2012 Raspberry Ramble 400K Report

The route I had designed for the Raspberry Ramble 400K (250 miles) was one that started at about 4,000 feet in Brigham City and eventually climbed up Logan Canyon to 8,000 feet before dropping back down to Bear Lake. Several days before the scheduled date, the forecast for that Saturday was 80% chance of 1-2″ of snow at 8,000 feet. Concerned for the safety of the cyclists making the fast and steep descent into Bear Lake, the decision was made to overhaul the route, keeping it at more moderate elevations. In addition to the snow and precipitation, the forecast also called for winds picking up to 20-25 MPH mid-day, carrying on all day long and into the evening. Despite revising the route, I was ready to cancel the whole brevet, due to the severe winds. Because of those that had traveled out of state to make this ride, I didn’t feel I good, so we proceeded as planned with a 4:30 a.m. start from Brigham City.

Four of us made our way up Sardine Canyon in moderate temperatures of about 45F. Lawrence, as the elder of the group, was bringing up the rear. Eventually he was joined by Dan, as Jeff and I made the ascent and descent into Logan. An interesting note about this brevet is that both Jeff and Lawrence were using this brevet as a qualifier for Furnace Creek 508. Lawrence had determined the night before that he only wanted to finish the first 2/3s of the route, due to the inclement weather and tricky routefinding on the last third. He would qualify later for FC508. Jeff arrived at the first checkpoint in Preston Idaho, some 50 miles into the ride. I was a few minutes behind him. Conor Carroll, a seasoned randonneur was providing support and was there with refreshments. Later in the morning Jeff and I separated (yes I manged to miss a turn, requiring a few extra bonus miles) and at about 11:30 a.m., as forecasted, the winds and rain started to pick up. Dan and Lawrence keep together throughout the day however.

When I arrived at the Golden Spike National Monument visitor center I found that Jeff, who had no rain gear, had arrived previously but was very cold and wet with a mild case of hypothermia. The staff at the visitor’s center, assisted by Conor Caroll, took him in, providing him with some warm wool clothing that is used by the volunteers and staff at the visitor’s center. They had a washer and dryer on premises, so he put his cycling apparel inside to dry out and providing him with hot cocoa also! Finally after his clothes were dried out, he and I proceeded on our way, passing Lawrence and Dan as they were approaching this checkpoint.

As the day finally turned out….the rain quit for several hours in the early evening, but later picked up again at about 11:00 p.m. (the wind never abated all day). Dan and Lawrence got back to the motel after finishing 160 miles and were done. Dan, having been in Europe for the past two weeks, had not had much of a chance to train before this event. Jeff finished, just as the rain started to pick up again. I was about 30 minutes behind him and got hit by a lot of blowing rain while traveling north on US-89. The puddles were deep at times, but due to the late hour, I was able to take up a whole lane of traffic weaving in and out of pools of rain.

Many thanks to Conor for driving SAG and providing encouragement on this wet and windy day.

~ Richard