Monday, September 14, 2015

Tour de Blast - Lots of Tour, Less Blast

Tour de Blast was a bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't horrible but a blast it wasn't.

The drive down to Toutle was long, or rather it seemed long after a week with almost no sleep due to a root canal accompanied by a bad infection. I almost didn't go but sometimes I'm just too stubborn for my own good. I didn't carb load the day before and I think I suffered for it.

At 7 am we started biking from Toutle Lake High School. I picked up my bib and off I went. The ride up to the first climb was hard. At first I thought it was the lack of sleep and the infection paired with the two different kinds of antibiotics that were kicking my ass, but I eventually figured out that the road wasn't flat. I was climbing all the way to Hoffstadt Bluffs, not much, but enough so that my legs didn't get the necessary warm-up like they did at HPC.

My ride with GPS died less than half way through, so this is only part of the ride.

Since my GPS app didn't quite work, here are the stats:

Mile 0: 500 ft. (Toutle – Starting Line)
Mile 11: 1,000 feet (Sediment Dam)
Mile 16: 1,400 feet (Hoffstadt Bluffs – Pit Stop)
Mile 24: 3,000 feet
Mile 27: 3,800 feet (Elk Rock – Pit Stop)
Mile 34: 3,159 feet (Coldwater Ridge – Closed)
Mile 41: 4,314 feet (Johnston Ridge – Pit Stop)

The elevation gain from the start line at Toutle to Elk Rock (27 miles into the ride, elevation 3,800 feet) is approximately 3,300 feet. From there, the highway descends 1,270 feet over five miles to Coldwater Lake (elevation 2,530 feet). Then riders will begin a nine-mile climb of approximately 1,780 feet to the Johnston Ridge viewpoint and turnaround. A rider going all the way to Johnston Ridge and back to Toutle will climb a total of 6,240 vertical feet over 82 miles (132K) including the climb back up the eastern side of Elk Rock.
Borrowed from here.

The weather was great but probably about 10 degrees too high. But the views... Man, were they gorgeous!

Apart from the route itself, another reason why I preferred HPC to TdB was the riders. The people riding TdB weren't the most considerate. Well, not all, but a lot of them. I suppose this ride attracts more casual cyclists, the less experienced ones that give you zero space when they pass you, no heads up, or they simply pass you on the right - for then to hit a wall and for you to pass them later on because they started out way too fast.

I had to dig deep to do the climbs. Not because they were that steep but because I was running on fumes. My leg muscles ached and my breathing was ragged. I just couldn't seem to find my rhythm. But to the top(s) I made it, all thanks to my hard headedness. I had these arguments in my head with one voice whispering "you know, you can always turn back now", and another voice shouting "no fucking way are you giving up now. You are not a quitter!". Guess which voice won...

And man, was I looking forward to the pasta feed at the end of the ride. Hmmm.. Not sure what to call the below.

The flaccid phallus looking thing on the tray is the bread stick. Hahaha. Best part of the meal was the chocolate milk.
In order not to be hating too much on this ride, I'll give praise to what needs praising. The support of the ride was outstanding. Longview Rotary Club did a great job with smiles and helpfulness. The food at Elk Rock and Johnston Ridge was tasty - they even had hot dogs! 

I just cannot get over the views. I so wish it had been more like this at HPC.

Ultimately, I don't feel I can judge this ride entirely fairly. I wasn't feeling right to begin with and had I not been worn out, I believe it would have been a different story. However, I won't be back for this ride again. Too far away and not worth it in my book when there are so many other rides to experience. Ok, so I am a sucker for shiny things and missed the trinkets from HPC. I still find myself admiring my medal like a freaking five year old.

My precious...

Next up;

Cycle the WAVE


Kitsap Color Classic

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