To decipher this title and put this post into perspective, you have to reference the original RIMROBOD ride here.
One of the benefits of making your own “course” is to also make variants (stay tuned, the “RIMROBOD Century” may happen this year). Perhaps I’ll do the entire original RIMROBOD this year, but on this day I didn’t have the time or the legs. Therefore, I wanted a RAMROD (Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day) type of workout without all that mileage (150). This short course gave me the climbing I wanted without significant distance; I was either going up or down, no cruising sections on this route. SHORT COURSE STATS: 81 miles/9200’ elev.
To approach 10,000’ of climbing, I find that starting at Box Canyon is an excellent option. This puts me in the middle of the park with the ability to ride in either direction. In fact, if I do the entire RIMROBOD (121 miles, 15,600’ elev) this year, I may start at Box Canyon vice Longmire and do out and back from the vehicle, continuing past Box Canyon and putting in the climb to Paradise and descent to Longmire, putting the stats the same as 2017.
It’s still summer so I had to contend with traffic; however, these roads actually add to safety for a couple of reasons. Number 1, there is no cell reception so drivers can’t be distracted with texting. Number 2, the sometimes serpentine roads require lower speeds and driver attention, especially within the confines of the gates. Highway 410 carries traffic through the park on the way to Yakima, but this section is quite short. Speed limits within the gates are usually 35 MPH with short sections of 45 on the Stevens Canyon Road, and drivers on these roads have always been attentive to cyclists. For these reasons I like riding and training in Mt. Rainier National Park, and I can’t think of any other convenient place that can give the rider these types of significant climbs and descents over short distances. Also in my planning is the stop at Sunrise, where I was able to purchase lunch, get coffee, reload my water and quaff some Gatorade. It makes an excellent halfway rest stop.
I like using my Salsa Cutthroat Rival for these longer excursions with significant climbs because of the gearing, comfort and stability of the bike. To put things in perspective, just about every time I climb to Sunrise a number of cyclists pass me…I’m chugging along at maybe 5 MPH so I’m no elite masters cyclist for sure. I simply do jaunts like this to keep my aging body in some semblance of shape, reacquainting myself with discomfort and pain. It’s a small price to pay for the exhilarating descents, the flower show along the roadsides, the bubbling waterfalls along highway 123, the sweet air and even the gusty winds that broadsided me near Sunrise. Just another excellent day in the park!
(Ride the Interior of Mt. Rainier Out and Back in One Day)