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Peaks Tour – 2000
Hope you all had good rides this weekend! Today is my rest day. Yesterday I finished Adventure Cycling's Cascade Peaks Tour. 7 days, 460 miles, lots of climbing. Absolutely beautiful scenery! I decided to do this ride this year, instead of CO, since I wanted a ride with fewer people. There were 97 people on this ride, very few of which were from the Northwest. It was really nice to travel with such a small group, as I got to know many of the people very well. The group really bonded and the staff knew everyone by name within 2 days.
Adventure Cycling does a great job. Very similar to the support CO provides, with all meals provided, rest stops, sag, maintenance, etc., for the same cost as CO.
Day three was my favorite, though it was also the toughest. That day, we rode from Newhalem, WA to Winthrop, WA. This route took us through North Cascades National Park, on the North Cascade Highway. We gained 6717 feet (!) to make it to Washington Pass, and every mile of the ride was breathtakingly beautiful. Rugged snow-capped Peaks, waterfalls, and very little traffic. If you've never had a chance to ride here, I would recommend it highly. You need to be well prepared, however, as there isn't anywhere to re-supply. There are water and rest rooms, but nowhere to buy food.
Susan "It don't get much better than this" Otcenas
Ride the Rockies - 2000
I skipped CO last year  for Ride the Rockies. Cheaper? No! You have to get from here to Colorado. You pay for ALL your meals, and they are not as cheap as one thinks. The second-third days food support on ride was almost non-existent because the vendors did not appear as the wind was blowing too hard. (give me a break!) "Free" food at rest areas was oranges-bananas and gator-aide. Anything else there cost. We paid $3.50 for a croissant with nothing on it and were happy to get it. Food choice at rest stops was not consistent in quality, choice, or quantity. We raided the grocery stores in one town on the second day’s ride and literally emptied the stores! We gorged!!! I packed a lot of food with me after that, and we traded food on the ride. We learned to stop anyplace there was food and eat. I am a "slowrider" as I like to stop and smell the roses so it was a long time getting to towns for me and others. Scenery was beautiful, hills were challenging, company was fabulous, but it was no cheaper (moreso) than CO. Have I said enuff?
Last year I did Ride the Rockies & Cycle Oregon. I have to be honest - I enjoyed RtR much better. I registered for RtR again this year. I am still waiting to hear if I got selected. I can't wait to find out. They only allow 2000 cyclists, They do a random lottery. There are at least 4000 or more that register. The cost is $235.00. That includes a nice looking jersey. It doesn't include food, but there is plenty available and reasonable, too! They have snacks, gatorade or powerade & waters, cookies & fruit at the rest stops, but vendor(s) will be waiting at the rest stops so you can buy fajitas, smoothies, stuffed potatoes, etc. Also a dancing massage therapist. It was awesome. After one of the harder climbs I had a 15 minute massage at 10,000 elevvation. Couldn't pass it up. At each layover they have busses that will shuttle you into town. Entertainment in each town. You can either sleep indoors in the gym or pitch a tent on nice turf. All of the stops are at schools or universities. I did both, a couple of nights in the gym, the rest outdoors. They had porta showers. Also the school pools (small fee) and showers (no fee) that are available. If I don't get selected I will register for the Bicycle Tour of Colorado. I did Salida & Leadville last year on RtR, but I wouldn't mind riding that part of the route again. It was great!
Barb the Floridian
Editor’s Note – The above 2 people did Ride the Rockies the SAME year. From what I have heard these reports are consistent based on whether you are a fast or slow rider.
Other Summer Tours
For those contemplating other summer rides: I had the opportunity to do both Wheeling Washington and Wheeling Hawaii. As noted, they are Tim Kneeland and Associates productions. Although there has been a lot of negative publicity regarding the Odyssey 2000 ride, I had a good time on both his week long rides and felt he fulfilled his promises.
I doubt that most of you CO survivors would find Wheeling Washington challenging enough. The mileage is low - about 450 miles, I think, and quite flat for a weeklong bike ride. The scenery is wonderful of course, since it goes into the San Juan Islands, including Victoria and down the Washington Coast, a rare treat in itself. Breakfasts and dinners are provided, lunch is on your own, usually. The group is smaller, my two were under 150 people, so you get to know other riders better.
It's NOT CO, though. They are good rides, but not events. You don't really meet the people in the communities you go into too much, with some exceptions, unless you make an effort. The food, as I recall, was fine, but not memorable as so many CO meals are - remember the steak in Half Way? There was little if any entertainment.
My opinion is that there are many, many good rides and support organizations. There's only ONE CO and it really sets the bar high.
Oh, Wheeling Hawaii has the benefit of the weather, of course. The ride is in March and it was a nice get away from the Northwest winter. Again, the mileage around the big island is low and there are a lot of rollers, a little climbing but, compared to a Cycle Oregon, I felt it was a non-ride. Great location for one, though!
My friends and I also did our own "Cycle Oregon Lite" one year. I would disagree with a previous opinion that running your own ride would be more expensive than an organized ride because we did it at about 1/3 the cost of CO. We camped, stayed in cheap A-Frames near Diamond Lake, and hostels in Ashland. I missed riding in to find dinner waiting. It was very enjoyable, but not CO.
What ever your plans for the summer, happy trails!
RAMROD, Cannonball, and S-2-S
RAMROD stands for Ride Around Mt Rainer in One Day and is a very challenging event! Total elevation gain 10,000 ft and 154 miles. I haven't tackled it yet although I have considered it. The Redmond Cycling Club has a few of the most challenging rides in the Pacific Northwest. A few examples, is the "Cannonball" and the "S2S".
Short Description: Cannonball is the Northwest's oldest cross-state one-day ultra-marathon cycling event. The ride starts at the I-90 bike tunnel entrance in Seattle, WA, and uses the shoulder of I-90 for most of its 275-mile route, finishing in Spokane, WA.
The record time for the current course (275 miles) is 12:01, set by Gordon Hebron and Carl Murrell in 1995. The average speed record is held by Rick Hippe, who completed the 1991 course (293 miles) in 12:41. The record time for an unsupported rider, 13:25, was set by Jan Heine in 1995. TOTALLY AMAZING!
Short Description of S2S: S-2-S, like Cannonball, is a challenging one-day ultramarathon cycling event crossing the state of Washington from west to east. It has been held annually since 1992. S-2-S uses a more scenic, less traveled, but more difficult course than Cannonball. The ride covers terrain that varies from temperate rain forest to alpine meadows to magnificently desolate desert. It is 285 miles long and has about 12,000 feet of climbing, including significant climbs up Stevens Pass in the Cascades and the Orondo Grade out of the Columbia River Gorge. The temperature in the Moses Coulee on the 1996 ride was near 110 degrees, though comfortable temperatures in the 80's and 90's are more common in Eastern Washington in July. The ride starts in Seattle, WA and ends in Spokane, WA
Nanette "And I'm intimated by RAMROD" Hoheisel
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