of me.

Then I saw Ruben on the side of the road with a flat. So I pulled off an helped him. We go the flat fixed, but we were way behind and by the time we got to Snohomish – no one from the group was left. I insisted on Pie – you *can’t* bike to Snohomish and not get the pie. So we had a quick lunch and popped back on the road to hit the headwind.

It was brutal. Probably 15 mph. Big flags waving in the wind. Against us.

Anyway, Ruben was a great pull and we managed to make some good time. But Ruben’s tire was looking flat again. At one point we pulled over and I pumped it up using my pump.

And the tip of the Presta valve popped off when I pulled off my pump.

Meaning another tire change. I felt bad. Ruben was frustrated.

The other frustration (for me) was the horrible stomach ache I got last 15 miles of the ride I think because of the the turkey sandwich. But I pushed on. We skipped the last stop and made it back by about 4:00. There were still folks in the parking lot so I didn’t feel too terrible.

Meanwhile Anthony thought he was behind us, and was pushing hard to catch up, not realizing that he was actually ahead of us. He finished about 45 minutes before us, but also didn’t stop at the last rest stop. He apparently heard the tire tail of woe from folks who passed Ruben on the side of the road. Also Bill(?) from Microsoft had said that I had fallen back (he had passed me) but that I told him about the Pie, so Anthony helped out by showing him where the Pie company was. The shirts came in handy by folks noticing we were together and relaying info up the route.

Stats: 78.5 miles, 6:34 total time, 5:28 ride time, average speed 14.4. My legs feel MUCH better than after the 11+ hills of Kirkland 2 weeks ago. Oh and I should mention this is after a 11.4 mile run yesterday too.

WOOT! I survived. Thanks Ruben and Anthony!

RAMROD Training Ride #1

RAMROD No1Today was the first of the RAMROD training ride series and given the gorgeous weather the turnout was large. There were around 80+ people doing the ride to day. Which started from Ron Regis Park, cut through Renton to the Green River Trail, headed south to Auburn, looped back through Maple Valley, and went straight back to Renton. The ride had 1000 feet of elevation gain and was just a great warm up ride.

The bike felt great and the tailwinds on some sections of the road made the trip really fast. Despite training through the winter some of the hills were steeper then I had trained for, as with every climb uphill you get a nice downhill too. The group was nice and social and its interesting to hear why various people are riding this particular series. I was explaining to my son that the reason this crowd is interesting to bike with is that they were mostly interested in competing with themselves as opposed to each other. All in all it was a great start to the hills part of the training series.

Obligatory Stats:

RAMROD 2007 Trip Report

Ruben at RAMROD 2007 MBGood evening ride fans,

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.

Ruben at RAMROD 2007 2A photo from the peak wearing Pastry Powered:

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.

Food notes:
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 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.


Cascade RAMROD 7Good Morning Ride Fans,

Saturday morning found Greg and myself up at 6:45 am and driving towards Lakemont to the start of the ride. The hill climb up Lakemont is daunting because as you are driving up the steep hill, you realize the only way home at the end of the ride will involve you climbing it again to get to the car. The sprinkles while we were loading the car were making us wonder if this ride were a good idea, but by the time we got to the ride start everything is partly sunny and dry. The ride was a 100 mile loop south to Enumclaw via Ravensdale and back up to Lakemont via Black Diamond and Factoria. The ride leader was especially cruel in that he specifically chose side routes that had the steepest/ugliest/gnarliest hills I have ever seen on a ride. The majority of them were relatively short, but to end the ride on a 1200 foot climb is just not nice.

The only things of note were that for the first time this season my inner leg cramped while I was in the 95th mile and I realized I was just pushing to hard for too long. I was doing a paceline with a bunch of young’uns who were leading it out at 22-25MPH pacelines which was a little beyond my capacity (at least for 100 miles). Luckily some of my compatriot riders realized the same and we ended up taking the last hill at our own pace. Fortunately, the cramping disappeared after a mile of riding (slower) and standing up and stretching on my bike. It was intense enough I was worried it was going to lock up my right leg and cause me to fall off my bike.

I still want Lauren’s triple for RAMROD, but I was able to slog out some very steep hills on my double.

Greg was a trooper in that he did the entire ride using a very heavy bike, and large tires which put him completely out of drafting zone of the rest of the group. That said he soldiered through the entire ride and we were both able to get back in time to do kid duty and let Lauren and Elizabeth go out for a ride.

Obligatory trip stats:
104Miles, 7700 feet of elevation gain. 15.9mph base

5 _very_ steep multiple mile ascents.

RAMROD – CTS Training Series

MotionBased CTS RAMROD BellevueMan I am glad I went biking yesterday as opposed to today.

As I managed to get myself a ticket for RAMROD, I am currently trying to get a lot of long hills in on my rides. Fortunately, Cascade Bicycling has a Saturday morning ride for people training for RAMROD.

The ride (70 miles, 5000ft) yesterday was gorgeous and took me downs some roads and parts of Bellevue that I had never ridden through. The weather was perfect, as it was partly cloudy and appropriately cool on the uphill and warm on the flats. The faster part of the ride was when we formed a pace-line for the final stretch from Maltby back to Marymoor park. Unusually, I was borrowing Lauren’s bike today which was _REALLY_ good since she had a triple which I had to use once on a particularly nasty uphill, and had the nice psychological effect of knowing I had a bail-out gear if I really needed it. In talking about this with the other bikers, I was able to get from most people that a triple would be a good thing to have esp at 6500 feet 🙂

The interesting part is that every stop people mentioned other interesting rides to do like the Bluett ride today, and another ride called the “Death Ride”. I will let you read the details for that here:

-Ruben ” Back to your regularly scheduled memorial day weekend …. ” Ortega