Rode a kind of RAMROD Jr. today. Eighty miles with 6,000 feet of elevation gain including the climb to Paradise (el. 5,400 feet) and the one over near Stevens Canyon that climbs to about 3,500 feet. Only Cayuse Pass was missing. As well as about 75 other miles. (Click here to read about my epic bonk on Cayuse two years ago.)
Still, it was plenty tough. Rode it all on my own. From Packwood, where I was on the road at 5:45 a.m. if you can believe it, I headed northwest via Skate Creek Road and the Nisqually entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Saw many elk along the way but hardly any cars, which was great.
From Nisqually, thus began the 17-mile climb to Paradise which isn't super duper steep, just long. Along the way, I kept imagine the juicy something-or-other I'd get to eat at the visitor center cafeteria once I made it to the top. Alas, it hadn't opened yet; I left so early I made it to Paradise by 9:30. From there, the screaming-fun descent that goes on and on into Stevens Canyon. Probably my all-time favorite road bike descent. Had to stop a few times for photos--saw a big mama bear and two cubs and just above is Reflection Lake. Rainier is truly an amazing place!
Next up, Tour de Whatcom this Saturday.