Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Crater Lake was wonderful!

This past Saturday, Lee & I rode the Crater Lake Century up in Oregon, along with Sarah, Bill, Kim & Mel.

More pics be here

We stayed at Jo's Motel (of course) in Ft. Klamath, which was located very close to the start which was tres convenient. We were there from Thurs through Monday; Sarah, Bill, and Kim were there Friday thru Sunday, and Mel stayed with us in our cabin on Friday night.

It was freakin' hot up there from Thursday onward. I did a short ride from the motel just to Mazama Village on Friday morning, and it was already very warm when I started out at 9 am. It worked out to about 32 miles and about 1800 ft of climbing. I started out at about 4000 ft elevation and I wasn't sure how the altitude would affect me, but turns out it wasn't particularly noticeable. The heat on the other hand, yeck! I knew the heat would be an issue so I took it easy.

Saturday we were all up at O'Dark Stupid and rode over to the museum where the ride began.

We started out with the first wave of riders at 6:30 - we were all very concerned about the heat (it was supposed to get even hotter than it was on Friday) so we wanted to get off to an early start and get up to the rim as soon as possible. We opted not to follow the full century route, which included about 20 miles or so of meandering around flat cow pastures to take the total distance up to 100 miles. Instead, we followed the metric route which took us directly up to the rim. That was an excellent plan because it indeed did get very hot up there and it would have been even worse for us if we arrived up there the hour or so later if we followed the full century route.

The grades on this ride were never particularly steep. The ride up to the rim averaged around 4% (some stretches of 2% and some brief 6-8% bits). On Rim Drive itself, many of the climbs were in the 6-8% range but I don't think there was much if any at 10%. The climbs were fairly long, and as the day wore on and the sun moved overhead there was very little shade. But the descents were a lot of fun! :^)

My one and only criticism about this ride was the lack of a water stop before the long hot climb leading up to the Mt Scott trailhead. There's apparently no water available at the various picnic areas along Rim Drive, and I went through nearly all of my water & Cytomax on that climb. At the very end of that climb there was an out & back section which took us out to the Cloud Cap overlook. After consulting the route sheet I realized that it was just an out & back, so I asked riders coming back if there was water available at the turnaround. When I found out there wasn't, I was too low on water to risk it (and I was whupped from the heat) so I skipped that portion and continued directly on to the rest stop at the Phantom Ship overlook. I think the organizers weren't prepared for the extreme heat but it sounds like they will add another water stop next year.

The roads for the most part were very good to excellent. Even the "bad" part, on the descent after Cloud Cap, wasn't bad at all compared to many California roads!

LeeBob was waiting for us in a bit of shade on the last long climb up from Vidae Falls. He had signed up for the Metric century, which would involve going counterclockwise on Rim Drive only as far as the Phantom Ship stop. He was feeling very good on the climb up to the rim so he decided to accompany us on the full route clockwise around the rim, but after a few miles he decided he'd be better off backtracking and head counterclockwise until he met up with us and/or went as far as he felt like going. When he saw how long the climb was from the bottom of Vidae Falls towards Phantom Ship, he decided he'd gone far enough, thenkew. :^)

When we all regrouped we continued on to the Visitor Center for more water, then for the fun descent back down to Ft. Klamath. It was very warm on the descent and especially along the last 8 miles or so of flatlands back to the start. We took the opportunity to stop at the Ft. Klamath General Store (which I call the Deliverance Store) to feast on ice cream bars before we rode the remaining 2 miles to the Klamath Museum for barbecue and our second desert of pie and ice cream.

It was still oppressively hot in the shade on the museum grounds so Lee took the cue from some others and practically submerged himself in the ice-cold stream running through the park. Happily, he has yet to show signs of hepatitis or bubonic plague or any other maladies that may have been lurking in that stream. :p Most of the rest of us were content with soaking our feet, which helped a lot.

Sarah on the other hand preferred to make good use of a buff soaked in ice-cold drinking water, embracing her inner Amish maiden.

The elevation gain fell way short of the advertised 7500 feet according to their Topo map. My CicloSport showed about 6100 feet, but I cut out a bit of climbing from bypassing the out & back to Cloud Cap. I'm very happy with how I did - I took it very easy on the climbs since I knew the heat would likely be a big problem for me if I didn't. So although I took it very slow, I survived, and enjoyed it immensely! :^)

This was a really great ride, and I'd love to do it again.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Oh, I am so tres chic! NOT! :)