Monday, July 21, 2008

Beyond Ramrod: The September 600k Brevet

There's been rumblings of a Jan Heine 600k brevet. If you don't know Jan or his riding, let's just say he's known to push the limits!

So the details have finally started coming in, and it looks like he's taken the RAMROD route and added a bunch of big climbs to it.

Below is a map (done by me) of what the route will be, more or less. Click here for the actual map.



The text of Jan's description from e-mail pasted below:

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

In order to get my Super Randonneur award for this year, I'll need to do this, considering my DNF on the last 600.. well they're really gonna make me work for this SR thing I guess! But like Jan said, it will be a lot of fun. (That's fun in the randonneur sense of the word, not common-usage mind you).

5 comments:

Susan said...

The BC Rando summer 600 is Aug 23.

Ryan said...

Jan and I rode the portion of the route yesterday from near the Longmire Entrance over Paradise, through Packwood, Randle, and up Forest Road 26 to Windy Ridge and then back down Forest Road 25 and returned over Skate Creek Road (170 miles).

This is a stunning ride. The section from Randle to the end of Windy Ridge is 38 miles of remote smooth paved road. On the way up (FR 26) is unmaintained with a few boulders in the center of the road, a handful of short gravel sections, the occasional washout, pummice drifts, etc. It's raw, but the pavement is remarkably smooth and it is excellent cycling and gorgeous.

Since both Forest Road 25 and Forest Road 26 have washouts, they are closed part way up and have zero traffic. This area is typically a tourist destination for the RV set, and instead it is absolutely and completely empty. Roadside viewpoints that are designed for 100+ cars are all deserted.

This entire 76 mile section is like a private bicycle preserve. You have to work for it, but it is incredible.

Towards the end of the ride, I was trying to imagine what it would be like to make it over White Pass (as proposed in the route to make it to the "overnight" control). I (optimistically) estimate it will take me 18 or 19 hours total for the first "day." For comparison, I think it took me 16 hours on the 4 pass 600 to the overnight control. Since it is such a long day, we are considering a very early start such as 2 or 3 AM.

Logistically there will be other challenges for the randonneur. We are planning a nice control at Independence Pass (just before Windy Ridge) and an overnight control. This means that one has to plan food and water carefully. Packwood is the only place with 24 hour services, so there is a lot of cycling without any services. The second day is similarily remote.

I am intrigued with this route, but I still don't have a complete grasp of the type of effort it will require.

Ryan

matt m said...

Thanks Susan for the tip! But I do hope to keep it local and do the SiR 600.

Ryan, thanks for the update! I've done the Windy Ridge portion during last year's High Pass Challenge, so I know just how nice that area is!

Interesting point about cycling w/out services, I'll definitely have to come prepared! Thanks again for the detailed info.

matt m said...

Jan & Ryan have done part of the pre-ride, and the photos from it are amazing! Click here to see their writeup/photos.

mattm said...

an updated route map has been posted on bikely.