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Old 08-27-08, 09:42 PM   #1
Fixitman
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High Pass Challange

Who's doing it this year?
I will be there as long as it's not pouring down rain. Just no way I will drive 3 hours one way, pay for gas & hotel to ride 100+ miles in the rain & cold. I would rather just eat the entry fee.
If the forcast turns to crap that Sunday I will make someone a heck of a deal on the entry fee
I realy did enjoy most of the ride last year. It was a little cold, but I will be better prepared for that this year...Can you say lobster claw gloves?
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Old 08-27-08, 11:52 PM   #2
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I'm signed up. I'm nursing a sprained ankle but will due a metric century this weekend to see how it does. (From looking at the route map, it also looks like I could turn around before going all the way up to Windy Ridge and cut about 22 miles of the route...stilll a pretty fair ride, at least in my book...)

Can you comment on the scenery? I heard it was cold last year; and I've heart it was tough, but I haven't heard it described as scenic, though I can't imagine that it wouldn't be some pretty country to ride through.
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Old 08-28-08, 12:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Fixitman View Post
Who's doing it this year?
I will be there as long as it's not pouring down rain. Just no way I will drive 3 hours one way, pay for gas & hotel to ride 100+ miles in the rain & cold. I would rather just eat the entry fee.
If the forcast turns to crap that Sunday I will make someone a heck of a deal on the entry fee
I realy did enjoy most of the ride last year. It was a little cold, but I will be better prepared for that this year...Can you say lobster claw gloves?
I'm signed up this year. Haven't ridden very much since RAMROD so there may be some pain involved. I will probably blow it off if it really looks like rain. Could be snow at Windy Ridge that time of year.

I saw an announcement that they were reducing the rider limit from 800 to 600 because of some issue with the park service and that the last 11 miles to the top are closed to cars this year. Should be a fun ride.
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Old 08-28-08, 02:16 AM   #4
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i'm still not sure if i'm gonna do it.. i'm doing a 600k brevet the next weekend, which is gonna be really taxing. oddly enough the 600k covers most of the same roads as the HPC, so i'll get to see the route either way!

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I saw an announcement that they were reducing the rider limit from 800 to 600 because of some issue with the park service and that the last 11 miles to the top are closed to cars this year. Should be a fun ride.
yeah from what i've seen there are boulders on the road in places: http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/HelensTrip.html





the views are great! the forest leading up to the blast zone and the higher elevations is really dense and lush from what i recall. and the blast zone looks awesome, as you can see above.

the views are supposed to be nice atop of windy ridge, but last year we were basically in the clouds, and it was so cold i just wanted to get back down! i had a vest and half-finger gloves, and was freezing on the way down!!

for anyone doing this ride for the first time, you'll want to pack for cold weather at the top for sure. last year i saw people wrapping toilet paper around their fingers to put under their gloves, and stuffing it in their jerseys - that little bathroom was quite the scene!
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Old 08-28-08, 08:38 AM   #5
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Same day as the 100km Mountain Populaire, which is free and I can ride to the start. Money's tight so I'm sticking to the close rides this fall.
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Old 08-28-08, 10:27 AM   #6
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I'm signed up. I'm nursing a sprained ankle but will due a metric century this weekend to see how it does. (From looking at the route map, it also looks like I could turn around before going all the way up to Windy Ridge and cut about 22 miles of the route...stilll a pretty fair ride, at least in my book...)

Can you comment on the scenery? I heard it was cold last year; and I've heart it was tough, but I haven't heard it described as scenic, though I can't imagine that it wouldn't be some pretty country to ride through.
I drove the course the day before the ride. The scenery is quite nice, but I did not take much of it in the day of the ride. I have pictures somewhere from last year. I will post them if I can locate them.

Yes it was cold last year. Mostly the last 11 miles up to Windy ridge that are not sheltered at all. It was blowing pretty good up at windy ridge and very cold. The descent was a bit cool due to the fact that you were traveling along pretty fast, but that was nothing compared to what it was like at the top. There were a lot of people huddled in the bathroom at the top just so they could get out of the wind.

For me the last part of the ride was the most grueling. The "scenic country road" was some of the roughest chip seal I have ran across. It made that part of the ride a lot of work. It did not help that I was pushing it to try to make good time. I am sure if I had just sort of cruised along that part would have been more enjoyable.
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Old 08-29-08, 01:24 PM   #7
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I am signed up, the same goes for me if it rains i bail. What sucks though is i broke the frame on my super light climbing bike last sunday and will have to do it on my 22 plus pound Surly Cross Check. But you know what they say it's not the bike its the legs. See you all up there Jim
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Old 08-30-08, 12:33 PM   #8
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I am signed up, the same goes for me if it rains i bail. What sucks though is i broke the frame on my super light climbing bike last sunday and will have to do it on my 22 plus pound Surly Cross Check. But you know what they say it's not the bike its the legs. See you all up there Jim
That does suck, but not as bad as it's going to suck by the end of the ride

If the weather was too cold I was going to do it on my touring bike so I could carry enough extra clothes. I have never weighed that bike, but it is a heavy sucker.

Looking at the extended forecast it is supposed to be low of 50 and high of 75 in Packwood that day. I have not been able to find anything that shows the temperature at 4500 feet. I am guessing 10 to 15 degrees cooler plus the wind chill factor at windy ridge. Figuring most people will hit the top around 11:00 I would make a guess that it will be about 50 degrees this year. Which would be about 10 degrees warmer than last year!

Speaking of the top. I just got my cue sheet. It says that no riders will be allowed through the gate just past Bear Meadows after 11:00 am. So if you get a late start you may have to hustle and not hang out at the rest / food stops too long. Shoot I usually do my 50 mile training ride with 5500’ of climbing in 4.5 hours with pee breaks & water stops. Looks like I may need to step it up a notch to be on the safe side.

I don't know why they are doing it that way. There will be some people who maybe wanted to take it slow and enjoy the ride, and some others that will have to go slow due to conditioning. So apparently they end up getting turned away at the gate.

Oh yea and those of you looking forward to that t-shirt ... Forget about it you get a hat this year.

Just found this. I don’t think it was there yesterday.
Pre-Ride Party!
Don't miss the HPC Pre-Ride party and dinner at the Blue Spruce Saloon in Packwood on Saturday Sept. 6 at 6p.m.
The Blue Spruce features the best burgers in the county plus award winning steaks and other awesome entrée's all served up with a smile. HPC riders get 10% off total bill if they mention the High Pass Challenge when ordering.*
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Old 09-01-08, 09:21 AM   #9
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Looking at the extended forecast it is supposed to be low of 50 and high of 75 in Packwood that day. I have not been able to find anything that shows the temperature at 4500 feet.
This is a weather report from some location called "Spencer Meadows" near Mt. St. Helens. It's much higher altitude than any of the towns around; it's the closest report I've been able to find for Mt. St. Helens/Windy Ridge.

Looking good for next weekend...

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/forecast/Map...x=183&map.y=71
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Old 09-05-08, 04:54 PM   #10
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Weather is looking perfect for Sunday! from the noaa website:
Sunny, with a high near 74. North northeast wind between 6 and 8 mph.
Now if I can just ditch this cold I've had all week...
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Old 09-05-08, 05:48 PM   #11
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I'm planning to be there, at least at the start. My ankle is swollen after last week's metric but I should at least be able to get to the Bear Creek gate, which looks like 90 miles (40 miles to there, then further on the route back). Will go for the full route if I'm feeling good at the turn-back point...
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Old 09-05-08, 10:22 PM   #12
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Just finished packing the bag and cleaning up the bike. Just have to throw everything in the truck tomorow and hit the road.
Weather is looking great. Should be a good ride .. see you all there.
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Old 09-07-08, 10:44 PM   #13
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Great ride...terrific weather.

Some scary descents, though, on some pretty questionable road surfaces....

I posted my ride report over in the Old Folks' Home:
Personal best bike ride today: 112 miles, 7400 feet of climbing
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Old 09-08-08, 10:58 AM   #14
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+1, awesome route and absolutely perfect weather. I was a bit worried about how I was going to feel, since I was sick enough to stay home in bed wednesday and thursday, but was recovered enough to keep up with my riding partner. I felt pretty good most of the day, but by mile 90, I definitely felt like my lungs weren't as "deep" as usual and I had to dig pretty deep to keep up the last hour. Our official time was 6:36, but we missed the 7 am start, so our actual time was about 10 min faster. [The announcer at the finish line was calling out people's times and finishing order, then came on to say "I've just been reminded that this is not a race... just a ride with a clock where we keep track of what order people finish in." ]


The road up through the blast zone


Me at the turnaround, Mt. St. Helens crater behind. Looking pretty good for a guy who couldn't get out of bed three days ago!

The road surfaces were a bit of everything. On the "closed" section at the top, good road but lots of gravel; below independence pass - practically perfect for a good ways, then very scary the rest of the way, especially with the contrast difference between shade and sun making every curve an adventure. OTOH, the dreaded chipseal sections in the last 30 miles were much better than I had imagined based on other reports.

Since everyone loves graphs and maps, here's a couple:




This was the first organized charity ride I've ever done. It was pretty fun to do it with the atmosphere of the event, but I think the next time I do this ride, I'll just go do it unsupported and save my $80.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:50 PM   #15
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Great ride...terrific weather.

Some scary descents, though, on some pretty questionable road surfaces....

I posted my ride report over in the Old Folks' Home:
Personal best bike ride today: 112 miles, 7400 feet of climbing
Did you end up doing the full meal deal or cutting it short like you talked about. More importantly how is the ankle feeling?

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I posted my ride report over in the Old Folks' Home:


So.. My ride report. First of all you could not have asked for better weather. The arm warmers and leg warmers were all ditched at the first water stop.
Sorry, I did not take pictures this year as I was trying to get in by 2:00. Unfortunately I missed my goal by 15 minutes. Watch out next year

The roads were pretty much about the same as last year save for the boulders several miles past the gate up to windy ridge and of course the fissures in that same section of road that you could easily bury a wheel in. As others have said you really had to keep a sharp eye out on the descent with the filtered sunlight through the trees. The only accident on the ride to my knowledge was between a car and a motorcycle. Has anyone who did the ride heard how the motorcycle rider faired?

The scenery was once again breathtaking. This year you could actually see the mountain when you got to windy ridge. The wind at the top was also pretty mild this year. If one had the time it would have actually been pleasant to hang out up there for a while. As many of you know last year it was miserable at the top.

The food stops were well stocked again this year. I have to confess here that I broke a cardinal rule this year. That's the one that says never try anything new. They had those nunn electrolyte tablets at all the stops. I tried the strawberry first. That seemed to go okay. Someone at the food stop told me how good the cola flavor was so I tried it next .. bad idea. Had a stomach ache for several miles after that.

On the last 15 miles after you get back onto the highway myself and four other riders formed up a nice little pace line. I usually don't do pace lines, but with the head wind we were fighting it was a nice relief every time I dropped off the front.

All and all a great ride and I got done early enough this year that I was able to ride back to the hotel. Pick up the wife and the dog and hang out at the finish line party for a while. It was a nice touch this year that they were calling out the riders names and their times ( based off a 7am start time ) as they finished.

Well that’s all my disconnected ramblings on the ride for now

Last edited by Fixitman; 09-08-08 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:09 PM   #16
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Did you end up doing the full meal deal or cutting it short like you talked about. More importantly how is the ankle feeling?
Sounds like you had a great ride (and a much faster time than mine...).

I did the full ride. My ankle didn't hurt much during the ride and is ok, though a little swollen, today.
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