Saturday was the 29th annual I Made The Grade in Clarkston, WA. The ride is a short 17.5 mile course with a 6.5 - 7 mile climb out of the valley at the end. The final climb covers approximatley 1837 feet of elevation change. Ellensburg was represented by three riders - myself, Chris Bruya and John Brown. For John this was his 5th time at the ride, my second (and first in 25 yrs) and Chris' first time.
For most people the ride is a fun and social event. For probably 20-30 of us it's a serious racing event with a lot of jockeying for position before the hill. I chose to ride my 1984 Gitane Tour de France, Chris was on his beautiful red and white Sekai and John had a blue and white Specialized Roubaix.
The lead group jumped out pretty quick and suddenly settled into a slow pace at around 19-20 miles per hour. It seemed nobody really wanted to get out and lead the group to the hill. So, after a couple of miles about 5 of us got serious and picked the pace up to 23.5 to 24 mph. It was a blast to be in this group and riding just inches off the wheel of the rider in front of me.
I think we all had a nice sense of accomplishment after the ride and enjoyed the best part - riding back down to the start finish.
Next year is the 30th anniversary of the ride and we need some more Ellensburg representation.
The truck loaded with our family "team" bikes