It’s so hard right? You’re cranking along at your day job with lots of hours and sometimes cool projects among balancing life and all those rooftop IPA evening events with your bro’s. Then along comes a challenge. Not a ridiculous challenge that is totally out of reach, but something that’s just beyond normal grasp. This is the type that is even more enticing as you play with the idea of completion, over and over in your mind.
Summary : 133miles, 15,000ft of climbing on some of the most beautiful and challenging roads around Mt.Hood Oregon. This single day event brought a few mechanical’s and a lost rider but that’s part of the challenge of long days and chasing high elevations
For us (a crew of rag tag riders), this year’s Rapha Rising was exactly that sort of life situation and challenge that we needed (?). With the goal of 15,000 vertical feet spread out over a month it’s doable, but… A couple of chaps at Stages (power meter company) who were determined to complete the challenge started mapping out what it would take to do this in one day.
Yep, that’s 15k feet in one day – that’s a lot of going up and a long way for most normal cycling folks out there. After fifteen or so route iterations they came up with a route which balanced the ups and the downs, good climbs with proper timed descents for recovery. Throw in a few strategically placed services for water and food and, to top it off, roads along spectacular less traveled routes with amazing views not just laps on your local 1,500ft climb. The route was essentially a 360degree loop around Mt. Hood, and hit some of the lesser known mountain roads, a lot of which were from this ride. But also took in about 12miles of road ride-able gravel, as it’s hard to plan a ride on hood without a little G.
Fast forward to the day, Sat July 15th, start time 7am at Government Camp, bodies dragged themselves out of cars knowing that there was no escape on this route – “one and done” as they say. Bottles filled and tons and tons of sports bars and snacks crammed stretched jersey pockets shrouded by lightweight gillets. A chilly start at that elevation but the first 2k climb to Timberline had us warmed up in no time.
see the route here:
Climb #1 -West Leg up, the air was chilled and fresh at 7am. The younger chaps hammered it. I bide my time, its a long day and the mind flicks to the strategy of survival ahead knowing that you have to make this and there is no way out.
The Lolo (NF1810) gravel is short in distance and generally pretty light, certainly ridable on a roadbike taking caution in deeper sections. The road twist and turns eventually opening out to old logging areas.
The odd mechanical : Anthony’s derailleur managed to remove it’self from the bicycle, sheared right off the hanger during the gravel section of Lolo Pass. Unfortunately he had to cut the route short, but in true hardman style he endured the steep grades of NF16 to make the route back.
This guy and his superlight tubes 🙂 .Sticky bottles and support vehicles – there was none of that in this tour de hood. Bennett is outta luck.
Climb #3 leads to Lost Lake, probably the most photographed view in Oregon, and for a reason.
Vista Ridge (NF 16) – climb #4 and some amazing views from the ridge that overlooks the Northern area of Mt.Hood all the way towards the town of Dee and takes in view of Mt. Adams, WA
Zipping up through Parkdale’s orchards to views, before climbing Cooper Spur #5 – Make sure to load up on energy and visit the grocery store in Parkdale at mile 86.
Climb #6 (no picture) after Cooper Spur climbs up Hwy 35 North, and there’s a reason for no picture. This is a heads down and crank section. Two basic gradients over 11 miles, the first averages around 3% and the second around 4.5%. I have to say this is the most mundane climb up to Meadow’s Ski Resort. Bang it out and forget about it.
Late in the ride came climb #7, out this out and back jaunt on Rd 48 towards Tygh Valley was really not that bad, the elevation profile is stair stepped and gives you flats in between to recover, but at this stage a requirement to get the elevation needed.
Normally this place is full of snow – White River area just after the 7th major climb of the day on the SW side of Mt. Hood
The last gasps of elevation – we took to some gravel via a detour that routes us off Hw26 and down and a round Trillium lake, by this time (7pm) the crowds are thinning out and it’s just the idiots on all day bike rides.
Zipping around Trillium and cranking back towards Timberline road, the car is just around the corner, but we are 600ft short of our goal, so close. A climb up West Leg is called for to make up the elevation difference.
Boom. The face of done, so done. Thanks Rapharising 2017, until 2018.