I just registered for the 2007 High Pass Challenge!! I thought the STP double-century was gonna be this season's peak ride, but this looks like it'll be the big one.
The HPC is a 114-mile ride with 7,500 feet of elevation gain, and features Independence Pass, just North of Mount St. Helens. The views are gonna be amazing, and my legs are gonna be killing me! I'll hopefully be on my new Ciocc frame by then, so I'll be luvin it either way.
The only thing that sucks about this ride is the logistics - the friggin ride starts in Packwood, WA, just south of Mt. Rainier. I wish they'd make it a tour that started closer to Seattle... but oh well. It's about a three-hour drive I hear, but I don't even have a driver's license, nor a car - but I've got friends with cars, and that comes in handy!
What I might do is get a ride out of Seattle the day before, and ride this route to get to Packwood, and then camp out. But I'd be so tired/dirty on the HPC day it might ruin it... we'll see what happens. I'll probably just get a ride down/back this year - but maybe I'll cycle down there and back for the 2008 edition.
Here's the HPC route on a Google Map, and here's an elevation profile of the route:
(ignore the huge trough about a quarter through the graph, that's just a glitch in the elevation data)
This is gonna be a great ride! From the Cascade page:
The ride begins along Highway 12, with the first 17 miles to Randle on a gradually downhill, smoothly paved road with a very wide shoulder. Expect light traffic, but be aware of the occasional logging truck. Randle is the low altitude point of the trip at 880 feet.
Heading south on the smooth blacktop of NF 25, there’s a “warm-up” climb at 19 miles into the ride. It’s only 1.2 miles long with 400 feet of climbing, but the first half mile or so has an average grade of 8.3%, so that should you in the mood for what follows.