A pair of cyclists inspect their bikes before continuing on their way as part of the yearly RAMROD (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) event. Photo by Lee Maples
A pair of cyclists inspect their bikes before continuing on their way as part of the yearly RAMROD (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) event. Photo by Lee Maples

Clear skies and sunshine greeted riders taking part in this year’s RAMROD (Race Around Mount Rainier in One Day), which passed through Eatonville on Thursday.

Traditionally held on the last Thursday in July, the annual event drew hundreds of cyclists for a 150-plus-mile ride, which includes approximately 10,000-feet of accumulated climbing.

The course starts at Thunder Mountain Middle School in Enumclaw, and goes through Orting, Eatonville, Elbe, and Ashford before hitting the Nisqually entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. The climb becomes more pronounced at Longmire (in the park’s Southwest corner), which kicks-off a 12-mile ascent to Inspiration Point — nearly 5,000-feet above sea level. That’s followed by a descent through Stevens Canyon, and another climb to Backbone Ridge, before a five-mile run to the Grove of the Patriarchs and soon after the intersection with Highway 410. At the 100-mile mark, riders reach the climb up Cayuse Pass — considered by many to be the most challenging portion of the ride — with the final descent coming with about 30 miles left in the course. From there, cyclists encounter a gradual descending or rolling course, sans a final run down Mud Mountain Dam less than 10 miles from the finish. Riders are also provided with support throughout the course, with several snack, food, and water stops at various intervals.

Support ends for all cyclists by 8 p.m., at which point the finish line is closed, and riders can either be picked up and returned to the start line, or remove their bib and continue onward without assistance.

The inaugural RAMROD was organized by John Dixon in 1984, and had 45 finishers, and has since grown into the Pacific Northwest’s premiere bicycle rally, with a maximum 800 participants (capped by the National Park Service).

For more information on the event, including a full course description, visit www.redmondcyclingclub.org/RAMROD/RAMROD.html.


Approximately 800 riders took part in the annual event, held each year on the last Thursday in July. Photo by Lee Maples