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2012 Tour De Blast. June 23

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 10:15 am
by Brian C

Saturday June 23rd, 2012
Toutle, Washington

We'll be there for our 13th TDB and after last years rainfest will try to make it to Johnston Ridge this time, the first time I failed to make it up there since the road to Johnston Ridge was built in 1997. I forgot my rain gear and turned around at Elk Rock last year, so let this be a lesson to you, riding in the mountains, in the rain, is no fun, so be prepared!

84 miles and about 8000+ Ft of climbing. Others report 6400 Ft or so depending on who you talk to. An out and back course.

Shorter distances of 33 and 54 miles with less climbing. Basically, since this is an out and back course, you ride/climb as much as you want, and then turn around if you don’t want to go to Johnston Ridge. This is a beautiful ride with spectacular views of Mt Saint Helens and the Washington Cascades. A pure mountain ride al la the French Alps or The Pyrenees’.

4 major climbs await you. A 7.8-mile climb at 6% to Elk Rock , a 5.8-mile climb to Johnston Ridge at 6+% topping at 10+% for the last ¾ of a mile or so. Now you turn around, fly down Johnston Ridge with its sweeping turns, then climb for 3-miles at 6% to Coldwater Ridge, and then climb up the backside of Elk Rock at 4 to 5% for 5.8 miles. There are shorter climbs of about ½ to 1 mile at 6% on the way out and back but these are your major challenges.

The climbs are long and the descents are wild and fast. The descent from Elk Rock coming out of the mountains is so long you get tired from being in the drops for so long as well as paying attention to the road since in recent years the road seems to have gotten rougher.

Be prepared for all types of weather. I've done this ride in high heat as well as rain/snow and cold/wind chill coming down those mountain passes. You are in the mountains, and the weather can change quickly up there.

HeadWinds also come into play once you come down from the mountains and can make you work for the last 6 to 10 miles as you return back to the school.

3 rest stops with food, etc, an end of ride all you can eat pasta feed, salad, ice cream, and a photographer on the course, mile 3 or so at the beginning, that takes your picture, and then you can purchase it at the end of the ride.

This is a ride that fills up fast with cyclists, and offers up fantastic scenery that will challenge your climbing legs throughout the course.

Re: 2012 Tour De Blast. June 23

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:01 am
by Brian C
The rainfest that was the Tour De Blast went off on Saturday. And like last year and the year before, the rain was relentless. About 500 of us showed up for this surfing competition as climbing through rivers of water coming down the road was interesting.

Like last year I doubted that I would make it to Johnston Ridge as this was rough.

The volunteers at the first rest stop were really nice, thanking us for coming out in this stuff to do the ride, and the hot coffee was a nice touch on this wet day.

About 2-miles from the summit of Elk Rock I caught a flat. How nice. Changing a flat in torrents of rain was no fun.

Finally making it to the Elk Rock rest stop, once again yours truly had enough and so we turned around and surfed back down the 7.8 miles, and just went on back to the school to dry up, get warm, and call it a ride.

Perhaps next year we can get some sun.

Kudos to all the volunteers who continuously thanked us for coming and doing the ride, despite the weather conditions.

Up next, The Mt Adams Country Bicycle Tour. Lets hope this mountain ride has no rain.