Ride the Hurricane (Hurricane Ridge)

Some 4,500 to 5,000 feet of vertical gain in an 18-mile continuous climb — and then a thrilling swoop back down again. Surrounded every foot of the way by stunning scenery — and on this day, no cars for most of the journey. Such is the glory of the official Ride the Hurricane up Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. Plus, they served chocolate milk at the top!

This was a great follow to the Tour de Lavender the day before. A fantastic cycling weekend in yet another stunning area of Washington.

Needless to say, the two of us did not climb this little hill together — Timothy being a strong climber who had fun reeling people in, and Paula being more than a bit climbing-challenged. Still, it was a fantastic trek for both of us.

Paula went into it more than a bit intimidated. But it actually wasn’t all that hard. Just long. There were no pitches above 9 percent and even those were few. So it was just a matter of grinding it out. And grinding it out some more. And more. For 18 miles. While taking pictures.

Timothy employed his usual methodical approach, being careful not to blow up early on, then breezing past those who pushed too much too soon.

And then, the descent! With no cars! (Just for this ride; usually there’s car traffic, but not all that much).  Being able to blast down amid all that beauty with no worries of cars was simply unforgettable. As one rider said at the gathering afterward: “That descent was the best thing EVER.”