Volcano High Pass Challenge
(Sept. 2, 2017)
Part race, part scenic ride with friends, this unsanctioned event challenges riders of all abilities. The one-day route goes from Packwood, at the foot of Mount Rainier, to Carson, on the Columbia River.
The 166 km (102 mile) course traverses the southern Cascade Range, skirts the mighty volcano of Mount Adams and crosses Babyshoe Pass, before dropping down to Trout Lake, climbing another pass, and finally descending Panther Creek Road. When they reach the Columbia River, riders will have climbed 3000 m (10,000 ft) and descended a little more. Half of the course is on gravel, the other half paved, including some ultra-fast descents. This mix of surfaces is best tackled on a good Allroad bike.
The scenic beauty more than makes up for the challenging terrain, with great views of Mount Rainier and Mount Adams, plus the beautiful Walupt and Takhlakh Lakes. Participants will take photos of their bikes at iconic locations as proof of passage.
September is our favorite time to ride these roads. The days are still long and sunny, but usually not too hot. The last vestiges of the snow that has blanketed the high roads and blocked the passes have melted, and the roads usually are dry.
Riders will need to be self-sufficient as services will be limited to an online route sheet. A roving mechanic will be on the course, provided by Branford Bike. (Water is available at campgrounds.) Anyone is welcome: Just show up at the start at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, in front of the Packwood Library, and ride!
Whether you compete for the fastest time, ride with friends, or start early and complete the ride at a more relaxed pace over multiple days, it’ll be an unforgettable experience. For more information, and to RSVP, click below.
This ride is unrelated to the Cascade Bicycle Club’s “High Pass Challenge,” which goes over paved roads in the same region.
(Sept. 3-4, 2017)
Following the Volcano High Pass Challenge, the 2017 Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting will gather in Carson, WA, on Sunday and Monday (Labor Day), Sept. 3-4, 2017.
The formula of the Un-Meeting is simple: Every cyclist is welcome to join us for two days of great camaraderie and riding off the beaten path. There are no fees, and no services are provided. We simply publish a date and time. Last year’s ride across Big Huckleberry Mountain was a highlight for those who chose that route. Join us in September for a repeat of this amazing ride!
While participants will be responsible for their own accommodations, we will book a group campsite at the Wind Mountain RV Park on the Columbia River, not far from the St. Martin hot springs. Meet us at the Carson General Store at 9 a.m. on both days of the Un-Meeting.
Sunday’s rides will explore the mountains above the Wind River Canyon: The first ride goes to Trout Lake on the Volcano High Pass route, then circling the Weigle Hill and Buck Mountain on beautiful gravel roads. This route covers approximately 150 km (93 miles), almost all on gravel.
Preliminary route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/24739886
Click here for the preliminary route sheet.
The second ride is a mostly paved course (with a little light gravel) on one of the most amazing mountain roads in the Pacific Northwest: Calamity Peak Road. This is an out-and-back course, allowing you to shorten or extend the ride as you like. The distance is 70 – 90 km (43 – 56 miles), depending on where you turn around.
Click here for the route sheet.
Monday’s ride will head to Portland via the Bridge of the Gods ($1 bicycle toll) and the Historic Columbia River Highway.
Click here for the route sheet.