As I've posted here before, my "challenge" goal this year was to ride the "Tour de Blast" - the annual 82-mile ride from Toutle, Washington, up to the observatory overlooking the crater on Mt. St. Helens. Basically 41 miles up, 41 miles back.
First, the bad news: I lost my Garmin (it fell off when I was going over a bridge, I think it fell off the side cause i couldn't find it). So no ride stats (I was averaging 11.4 mph when I got to the top, which included many climbing miles at 7 mph. I was averaging 13 mph with 20 miles to go; the last 20 miles were downhill to flattish, I was going about 39 mph down the mountain when I lost the Garmin...so you do the math on my final speed). The organizers claim there are about 6,240 feet of climbing on the ride, most of which occurs from mile 11 to mile 42.
Second, the great news: what a fantastic ride! Great weather (55-ish at the start, 75 as a high...no rain or snow, as in past years). I'm really excited that this was such a great ride; 18 months ago when I got back on my bike this would have killed me.
Without further ado, the pics:
Plaque at a rest stop showing the route -- basically from the town of Toutle, just off I-5, up the memorial highway that was built after the volcano eruption (for those of you outside the area...this is roughly half-way between Portland and Seattle. It's a must-see if you're visiting either city in the summer. The road is closed in the winter).
First really good view of the star of the show (note: by "star", I mean the volcano, not the butt in front of me).
This valley was inundated with mud after the eruption...the forest you see has all grown since the volcano erupted.
My bike waiting for its turn in the porta potty.
The last climb toward the end was the steepest - 6 miles of 8 to 10% grade, with a fair amount of wind at the top. These mountaintops were all blasted bare by the eruption.