Seattle Int'l Randonneurs SIR
Mountain 100 km Populaire

Ride: Mountain 100 km Populaire
Organizer: Jan Heine
Date: Sunday, September 24, 2006
Start Time: 8:30 a.m. sharp (be there to sign in at 8:15 at the latest)
Start Location: The Issaquah Park and Ride Parking Lot is still just a giant construction zone. There is a smaller, intact parking lot just across Newport at Tibbets field where the ride will start.
Address: Corner of SR-900 and Newport Way, Issaquah (Directions by bike: Take the usual route east, across I-90, Mercer Island, bike path, etc., to Newport Way. As you enter Issaquah, the field is on the right side after the first big light where you cross SR-900).
Entry Fee: None, all are welcome (SIR members or not).

Entry Form:

Notes: The rules requiring lights and fenders will be waived for this ride. Be prepared to navigate according to a route sheet in the 'burbs with many opportunities to get lost.

Time Limit: All riders should finish the ride within 6 hours 40 minutes.

Course Description (may be modified to make use of new roads built in recent months): Same as last year: Start with the challenging, long Zoo climb of Cougar Mountain. For newcomers, don't despair - this is the most difficult of all the climbs on the ride. After you almost reach the sky, you drop down again to Lake Sammamish, only to climb Cougar again, this time the gentler, less steep side. A well-earned rest on rolling roads along Coal Creek and in the Maple Valley lead to Tiger Mountain, which from this side is neither as steep nor as long as some say it is. An exhilarating descent and a few fast miles put you back into Issaquah, from where you will climb up to the Sammamish Pateau. A rest at the coffee shop in Carnation leaves you strengthened for the finale of the ride: Tolt Hill both is longer and steeper than you anticipate, probably the hardest mentally of all the hills. With not much time to rest, Duthie Hill follows, then a very fast descent into Issaquah, where the finale is on the devilishly steep Mount Olympus Drive. When you think you have reached the top - Mount Everest Drive - the road turns and climbs some more. But the finish is not far, and there always is a party at the top. Really, how bad can a ride of 110 km with just 7 little hills really be? In fact, the climbs make up only about 8 miles/13 km of this 110 km ride - the rest is flat or gently rolling. (110 km, 1650 m/5400 ft of elevation gain).

End of the ride: Issaquah Park and Ride Parking Lot

Route Sheet

For those not familiar with the event, a quick FAQ:

1. Who can participate? The ride is open to all. There is no fee for the ride. Simply show up at the start, sign a waiver, get a route sheet and brevet card.

2. How long is the ride? It is about 110 km (69 miles) long.

3. How difficult is the ride? It is the most difficult 69 miles we could find near Seattle. If you like hills, you will like this ride.

4. Do you recommend this ride for beginning randonneurs? We have had a number of beginning randonneurs do this ride. If you like hills, you will be fine. If you do not like hills, it will be a challenge. If you like challenging yourself, you will be fine. The hills are steep, but none are longer than 2 miles. In the past, riders have walked the steepest parts and still finished within the time limit.

It is worth noting that the course does a figure 8. At about half-way, you are back in Issaquah, about 2 miles from the start. So if you find that you are not having fun any longer, you can abandon with few problems. Of course, you would miss the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley, the Carnation bakery and the stellar climbs of Tolt Hill, Duthie Hill and Mount Olympus Drive. And you wouldn't get a medal (assuming we have medals this year).

5. Are all randonneur rides this hilly? No. We do like scenic courses in the mountains, but most of our rides are less hilly.

6. Do I need special equipment? No. Any bicycle will do. Low gears are advisable. A cue sheet holder is advisable, too (see below). Unless you have a good sense for distances, a bike computer is very helpful to follow the cue sheet. Bring enough food and drink for the distance, or money to buy food (the ride is unsupported). There are several places where you can buy food and get water, roughly at half and 3/4 of the distance.

7. Will the route be signed? No. Randonneur rides are self-supported. You get a cue sheet with distances that tells you when and where to turn, but there will be nothing on the road to show you where to go. Because navigation in the suburbs can be tricky, it helps to have the route sheet visible at all times. If that is not possible, I recommend checking the sheet frequently to make sure you are not going straight where you should turn.

8. Is this a race? No. Everybody who finishes within the time limit gets a medal. That said, some riders like to challenge themselves and see how fast they can go. The record for the event is 4:07 minutes, but it should be possible to go quite a bit faster than that. The time limit is 6:40 hours.

9. Anything else? The first hill ("Zoo Hill" on Cougar Mountain) is the steepest, so if that one taxes you, don't despair. For a description of the course, check the archive at

More questions? Feel free to ask.

Last Updated: 09.15.06


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