I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is I found a good Spring 400k route as well as a good Little Lebowski route. The bad news is I didn't get to see the Little Dude this week since his veterinarian recommended against visits. One of his little brothers, Donnie I think it was, was under the weather. You can click on the picture for a better view of the pups. There are only eight in the picture, I hope little Donnie didn't you-know-what-ing die!
But back to the bike rides, the current candidate for a Spring ACP 400k includes an out and back to Lost Lake, a run on the scenic Gorge highways from Hood River to Bingen and back, a trip to Goldendale on US 97, rollers to Lyle on the Centerville road, and an Oregon Trail loop in the canyons east of The Dalles. It was a very beautiful route to drive with the autumn colors still very colorful and bright. The ride times would work well with the nearly full moon and the night roads are all quiet with little traffic. The estimated elevation gain is 14,000 ft but in comparison to the 2006 Klickitat Explorer, it is very similar. Strong wind can be as challenging as steep climbs and my legs hurt just watching the riders on the 2006 Klickitat Explorer battle the you-know-what-wind. The 2008 candidate route has less exposure to the wind, more easily managed controls, and better lodging in Hood River. The Klickitat Explorer staged at the Old Schoolhouse Hostel, a uniquely remarkable experience. All riders finished the Klickitat Explorer except for an injured rider who suffered a tremendous crash within the first hour of the ride. It is a difficult ride however and most riders would be well served to establish a training goal and loose those extra pounds. Fast red Dahons (maybe that should be Dahones?) would be permitted as long as they are within the RUSA rules.
I think I also have a good challenging route for a Little Lebowski Urban Achievers. It is another very beautiful route and the total elevation gain is 16,500 feet. It combines the Lost Lake loop with the 2006 Columbia Hills 300k route. The total estimated elevation gain per 100k exceeds The Big Lebowski by approximately 600ft per 100k. I think this would be a very challenging ride especially as a 400k. The 16,500 feet of vertical gain is very feasible for strong riders who are in really good shape. Guys like me would have to train and work on hill climbing speed to finish in time. There is a bowling alley in Hood River that might serve as
a start and finish and if this route were to be planned for 2008, prospective riders would have plenty of time to search for bowling shirts. The really classic nice ones with league patches are hard to find.