On Saturday, I headed down to Marymoor Park and the Redmond-Sammamish-Issaquah part of the world for this epic climb-fest. Put on jointly (sorta) by Native Planet and Cascade Bicycle Club, the ride tops out at only 1,330 feet or so but features killer sections that climb 650 feet in 1.5 miles, 530 feet in little more than a mile, etc. Over and over again. My Garmin regularly told me I was climbing 12-, 14-percent pitches, even said 21-percent on one section and I believe it. Steep stuff. I've never pedaled my tiniest gear so much before. Above is the top of the Pinnacles climb on the west side of Cougar Mountain which affords super views of Seattle, Puget Sound and the Olympics.
And of course what goes up steeply and slowly has to come down just as steep, but much more speedily. Right now, just two months out from collarbone surgery I'm not too keen on riding fast and thus would get dropped on the descents. (Even the one where I hit 41.1 miles-per-hour!)
I rode the half-century, ended being 54.5 miles with 5,300 feet of climbing. I started out with the brisk group (there was also a super-strenuous and moderate groups) but on a long descent at about the 25-mile mark, myself and about four of us lost contact with our group. Luckily, we found the SS group just a few minutes later and latched on to them. In the process though, I missed out on one climb and about 3.5 miles. Fortunately, I was able to hang on with the super-strenuous folks 'til the end of the ride--I don't know the area very well so I was determined not to lose contact. Great fun. Super workout. Just a hair under four hours of riding time.