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211 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking of doing Ramrod but tickets are kind of hard to come by as the ride is limited to 800 riders. I dont think I would ride it as a bandit but maybe some of you have. I was wondering what your experience was if you were a "bandit". I am guessing you can put together your own rest stops with convenience stores-gas along the way. I know some of the other riders dont like bandits. :)

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33 Posts

I think the biggest risks with bandits on the RAMROD is the potential for the park service to yank the approval for the ride if the 800 limit is not followed. Also last year many of the bandits had their own support vehicles. One of the reasons the ride is on Thursday is to reduce the traffic on the route -- the personal support vehicles did nothing to enhance the riding experience for the other riders.

RAMROD is a true gem of Northwest rides and it would be a shame to have the permisson for the ride yanked.

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2,274 Posts

I sort of agree, doing a "full" bandit ride is perhaps not the right thing. On the other hand, just because some promotor has 'permission' fto put on a paid ride, it shouldn't make the route "his" exclusive property for that day. If that kinda precedent gets a foot hold, we may find ourselves having to always pay some 'outfitter' or "ride organizer" for a permit to ride our favorite routes..

For a worse case example of a similar situation, consider how it now works on some of our public property rivers. It "was decided" that only a certain number of people could be 'allowed" on a river at one time. It "was decided" that organized trips should have priority. ($..?) Commercial interests ("River Companies") now hold a vast majority of the "permits" for these trips down the most popular rivers. If you are just a citizen wanting to go on your own (like a bike rider just wanting to go ride on some highway, without an organized, paid, permitted ride support group) you must first apply to a lottery drawing for one of the few private trip sometimes takes many many years before you get(permission) to go..The commercial outfitters, the organizers, on the other hand, get the lion's share of all the possible trip permits. If you are caught on that river without a permit, you get a huge fine. They have River Cops to make sure you have your permits, etc. Stopping the "bandits"..

Do we want to be required to have a permit to ride on our more popular roads? Do we want the Park Service (or the state troopers) to be able to say, "Sorry, we already have X-number of cycling permits issued for today, you can't ride here..unsafe, blah blah blah.."? Do we want to have to pay some money-maker who's pre-paid (like the river running companies do) for all the available cycling permits for popular riding areas like, say, Yellowstone park, or the San Juan Islands, the Markleeville alpine passes, or whatever? Probably not.

So, bandit-ing a ride is probably not a good idea. On the other hand, letting organized rides gain any kind of perceived "priority" for any route on any day is not a good idea, either. Letting our "babysitters" in government keep us off public roads because they've already 'sold' that road for the day is not a good idea. Letting them limit the number of cyclists to JUST permitted riders is not a good idea. (can you say 'Bicycle Riders License?) shhh...

If riding with a large number of cyclists of varying skills on a titled ride on one certain day is what appeals to you and you've not succeeded in getting registered with the organizers in time to be an accepted participant of that paid ride, just go on you own. Carry your own water and food, though. That is only fair. It is a public road and you are allowed to be, I'd prefer to go some other day without the crowd..I have plenty of t-shirts...

Don Hanson

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211 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Bandits Report

Heres a bandits report from last years race. This guy was a pretty strong rider and finished near the front. I figure it would take me at least another 90 minutes to finish. I figure its possible a couple of riders with tickets might cancel at the last minute. Anyway I thought it was a nice read.

So I poached the RAMROD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day) today. Yes
I know I'm not supposed to (scold me if you like but I'm not
listening), but it's not like I haven't tried for 4 years to get in
that dang ride but it's just too restrictive (probably 3-4,000 vying
for 800 spots). Besides, hold a huge epic organized ride in my town
and I'm there one way or another.

The ride, for those who are not familiar with it starts in Enumclaw and
travel around the mountain counter-clockwise through Eatonville, up to
Paradise, around the backside, up Cayuse Pass, and then downhill to
Enumclaw. 156 miles and 10,000' of climbing, child's play and a good
warm-up for the Triple Crown. I've ridden it twice, once on a whim
when I first moved to Enumclaw and then a couple of years ago on the

Well the ride was as always an epic exercise in pain and suffering
(only the last 46 I guess). I've been commuting to work and back 2-3
times a week in July (22 miles each way) but my longest continual road
ride this year was 35 miles (a little shy of 156). So I new from the
start this was going to hurt. There were somewhere around 900 riders
(800 registered, 100+/- "bandits") leaving anywhere from 5 - 7 am this
morning. I rolled out of home and through the start area at 5:30.
There were already at least 200 cyclists on the road already. Within
10 miles the first tandem flew by and I jumped on the back end with a
few other guys. 10 miles later the slowed from it's breakneck pace,
all but me abandoning the tandem thinking they could make better time
on their own. For the next 5 miles those riders road about 30 feet in
front of that tandem while I sucked wheel and got a free ride. Another
tandem zips by with 15 riders strung off the back end. I bail on the
one tandem on jump on the end of the train. That tandem which was
averaging around 24 mph pulled over just outside of Eatonvile. I
rolled through Eatonville and passed the first rest stop. We, on the
tandem train, had probably passed 100 people up to this point, and I
rolled right be another 20 at the rest stop. After Eatonville is the
first set of hills which probably climb 800' or so, another 20 riders
down. I drop down out of the hills and get on the main road to the
Park entrance on the West side. It's about 20+ miles to the entrance
and it becomes apparent that I will not likely see any more tandems
today (delayed by the hills), but I'm ever hopeful. I pass groups of
2, 4 (where are all the fast people?), I don't want to have to push
wind this whole ride. Two miles before the entrance a quick group
comes by and once again we're at mach speed. I use my Eagle Pass at
the toll booth while registered riders whiz by in the "special" lane
(the Volunteer sounds off "another Bandit!"). Another rest stop, for
the registered riders, and I blow by thus negating the toll booth
trajedy. The long climb to Paradise starts, luckily in Mt. bike terms
it's a cakewalk with hardly a grade to it. Apparently not the opinion
of many of the road riders and they drop like flies. One European kid
jams on me and the guy I spent most of the hill riding with like we're
standing still. My new friend bridges the gap immediately before
blowing up given the wicked pace I'm back on him in a minute. I stop
for 10 minutes at Paradise for a stretch, half my Panini, and a nature
break. A guy rolls up that I've been riding with a majority of the
ride, another "bandit". As it turns out Pat works closely with Peter
Partel. We roll out of Paradise, the first decent. I do my best road
racing tuck and in a mile I'm 200 yds up on everyone around me, Paolo
Salvodeli would be proud. Then my patch kit bounces out of my
overstuffed "self supported bandit" jersey pockets and hits the ground,
exploding on impact. I stop, ride back and pick up the pieces and
begin the chase, so much for the slick tuck. I assume the position
again and immediately catch the group, blowing by about 100 yds until
my neck gets tired from the position and I have to descend at a normal
pace. The group, pedaling, reel me in. We ascend a small climb
together and as luck would have it another rest stop, "later boys".
Pat and I jam on. Another long descent, the tuck saves me the pedaling
but dang my neck is killing me (now I'm getting punished for not
riding). Now the ugliness begins, Cayuse Pass. It come at mile 103
and is only about 6 miles and 3,000' but it's in the heat of the day
and after some 6,000'. Today was no exception, it must have been 90 F,
and it was brutal. Pat took off and half way up I chased him down, big
mistake. I rode at Pat's pace and with 1 mile to go I blew up, I was
"burnt toast". I kept grinding slowly up the hill, if I can get the to
top I'll rest and eat second lunch. About 7 people caught me in the
last mile and I had to stop for a nature break 1/4 mile from the top
(good excuse). A good rest and second lunch at the top of Cayuse Pass
while the masses surged by, no big deal they'll all stop at the rest
stop at the bottom of the hill. As always Hwy 410 had a wicked
headwind blowing up the canyon (20 mph?). People must have taken a
long rest at the last rest stop as when it came to paceline options
there were none. A woman (another bandit) who had jammed on me in the
last 1/2 mile of Cayuse (dang chicked again!) pulled out rest stop and
blew by. Me and another guy hopped on but he was gone in an instant.
Ok she started at 5 am, but she was working me. She was strong and I
didn't think I could hang, but after a couple pulls, lunch started to
take effect and I began to recover. We were both working really hard
and 1 mile out of Greenwater a fast paceline rolls by and we hop on. I
was getting low on water though and felt a stop at the Greenwater store
for some Gatorade would be prudent. I had to wave bye to my free ride
home (1 mile, what a tease). That's ok another will be on the way
shortly. A quick break and I was riding again, but no pacelines. I
rode about halfway to Enumclaw until I spotted 4 riders back, I stopped
pedaling and waited. I jumped on the back and we took turns pulling at
23-24 mph all the way home. We rolled in being the 20-25th riders of
the day (a dubious distinction given the 2 hr start window but
certainly respectable). Total elapsed time 9 hr 15 min.

What a blast! I can't wait until next year, I should be recovered by

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2,274 Posts
Race? RAMROD? Nope!

Nice story..but..

So again someone has confused a ride with a race. Happens all the time. Organized rides are not races.

Same thing happens at Track Days with fancy performance cars. People go to club organized days at various road race courses around the country, go for a fee and drive on the racetracks and then say "Boy, I was the fastest car out there, nobody passed me all day, I passed that ______(fill in the blank) like he was standing still", etc, etc. Blah blah blah..Like they 'won' the track day..Put them in a real race and they would be DFL or off the track in the first corner..

A group century ride or a longer one like ramrod, they are simply NOT races, even if you (personally) decide to make it into one (in your own mind). Problem is: Nobody else is racing..problem is: You can always come up with an excuse as to why you lost all those minutes hadda stop at the toll booth, line at the porto-potty, wind came up while I was on course, etc etc.

A Race, on the other hand, is just that. You all leave point A at the same time, all riders using the same rules, all with an equal chance of winning the race. If you don't win, you can make all the excuses in the world, but you still didn't win. You didn't cross the finish line before all the others in the race.. All the people you pass in a race are trying, as hard as they can, to stay ahead of you..They KNOW you are all racing. No tandem wheels to grab hold of,,it is head to head, you against everyone else or you and your team against the rest of the teams and their star riders..

Organized rides, the vast majority of riders are out there just to finish and have no idea someone who is passing them may be thinking about "putting another rider behind" Nobody cares much, though you can have some fun trying to dice with riders along the way. But, if you "put the hurt" on someone in a group ride, he may just sit up and wave bye bye to you. In a race, he's sitting there watching your ride away, planning on how to jump you back again, if he can..

If you want or need a way to test your speed against others, you must race. If you think finishing up front in a group ride is just as good as winning a race, why aren't you racing? If you need a true test, put it all on the line and enter a only have your self-esteem to damage. If you want to think, "heck, I can beat all those racer-guys, I was top ten in RAMROD" well, whatever turns your cranks is ok, but you would be deluding yourself or else, why not try it and see?

Two very very different ways to ride your bike..both enjoyable, but not interchangable..
Ciao, Don Hanson

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211 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ramrod used to be a race but after 1998 the Department of Transportation told them it couldnt be a race and they stopped taking times. For the record in 1997 and in 1998 there were very few riders over 60. The fastest mens time is a little over 7 hours and the fastest womans time is a little over 8 hours. For guys 55-59 the record is 8:35 and for guys over 60 the record is only 11:04. The fall off in riders over 60 is signifcant, like only 8-9 out of more than 1200 riders in 97-98.

As with a lot of century rides there are still a lot of riders who want to set some sort of personal achievement like under 9 or something. Unfortunately there are not a lot of big rides-races around here. I might have to do the Tour De Tucson someday.

There are about 30-40 names up on the board for Ramrod looking for tickets plus another handful over on Craigslist. Guys are offering $125 for the $86 tickets. So far no tickets up on Ebay-not like football tickets-yet anyway.

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2,274 Posts

Kind of off the topic of the thread, but outside the US, there are many events similar to what I understand the Tour of Tucson is like..During the Tours of France, Italy, Spaing, etc. they hold contests/races for anyone/everyone on some of the stage routes days preceeding the big races.. They time the competators, giving everyone a true measure of their performance on that day on that course. You can also compare your own time to supermen like the paid pros. Not a traditional race, but close enough. I certainly wish we'd see some similar events in the US, but given our legal system and our penchant to 'over-protect' everyone with rules, we probably won't see anything like that here. In fact, I am really surprised that Arizona allows the Tour of Tucson to continue..someone will "scrape their wittle knees", or something, one of these days and some lawyer will file a contingency lawsuit on the state....that will end that, most likely..

Don Hanson
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