When someone uses the phrase “bucket list” within my hearing, I want to give them a snot-laden cycling glove across the chops. Because when you use a dead metaphor like that one in connection with the topic of mortality, it means that you don’t adequately appreciate the finality of mortality. “Dead metaphor,” get it? Death deserves his due, as they say, whatever the hell they think they mean by that. I’m saying that dead metaphors do not serve the vital function of warding off death.
The only reason I bring that up is because if 1) you live in the Pacific Northwest and 2) you are a Cyclist and 3) you have not ridden Hurricane Ridge, well, you should, while you can. Here’s why: it’s an HC climb that begins at the salt water of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and climbs, without relent, to 1600 meters. ‘Muricans, do the math. (Hint: it’s 5242 feet.) It’s not a steep climb, but it’s a damned long one that doesn’t give you a break, and it’s entirely up to you how you let it treat you. That’s freedom. That’s life, which we all understand to be the opposite of death.
This ride also offers the strange and exotic opportunity to stay at El Rancho del Stumpo del Norte, free of charge. El Rancho–the beginning and end of the route–is a demi-funky log home with an outbuilding and lots of covered porch area on five secluded acres about ten miles east of Sequim. (That’s right; it’s nowhere.) There is effectively unlimited camping space, whether that means pitching a tent or throwing a sleeping bag on the porch or passing out “dead” drunk on the rocked-in fire pit in the back yard. There will be unlimited supplies of ale; there will be music indoors and out; there will be fire and food cooked over fire. There will be The Most Interesting Dog in the World.
More importantly, there will be Velominati. And their bikes. And a big fucking climb. And, as should follow, one of the funnest descents ever: smooth pavement, light traffic, and views that tempt you to divert your gaze from your line at high rates of speed.
The details of the route are to be determined; ongoing work on Hwy 101 will determine some details. But this is the general idea: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/387985892. Basically, we’re talking 150km, roughly, with a 1600-meter climb in the middle of it, with maybe 2400 meters of total elevation gain. Have a look at the route, and you’ll see a very symmetrical pattern: a flat, a climb, a flat. You could, I suppose, use an internal combustion device to avoid the flat bits. I don’t know why you would, but you could. There are ample opportunities to water up or refuel in Sequim and in Port Angeles, which is at the beginning of the business. At the top of Hurricane Ridge, there’s a lodge with basic services (water, bathrooms, and crap food). For detailed info, email me at davidbrande(aht)gmail(dawt)com.