What a gorgeous ride. I had never done this before and am glad I got the chance. Three of us went up Saturday morning. The sky was crystal clear so we slathered on the sunscreen before leaving the Blue River Ranger Station.
The climb up was never steep, it was just relentless. Looking at the profile in Ascent, I think there's a stretch of at least 12 miles with literally not a single level spot on it. It certainly felt that way.
The view from the top was stunning. We climbed up to the very top of the observatory and hammed it up a bit:
"I'm on top of the world Ma!"
We then headed down the other side to Sisters. I got ahead of the group and was blasting down the road. I glanced down to check my GPS and when I looked up the (closed) gate was practically right in front of me.
Well, I obviously managed to stop in time but if I hadn't, the two riders just on the other side of the gate would have quite the story to tell of 'the time this guy flew 50 feet after hitting the gate!'
We made it in to Sisters and stopped to sit a bit, eat, and refill our water bottles. Then it was back on the road and upwards.
Kevin got a flat so Dave and I waited for him at the gate and then went up to the summit again. I still had a little pep in the legs so I tried to pick off all the rabbits and managed to get all but one.
We started back down with a group and I took the opportunity to ride with descenders that were much more skilled than I. I don't think I've ever had that much fun on a bike before, descending through the technical switchbacks in a fairly large group.
On the way back we stopped for pizza & beer, the perfect end to a perfect day.