Image is from this Japanese blog http://www.pedal-j.com/archives/52172659.html
Enjoy the weekend, do something new. This S1 kit is just as happy off the road as it is on it.
When the alarm on my phone goes off in the morning, I panic to quiet it as soon as possible. My wife is kind enough to ignore that I am leaving before dawn, I don’t need to wake her up in the process. Today as I fumbled with the contraption that is way too thin for 3:45 AM, my first thought is, “No, not yet.” I try to rub the sleep from my eyes, but it is stuck, tempting me back to bed.
I had gotten a tip a week ago that the paved road up to the Sunrise Lodge on the North side of Mt. Rainier would be open to traffic over the weekend, but then closed again for the week before it officially opened for the summer 4 days later. This meant that there was a four day engagement of a car free, gated, 10 mile climb to the highest driveable spot in Mt. Rainier National Park.
The mountain makes its’ own weather, so I had packed the kitchen sink. By the time I rolled away from the car on my Rock Lobster road bike, the sun was calling for knee warmers and long sleeves. I made sure to stash some gloves and a jacket in my pack for the ride off the mountain.
Road climbs, no matter how big, don’t seem to leave a pit in my stomach like gravel forest service roads do. Probably because I know in the back of my mind that Elmer and his RV need to be able to drive to the top, thus making the grade steady and mild. The first mile after turning off of Highway 410 was downhill, giving me a minute or two to warm up the legs. A quick stop at the ranger station ($5) and the climbing begins.
The following five miles deceptively roll up along side the White River to the campground where the road was gated. “Road closed. Recreational use allowed on roadway.” The next ten miles are made up of four traverses, cutting uphill back and forth across the mountain. The road begins by snaking its was across endlessly to the first u-turn. Followed by two straight as an arrow switchbacks. Suddenly, at 6,100 feet, the trees disappear and the road bends around Sunrise Point. The view is incredible.
The mountain side surrounding the last leg of the climb is entirely different from anything up to this point. The trees recede and alpine meadows replace them. I startle grazing elk as I silently climb through the silence. My labored breathing is by far the loudest noise for miles. The giant parking area at the lodge was completely empty and Mt. Rainier towers above in the background. I stay long enough for a picture and a bite to eat before turning back towards the car.
The trip down the mountain was a literal blur. The long straight roads allowed for the perfect tucked position, leaning out on the front wheel. Any small mishap would have made for a long skid across the pavement. Around the gate, past the still empty ranger station and up to the car I couldn’t help but to feel fortunate for being able to climb the road absent of traffic in such great weather. It is days like this, when I struggle on those dark, cold, early mornings to get out of bed, that will motivate me to get my feet on the floor and ass on the bike.
#tbt to the day I first lay eyes on my track bike. 9 months of planning, collecting custom parts from around the world for the bike to be ready #NAHBS 2012 -
@busymanbicycles @darrenbaum @mashsf @enveaus @baumcycles @darrenbaum just all nailed this so well. Innovate or die. It went on to win #bikeofthebunch on @cyclingtips and still one of their highest viewed features to this day. Currently lurking at home for the first time since I owned it waiting for track season to start! The bike would pop up on a Instagram feed or website once a month that people alert me to. So happy how it turned out. I had to convince Baum to paint it Rapha colors, now they’ll do it for anyone who wants them… That’s probably my only regret with it - that it isn’t exclusive any more. I still love it and it rides so sweet! #sttb
So nice, almost perfect.