On the weekend of July the 12th we had the first ever Raspberry Ramble mini-series. All three routes shared common roads, so I had them start at the same time of the day. Earlier in the week, the temperatures had been hovering in the upper 90s, which can make for challenging conditions. Fortunately, a cool front moved through the area for the weekend, providing perfect temperatures in the range of 55 to 85F. Seven riders started, all doing either a 300, 400 or 600km brevet. As I was riding with the group I didn’t get a lot shots.
The first part of the ride is very flat as we head north out of Logan (Utah) and into the rural part of this beautiful Cache Valley. Everyone generally stayed together as we passed the first informational checkpoint and then onto Preston Idaho for the first c-store checkpoint at mile 32. From there the route starts with a series of rollers and finally begins the biggest climb of the event, a 2700-foot climb up Strawberry Creek Canyon. This is also the same route for LoToJa (longest sanctioned road race in the USA) and quickly separates the fields in that race. It likewise separated our group and many riders were not seen together again until mile 97 at Garden City, on the west side of Bear Lake. At the bottom of this climb (which had a nice incline, nothing over 6% I believe), the 300km riders (Derek & Daniel) split off, while the others proceeded down to make a loop around Bear Lake. The two 300k riders became separated so they ended up riding alone most of the day.
At Garden City, on the west side of the lake, many stopped for lunch before proceeding around the lake and then finally onto the town of Montpelier Idaho. There was some cross wind activity as we approached Montpelier, but then it became a nice tail wind as we heading into Soda Springs. Most riders stopped at the Subway in Soda Springs at mile 181 (for those on the 400 & 600km route) and fueled up again, before making their way south and back to the start point in Logan. The next segment was a long one with no services, so many of us took a third water bottle for insurance. David left Soda Springs after dark and got a double-flat (road debris) shortly after departing. He was riding alone at that point and was tiring quickly. He decided to backtrack and just get a room in Soda Springs, calling it quits on finishing this 600km, returning to Logan the following morning. Earlier, Dan and Ronaele passed through Soda Springs also making their way back to the motel without incident. Ronaele finished at about 12:30 a.m., completing one of her best (fastest) 400km brevets yet.
Kerin, Carlton and myself had been riding together since mile 151 and stayed as a group all the way back to Logan at mile 260. It seemed too good to be true, but the winds changed, now giving us a tail wind, while heading south (atypical for this area). The 300km riders, earlier in the day, had a stiff headwind along this section. We pulled into Logan at about 10:30 p.m. well ahead of my predicted schedule. Kerin had finished her 400km and headed off to bed.
Carlton and I got some major calories ingested while at the motel and then proceeded out to finish the last 200km of our route, without stopping to sleep. Dan, on the other hand, arrived a few hours behind us, did sleep for 3 or 4 hours before heading back out, in classic Rando-time-trial mode (i.e. solo). Carlton and I arrived at the turn-around, at Golden Spike National Monument at about 2 a.m. I was very, very tired so we took a 45-minute power nap in the atrium of the entrance, which was warm and carpeted. We then backtracked our route for a few miles, and it was not particularly cool outside as we barely needed wind shells (~60F). After stopping for a sit-down breakfast at the Silver Eagle in Corrine (mile 339), we finished up the route, setting a new personal record for Carlton for a 600k. Dan arrived several hours later in good spirits and seemed to have energy to spare.
Thanks to all for participating and hopefully we’ll have a larger group next year.