I've been itching to do some more high-elevation riding, especially since the warm season is soon ending and I want to squeeze all I can out of the current nice weather. At first I was thinking of doing Snoqualmie Pass (starting from Seattle) for my "one last pass" ride of the season, but I've already done it a few times and though I was going to explore the backroads up it, I set my sights on something else, something new.
Hurricane Ridge - out on the Olympic Peninsula, this gem of a climb came on my radar last year when it was closed to cyclists due to washouts. 28km at about a 5% grade, what's not to love?
Though I've previously spoke of riding out to this climb - that was too much of an undertaking for what I had in mind, so Kira & I drove out to Port Angeles so I could start the climb fresh and we could meet up at the top. I'm really glad we did this, since from Kingston (or Bainbridge) I'd forgotten how hilly Highway 104 is! It had some serious climbs that looked painful on the way to a big climb. Huge thanks to Kira for taking me out here - we made a great day of it.
But on to the cycling. I started at the bottom visitors center, about 17 miles from the top. Didn't really warm-up, just hit the climb and made sure to stay in the little ring (39 tooth) at first - which was easy to do since it starts out at about a 6-7% grade for the first 8 km or so.
The road starts as worn chip-seal surrounded by greenery that would soon turn more sparse and more alpine.
While I was keeping the pace in the Tempo zone, I was also taking a little time to take in the scenery and capture a few shots like this. It was the perfect day for a climb in short sleeves - it might be a while before I get to do this again. (Snow is expected at the top on Monday!)
In the middle or so of the climb I felt that it was time to kick it into the big ring (53 teeth) and push it. The road wasn't as steep in the middle section of the climb, and I could feel it since the pedaling was getting easier. So I kicked it up a notch. Sometimes I can hit a "sweet spot" on climbs where a 53x23 gear feels just right, and keeps me going relatively fast. Towards the end I could see my heart rate start to rise and my legs start to get sore, but I kept on truckin' for the first hour at least to see if I could set a new personal record (see Data section below).
There are three small tunnels to go through, but they're short and traffic was light anyway.
I used a rear flashing light just in case.
Right as I hit the one hour mark I let up, happy to have pushed hard for an hour, and took it easy the rest of the way. Enjoying the scenery, which is easy to forget to do sometimes if you zone out staring at your front wheel.
The scale of these views/climbs can be overwhelming sometimes but that's why I love it. I love the humbling feeling of looking over a mountain vista, up at a star-filled sky, or at an ocean view and thinking about how insignificant we are. Oh and it was a great workout too.
5,242 ft at the top Visitors Center at Hurricane Ridge. I bought a coffee mug as a souveneir.
Set a new peak one hour record. My previous best was back in April, 243 watts for one hour (was on a SiR winter training ride). The season of riding and racing has increased my capacity to turn the pedals harder for an hour, and this time I came out at 268 watts. Perhaps could have "scored" higher with more effort (HR average was just 156 bpm, max is 196). Anyway it's nice to see a noticeable increase in the data as a result in training.
Peak 60min (268 watts):
Duration: 1:00:00 (1:01:37)
Work: 966 kJ
TSS: 91.3 (intensity factor 0.955)
Norm Power: 272
Distance: 17.946 km
Elevation Gain: 991 m
Grade: 5.1 % (916 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 112 565 268 watts
Heart Rate: 93 175 156 bpm
Cadence: 16 87 64 rpm
Speed: 0.4 51.6 17.9 kph
Crank Torque: 0 169.9 40.8 N-m
Data for the full ride.
Entire workout (251 watts):
Duration: 1:40:34 (1:43:32)
Work: 1514 kJ
TSS: 137.8 (intensity factor 0.907)
Norm Power: 258
Distance: 27.624 km
Elevation Gain: 1659 m
Grade: 5.4 % (1477 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 565 251 watts
Heart Rate: 93 175 155 bpm
Cadence: 16 87 62 rpm
Speed: 0 51.6 16.5 kph
Crank Torque: 0 177.1 38.9 N-m
I definitely want to do this climb as part of a full ride next year! It'll be worth the slog out there.