If I were to ride the High Pass Challenge I would ride the 114 mile route. If I were to ride the Tour de Blast I would ride the 82 mile route. It does sound like the High Pass Challenge would be somewhat competitive since it's timed and there is a time limit. I'm not interested in trying to beat people up the mountain I would be more interested in just trying to survive.
Rode the TDB a few years ago and as is often the case the weather was pretty bad. Last year we went down there and parked at the Hoffstadt visitor center and rode 50 miles round trip to Johnston Ridge. We waited until we had nice weather and it was much more pleaant. The last 25 miles are the most scenic and you get well over 5,000 feet of climbing.
This ride has a history of bad weather both in its previous June time slot and it's current one. It was a well oranized ride and the folks were friendly but riding 5-6 hours in the rain is not something I enjoy. The descent off the ridge was awful, even with full finger gloves, jacket and tights I was cold and wet.
We also rode the last part of the High Pass Challenge last year, Iron Creek CG to Windy Ridge. It's a real pretty ride that I would go back and do it again even though we once again got caught in a torrential downpour on the descent.
If you want to do a group ride pick the one that fits your fitness level or goals. They'll both both be well organized and any of these rides is going to have a competitive contingent but most riders are there just riding at their own pace. With both being lae in the season rain is always a possibility.
Or ride them on your own. The road to Johnston Ridge has a nice wide shoulder and the ride to Windy Ridge is mostly on Forest Service roads and has a more remote feel.
Wow, I know these are fund raiser rides, but $90 for a long century seems like a lot.
I do like the Windy Ridge side. Traffic is virtually non-existent. Views, when they do open up, are stunning. The forested sections are pretty neat too. The roads can be quite chunky over there in places and you have to be careful on parts of the descent (some rutted pavement and the rest is rough chip seal). I did the very first HPC and it did not feel competitive but I only really rode with a group for the first 20 miles or so to the start of the climb.
I have not ridden the Johnston ridge side.
I would guess the weather in September has been 50/50 but probably better than May.
Which ride has a more pleasant drive for you? Another solo option is to ride Windy Ridge from the south, starting from Cougar. Or if you have a driver who can drop off and meet up, ride from Cougar to Packwood.
Hello. I did both of these last year. I liked the High Pass Challenge more. The views are much nicer than the Tour de Blast. I also got extremely drenched on the Tour de Blast, so that may have added to the long day(no views). You do not have to race to the top of the high pass challenge unless you want to recieve a gold medal badge. I raced to the top and got the gold medal, soaked in the scenery going back at a very comfortable speed. I will probably do it again this year for the 3rd time. IMG_2758.jpg
I've solo rode the Johnston Ridge route before and have rode to Elk Rock several times. The road is nice with little to no traffic and a huge shoulder. The scenery is nice. There is running water and a bathroom at the park at Coldwater Lake which makes a solo ride like that much easier.