Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ride of the Week: Rambo Road (the hard way)

A while back, I posted the first of an anticipated "Ride of the Week" series. This might lead some readers to think that a regular, weekly post was implied. And indeed, that was my intention. Now, what's that expression about good intentions?

Rider Three had a nicely written (as usual) post earlier this week about the many things happening in his life. I too can play at that game, but frankly while I might think my life is interesting, I'd be surprised if our dear readers would agree.

So instead I'll give you the short version. Ready? Work has been insanely busy, in the past month I've sold a house, moved into a rental and am about to break ground on a new place, and then there's the occasional time with family and friends and riding.

OK, the litany of excuses is now complete!

Ride of the Week: Rambo Road

In the Spokane area, there are a number of excellent standard rides: Hangman Valley, variations of rides to and from Cheney, like the Betz Road loop I talked about, the Centennial Trial, Four Mounds and more.

Surprisingly, the Rambo Road loop is rarely ridden solo or with groups, at least with the set I, um, roll with. It's surprising because it's a fantastic set of roads: little traffic, nice climbs, even a bit of gravel/dirt roads if you choose to throw it in.

Here's a link to the Garmin file that has all kinds of groovy features. Note: when I did this ride I linked up with Rider 2. We both felt like llama poo on the day, and it's reflected in our average speed, heart rate, etc.

Click for details...

This ride is also really easy to access if you're downtown--it stems right off of the north end of the Centennial Trail. Nice stuff, and closed to traffic.

From there you hang a left at Seven Mile, and begin a nice gradual climb towards Four Mounds. That is until you take a left on Garfield followed by a right onto Lincoln. Things then quickly get interesting.

You might have noticed that part of this post's title is "the hard way." Why? Because Lincoln is hellahard. Not terribly long--maybe 5 minutes--but it's steep at the beginning and gets steeper as you climb. It's a great climb though, and always a good test, or at least a way to make yourself vomit a little bit if you try to keep up with Rider 2.

First Rider 2 showed up in an illegal jersey. Then he made things worse by refusing to shift out of his 19 on the climb. Thanks!

From the top of the climb there's a brief respite, a fast little descent followed by a couple of short power climbs, then a couple of longer slogs after you turn onto Rambo. This is a beautiful part of Spokane, I think. There are a couple of impressive valleys, green fields, and occasionally shady roads.

Eventually you'll loop around on a series of quiet roads, ending up on Trails Road, which is most definitely not quiet. By the standards of other places I've spent time riding in--NY, Seattle, Orange County, Boulder--it's a road with few cars. But in Spokane, it has traffic.

But there's a secret...check out the map, and make your way to Mission Avenue, avoiding Trails. This is an absolutely beautiful section of hardpack dirt and gravel. And I know, not everyone appreciates "vitamin G," but you'll be fine. Really. And your bike--the one with a "stiff bottom bracket, yet vertically compliant, borne from the cobbles of Belgium," will be fine too. (yes, I'm being sarcastic and a hair judgmental, thanks for noticing.)

Rider 2 was so busy doing a Spartacus impression that he didn't notice I stopped to take a picture.

And now, for a highly unscientific set of ratings:

Ride: Rambo Road
Lumpiness Rating: 4/5
Traffic: 2/5
Things I've seen on this ride: Rider 2's shorts, lots of basalt, green fields, a big-ass climb, a casino.

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