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Tour De Blast. June 21st

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 9:47 am
by Brian C
Tour De Blast. Saturday June 21st

The annual right of passage to Mt Saint Helens. Toutle Lake, Washington. I’ll be there for my 11th TDB

http://www.tourdeblast.com/

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 32 and 64 miles with less climbing. 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 the backside of Elk Rock to the top 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.

The past years the weather has been good with mild temps but the descents can be chilly.

On the opposite end, some years it has been so cold with snow/sleet/ice and torrential rain, that late starters for this ride have been barred from going to Johnston Ridge due to ice and subfreezing temperatures with hypothermia being the order of the day.

Wind also is a factor and typically picks up as the day gets long, resulting in strong headwinds after you come out of the mountains.

3 rest stops with tons of food, etc, an end of ride all you can eat pasta feed, salad, ice cream, and a photographer on the course, mile 4 or so, that takes your picture and then you can purchase it and the end of the ride.

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

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:01 am
by Brian C
A very nice warm day added up to TDB #11 for yours truly. The day started out great as it was warm and the registration lines moved quickly at 6:30AM.

There was really no need for jackets or multiple layers as we started out at 6:45AM for 8000 ft of climbing to Johnson Ridge and back. The first rider made it to Elk Rock at 8:27 AM according to the White Board they had out. I climbed in at 9:10.

The 5.8 and 3-mile downhills to Coldwater Canyon helped cool us off and again, no jackets required as it was really nice and warm and comfortable. The climb to Johnson Ridge had countless riders on it and when we got to the top, the parking lot was packed with riders, and snow! Yes, about 2 to 4 feet of snow was piled up all around the edges of the parking lot. It was interesting to climb to Johnson Ridge with snow lining the sides of the road on the climb as well as the parking lot. What a site. Pictures were being taken by many riders of this.

Light clouds provided beautiful views of Mt St Helens and she did not get clouded over until later in the ride so views were plentiful.

The downhills from the top were fun as the winds at times were blowing but nothing really hard like in years past. Even the tradtional headwinds that we encounter on the way down from Elk Rock were soft and the pacelines formed in the flats with 22+MPH speeds pulling us all home.

Pasta, salad and ice cream completed a wonderful ride.

We stay in the moutains as up next is the Mt Adams Country Bicycle Tour (Saturday June 24th) and its 7000+ feet of climbing around another beautiful mountain and surrounding coutryside in the Washington Cascades

My First TDB

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:39 am
by wayneh
Brian,

This was my first Tour de Blast, and I had a great time. Left at 7 and made it up to Johnstone Ridge by 11:45. A couple of quick pictures, and then the wind gusts started up, so I headed downhill.

Spectacular views and a super smooth road made for a great day all around.

Wayne