Monday, July 6, 2015

Day 4: Hurricane Ridge

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 5 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Tuesday June 10, 2015, 41 miles (66 km) - Total so far: 191 miles (307 km)

Today's plan was to ride the Hurricane Ridge road. Hurricane Ridge road is eighteen miles of paved road with a steady 6-7% grade that shows off some of the best Olympic National Park vistas. The elevation change is 5300 feet, but when spread out over the eighteen miles, the climbing wasn't too bad. Most tourists drive up to the Visitors Center at the top of the ridge to take in the scenery and day hike.

Since we planned to stay with the same Warmshowers host tonight, we left our bags with them and climbed Hurricane Ridge with just a picnic lunch and some warm clothes.

Craig, Sheikh of Hurricane Ridge.

Sarah kept up a steady climbing pace, and I did my best to stay with her.

[Sarah: Craig is quite humble. Truth be told, Craig kicked booty on the climb! As a Florida boy, Craig's "climbs" consist of overpasses. Nowhere in the state of Florida can Craig adequately train for a ride up Hurricane Ridge. After all, the highest point in Florida is Britton Hill. Located in Florida's panhandle, Britton Hill is a whopping 345 feet above sea level. It's the lowest high point of all the state high points. For Craig, climbing Hurricane Ridge is the equivalent of climbing Britton Hill more than 15 times! For an old, happily married man from Florida, Craig is in tip-top shape!]

Craig, climbing up to Hurricane Ridge.
You can see that the cars were quite respectful,
providing adequate space as they passed us.

We got lucky as a local bicycle club was running a memorial ride for one of their members who had recently died. The club had several support vehicles and they were very happy to support us as well. So, we had plenty of water and snacks available.

[Sarah: The ride Craig mentioned was for a man named Al Piemme, who died of lung cancer last fall at age 83  Not only was Al a member of the local bicycling community, but he was also a champion bicycle racer...many times over. He was a strong rider, well into his 80s. As the story goes, Al's last words were, "I think I'll get my clothes on and ride up Hurricane Ridge." An article was written up about Al's memorial ride on June 10th. The article can be found here.]

It took us about three hours to get to the top and then we hiked a bit and had a spectacular view during lunch.

Sarah is happy to reach the top!

Craig & Sarah congratulate each other with a fist'n'knee bump...

...before deciding they should pose for a "normal-looking" photo.

We expected to really get some speed going back down, but found that the 6% grade wasn't quite enough to get us going at scary velocities. But we enjoyed the eighteen mile downhill even if we could only cruise at 25mph or so. Forty minutes later we were at the bottom and heading back to our host's house for a shower and relaxation.

Our Warmshowers host, Casey, mentioned that they had some pork chops and a cabbage, so Sarah and I volunteered to add a few more ingredients (a baguette and a dinner salad) and cook dinner for our hosts. Everything turned out great, and we enjoyed an evening talking and eating at the kitchen table.

Today's route:


  1. Sarah if we get the opportunity, Craig very much needs to cycle in Rainier as well

    1. I wholeheartedly agree! Craig was planning on cycling more in the Pacific NW after our loop around the Olympic Peninsula. But some mechanical issues (to be explained in a later post) altered his plans.

    2. Damn! Nuthin worse than mechanical issues! I am betting he will have another chance someday!


I would love to hear your comments on this post!