Posted by: angrybeesound | November 1, 2008

HPC

here is the thing about winchells donuts, theyre never really good, but theyre usually good enough. i hit the winchells 4 blocks from me at 3 am, i ordered 4 freshly baked maple bars. the level of enjoyment i got out of the one i had at 3:30, the one i had at 6 and the one i had at 4 pm after it sat in the car all day was the same. there is something to be said for 24 hour donut shops, when i was a kid working there would have been my dream job. and lets face it, it would have been a dream job up until the age of 15, and still holds appeal now.

if a donut shop is open 24 hours they have to be prepared to give you a donut each and every hour. but that level or preparedness comes at a cost,the product sucks.

i was up at 3 am for a reason, HPC is the cascade bike clubs offering for a epic climbing focused ride. it was on a dumb day though, the same day as the mt baker hill climb and the seattle randonneurs populaire , id wanted to get a taste of SIR for a while. 

HPC started is a town called packwood. i wrote about packwood in an earlier post, but its neat as it is equal distance from 3 of the big mountains in the state – rainier, st helens and adams. its in the middle of no where in relation to anything else in the state. and being a small place i figured all the places to stay were full, so i decided id wake up early the day before and drive down solo, keith was already up fishing. 

i dont race, hpc is timed. it adds a element to it. usually you go out, starting at your leisure work up the climb and whittle your way back down the hill. not this time, i order to get the coveted ‘elite finish’ you had to work pretty hard all day.

there was a mass rollout at 7 am. im not a perfect paceline person, but i can sit in the middle of a static group and not hit the person in front of me and am able to not use my brakes so the person behind me doesnt ram me. 

i am also comfortable enough to take my hands off and snap pictures like this

and looking back

it was typical paceline antics, your group would power past a group 30, only to be passed by another group of 50, onto which your group would grab hold of. my RAMROD buddy, multiple ironman finisher and 650 cc tire riding buddy kevin was on the ride. we tried to get close enough to talk, but only managed for a second. 

big groups are fun and all, but not with riders you dont know, some of who need lessons on riding in groups. oh and i had 3 hours of sleep 3 crap donuts and some coffee. 

big groups also eat up miles in no time. these groups were hitting 25-28 and people in the middle were barely working. 

17 miles in you turn off the highway and pass through part of randle, a 300 foot in half a mile climb strings out the riders. the hammerheads take off, i sat mid pack, didnt want to go too hard on a little bs climb. from there it was 7 miles of what felt like flats but the garmin was indicating we were slowly loosing altitude.

mile 25 there is a food stop. RICE CRISPY TREATS, man i love them, grab three or so. start heading up what the map says is the beginning of the climbing, it is but its never steep. i dont know where i am in the groups but i find myself riding oddly alone, managed to team up with a guy from the high performance cycling team, jim from ballard. jim is really cool, we talked as the climbing wasnt bad, meet up with some people in hpc jerseys, flitted here and there, i didnt climb super strong but i did fine. and not you look fine in those jeans, but man that was a fine meal. 

the climbing in this section wasnt really pretty, it was closed in and there was no view, decent roads though, i rode my own ride. 

then you break free and get your first view of the mountain 

thats our road on the right

had a passerby take a picture

yeah, i blinked.

the riding from here on went from dull but fun to very interesting. we forked onto a road that was closed to cars, woohoo! but it was closed to cars because it was a disaster. the outside edge, which i would be riding on the way back, had started to fall off causing ‘eat your front tire and make you fly’ cracks and big rocks littered the entire road. 

im not kidding about big rocks. 

somewhere in here i got recognized as ‘the dude who won the bike’ which was neat (WIN! SUSAN) it was good to be in a group of dudes and talk about how much we like boobs, i asked if everyone likes boobs so much maybe they could do a little something to help boobs out?

shortly after we got onto the closed road we entered the blast zone, and its literally the difference between night and day, you turn one corner and you go from mature, dense forests to spots where the oldest tree is 10 years old. the forest is coming back though. 7 years ago it still looked like a blast zone, now the forest is really starting to come in. some of the old blowdown is still visisble.

spirit lake showed up on the right, i was getting close.


the top was a turn around, i got my compulsory picture taken at a weird angle. apparently last year there was snow at the turn around, this year it was great. 

i flatted on the way back, i was eating a snickers no handed and hit one of the multitude of rocks. i felt dumb. jim and his buddies passed me, they offered help, but i was cool, just me and 250 pumps to inflate, well 160, i heard there was a floor pump at the junction. and there was.

i put my death ride acquired descending skills and my 53×11 to good use on the descents. ‘only’ hit 47, i thought id get up to faster, caught up and rode with the hpc guys.

then someone did it, they started talking numbers. i thought i had been in great condition for an elite finish, my tire had take 8ish minutes and had put me behind. doing math on a bike is something i suck at. 

we pulled into the rest stop shy of 80 miles with 32 miles left with 2 hours to go. the hpc guys and i made like babies and headed out, there were 10 of us. the back road was not the road we came out on, it was small rollers, we pressed at a fair pace, but there was a decent rise approaching mile 90 that lost us a few. we took turns pulling for a mile or so; i felt alright and knew a larger group later would better assure finishing by 2pm, so i pulled what i could.

people kept dropping, they would take a pull, drop to the back and keep dropping. 10 became 8, became 7, 5 and it came to a spot where there was just jim who id climbed with early in the day and his buddy ray. jim was the strongest rider. we all kept trying to do the math in our heads, it was going to be close.

ray and i broke, ray broke harder, jim and i pulled up and softened our pace and ray caught up. little does jim know that the softening of the pace is what kept me from breaking harder than i did.

this is the fun part of the ride, and i liked the added time dynamic. you get to see what you have in you later in the day. i tell myself i didnt give a shit about the pos medal you get depending on your finish, i wanted to see if i could keep the pace, take my turn at the front of our small group.

you pedal when the legs start to feel hollow, you feel the precursors of cramps. the three of us dug deep, well maybe not jim, i still think he was totally sandbagging us all day, hes an animal. but the three of us finished together…

at 2:01, yes, i finished the high pass challenge 82 seconds after 2pm, that flat really bugged me then. the three of us were the first people awarded the silver medal, think it meant complete badass, but not elite, or it mean strong. 

had the after the ride bbq (one brat..sad face) and sat with the guys from hpc, about 30 of them did the ride. i gleamed some of this on the ride but theyre a team that is focused on rider skills and development, not necessarily on racing, but you can apply what you gain to racing. they are paired with cycle u something i had looked at, but never really been stoked about. i like the idea of hpc and the attitude of the guys, not the typical – i race, therefore I AM. it was a good vibe, color me interested. 

so went to bed at 12, woke up @ 3, drove for 3ish hours, rode for 7 and change, drove 3ish home. i inhaled some thai food and slept for 12, it was a good day.

man i love riding my bike

by the numbers

Total Time (h:m:s) 7:06:12 3:48 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s) 6:24:49 3:25 pace
Distance (mi ) 112.14
Moving Speed (mph) 17.5 avg. 47.5 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +10,345 / -10,345

17.5 average with 10k of (garmin) climbing? ill take it

here is the elevation profile

and googleness

it was a good ride, ill probably be back, if only to try for the top ranking.

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