Crank!

Frustrated with the weather, I headed out to Olympic National Park do get in some biking counting on the rain shadow effect of the area around Sequim. Since I had some friends staying there I thought I'd do the 4800 foot climb of the Hurricane Ridge Road and hopefully enjoy a rain free 18 mile descent. I started the uphill portion at 2:30 PM (starting elevation 400 feet) and slightly over 3 hours later arrived at the Hurricane Ridge visitor center at 5200 feet. This is a steady grind, more climbing in one shot than I have done before and almost twice the elevation gain of Longmire to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park (11 miles/2600 feet). Since my proposed Baker trip has need of my mountain bike, with the last 13 miles on gravel road with 2600 feet of climb, that is the steed I used. And frankly, besides the better climbing gears on my mountain bike, I just didn't want to go too fast on the descent. With the rolling resistance and more upright (less aerodynamic) posture on my mountain bike, I was able to keep the speeds reasonable without riding the brakes too much (top speed 34 MPH). Slowing 3 times for deer, either crossing or right by the road, was another factor that warranted caution.

Cranking that much with little bike time is a good indication of my fitness level, which I would consider "very good" at this stage, and a good confidence builder for the bike portion of the Baker trip (58 miles biking). Now it's just a matter of having decent weather on days off before the forest service starts rolling up the carpet and snows settle into the high country.......

The documentor in me took over and I filmed the entire descent, so if you'd like to vicariously do the 45 minute trip, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.