When the rain reaches biblical proportions in Seattle, Pam and I make our annual trip to Eastern Washington. Kennewick is my old home town, stomping grounds, and where the Horse Heaven Hills are. Back in the day, the hills made for an epic race course. Now it’s a weekend getaway into the sun for us.
As I tweeted , the wind always blows there. The HHH course it’s a good hard man/woman ride with climbs, rollers, and fast descents. You’ll want to bring the good wheels for the chip seal and keep a keen eye on the road for dips and cracks.
Map and Stats
~235 watts, 39x25 into a 20 mph headwind, gusting to 30, an 8% grade, with an 8 to 9 mph average speed for 1.5 hours. Horse Heaven Hills!
I love that ride. You work really hard to get up into the peaceful wheat fields, tempo across the top, and then come roaring back into town with a tailwind. You can’t fight the wind and it’s best to just spin into it with a equilibrium of forward motion and power. If you expend all your energy on the way out and up, you’ll have nothing left for the return. Also, if you’re not used to it, chip seal will suck the power out of our legs. Don’t underestimate the rollers either. They’re leg breakers and many roadies have found themselves over-geared, cresting a roller and dropped on this course.
This ride is East to West.
Up Weber Canyon
Weber Canyon is the same ride in reverse, going West to East. You ascend Weber Canyon, which is much less of an effort and half the climbing time. After the climb push towards Clodfelter, turn left, more work, then a long, fast descent where you’ll smoke your cork brake pads.
Map and Stats
For the Roleurs
Shifting up, putting your head town, and just going is for the roleurs – climbers get pushed around and sprinters wish they had better protection in the field. The entire ride up Clodfelter or Weber is a muscle tension workout. To experience this without going to Kennewick, Wa, attach a sprint parachute to your back and ride to work. You quickly become adept at biomechanics of pedaling smoothing, saving energy, and letting your bike move around in the wind. It’s also best to ignore your speed until you come back at 35 mph. Seeing 7 - 9 MPH for an hour will mess with your head; especially when you try to go faster and are smacked down with the strong hand of the wind.
Note on the locals
For the most part, we’ve never got messed with riding in Eastern Washington, but you should ride the white line and single up when cars approach. Since I’ve lived there, the sprawl and traffic has only gotten worse and we get out of the city limits to ride. We met a couple of cowboys on this trip.
We’ve got many more rides planned, racing, and trave – follow us on Twitter for updates.