"A final decision has been made on the RAMROD 2009 course.
There is damage to Stevens Canyon road that will not be repaired in time for RAMROD. We will instead run a detour around that section of the Park by using Skate Creek Road.
With the new course, you will again start in Enumclaw at an altitude of about 723 ft. The ride will proceed as in prior years over flat terrain and rollers towards Eatonville, 32 miles. There will be a water stop, coffee and bakery items available there. The ride then proceeds towards the National Park until it reaches Ashford, which is at elevation 1833. A full food stop is provided at the Wildwood resort at about 55 miles in.
The ride then turns onto Skate Creek Road, which peaks at about 2600 ft. and then descend to a water stop in Packwood (78 miles, 1000 ft elevation). Riders then proceed east on US 12 and immediately start to climb. Turn left onto SR 123 and a food stop at about 85 miles and 1600 ft.
The ride continues north on SR 123, with a water stop at Deer Creek (98 miles, 3550 ft) and to Cayuse Pass (101, 4685). We then descend as usual to Crystal Road and the Deli food stop (110, 2858).
We then turn right and climb to the top of Crystal Road (116, 4365) and return by the same road to the Deli area. Riders have the option of stopping again for food and refreshment.
The ride then proceeds as usual to the finish at Enumclaw High School, again proceeding along Hy 410 to Mud Mountain Dam and then through local streets to the finish.
Total distance is about 160 miles and the amount of climbing is roughy equivalent to the traditional course. This is truly a RAMROD course.
While we will have to miss the Paradise area this year, Skate Creek Road is a beautiful place to ride a bike. The roads are for the most part in great condition and traffic should be less of an issue than usual.
We anticipate being able to return to the traditional course in 2010."
As a RAMROD rookie, I'm not certain what to make of this. I'm sure the scenery of Paradise would've been spectacular (assuming a clear day), but maybe this route will be easier? The Crystal Mt. up and back seems like a temptation to skip over if one was bonking.
I just completed the 1 day STP, but am still a little anxious about RAMROD having never done it.