For the Fall 600 km brevet, we were asked to provide a fitting finale to a season that carried the motto "Return to the Mountains". SIR riders have come a long way in recent years - when the course of this year's Spring 600 was first used, the DNF rate was high. This year, almost everybody made it. With SIR riders (and visitors) riding so strong, we decided to provide a course that will challenge all riders.
The route combines a lot of favorite roads. It is very scenic - you get to visit Mount Rainier several times, and you'll ride into the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens. You could call it "Ramrod++", and there is no lottery to get in! Here is the preliminary route:
0. Start in Enumclaw.
1. Follow Ramrod route to Eatonville, Elbe, Mt. Rainier.
2. Climb to Paradise
3. Descend to Ohanapecosh (with Backbone Ridge as a "bonus" climb)
4. Ride to Packwood and on to Randle
5. Climb up to Windy Ridge (we may cut the last few miles past Independence Pass, which feature giant rollers)
6. Turn around, return to Randle, Packwood
7. Climb White Pass
8. Overnight at Rimrock Lake (as in Spring 600)
9. Descend toward Yakima
10. Climb Chinook Pass
11. Descend to Cayuse Pass
12. Descend toward Enumclaw
13. Climb up to Sunrise Point
14. Turn around, ride to Enumclaw
2, 5, 7, 10 and 13 are major climbs.
The final course will be determined after we have ridden the route. We may cut the Sunrise portion, even though riders riding through the night will reach Sunrise around sunrise, with a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier. This also would be the first time an SIR brevet goes over 6000 ft in elevation. (For out-of-towners, consider we start at sea level.) If we cut this portion, we may instead go all the way to Windy Ridge, and perhaps add a little jog in the apple orchards towards Yakima to make up the distance.
It will be a challenging ride, but we feel it's doable for experienced randonneurs. All the roads are paved and in decent shape. Even though there are quite a few climbs (and long ones at that), none are ultra-steep. Navigation will be easy, although we plan to use some sideroads between Packwood and Randle to get off the highway. It will be a lot of fun!
Jan and Ryan