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gravl

Outdoor adventures, mostly gravel rides, but not always

#Festive500

Rapha's annual winter challenge to ride 500KM in the eight days between Christmas Eve Day and New Years' Eve Day.

Waiting

I’m a huge fan of Rapha’s annual #Festive500 challenge. The challenge rules are simple: ride 500KM in the 8 days between Christmas Eve and New Years' Eve, inclusive. I look forward to it every year because there’s something about riding in the cold, dark, wind, and rain which appeals to me.

Capital Forest

Variation on the challenging Evergreen Grinder 50 mile race route through the beautiful and vast Capital Forest in Olympia.

Quiet gravel roads

I rode the Capital Forest once before, for the 2019 Cascadia Super Gravel and I got lit up. I was riding my 29er mountain bike on which I didn’t have many miles and I had almost no idea what I was doing racing on gravel. I remember the climbs being steep, the descents fast, and the overall environment pretty incredible.

3 Valleys

Quiet farm roads with rolling climbs, great views, and plenty to explore.

Egg & I

Fantasic tour under blue skies, under falling leaves, and quiet roads among farmland. I started the ride from BI on the normal loop to Port Gamble with a small detour for a road closure.

Royal Basin

One of the more beautiful hikes in the Olympics, especially for visiting high alpine lakes.

Stunning glacial blue lakes

I hadn’t been to Royal Lake since a backpacking trip in July 2011. At the time we were unable to make it to the upper basin because of a late melting snow pack. I was excited to explore the upper basin on this trip as over the last few years I had become pretty familiar with the region from prior rides and hikes.

Babyshoe Pass

Cascade gravel with resplendent views of lakes, mountains, and trees.

Mt Adams visible ahead

I’d been planning this ride for months ever since reading about the climb to Babyshoe Pass in BQ. The climb from Highway 12 to the summit at the intersection with FS 2150 has an average grade of 6% and a max grade of 20% with soft, loose gravel and rough washboard making it tough to keep traction and rhythm.

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