Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mangs Blast into South Central Washington

On the southern side of the state and on the same day as the Whistler Gran Fondo - 5 Mangs also took in a mountain challenge at the Tour de Blast - a ride up from Toutle, Wa to the Johnston Ridge Viewpoint overlooking the Mount St. Helen's blast zone.  It's not a walk in the park - a ride that climbs up a total of 6,200 feet spread over 82 miles.  Mang RichardAllanAldwin,  Jomar and Raf (that's them on the photo from left to right) took on the challenge - here's what a couple of them (Aldwin and Raf) had to say:

"The 3 hr car ride, teriyaki dinner with half-cooked rice,  sharing of hotel room with the guys and all the timangan in between were definitely a blast.  Then the ride happened. It was challenging. A lot of climbing going up to Johnston Ridge, and the hot temps did not help at all. But the long downhill was something else - FAST.  Thanks to Mang Jomar for pulling at the end. Whether Tour de cure, Tour de Blast or Tour de Mercer Island, Team Mang always finds a way to have a BLAST." 
- Mang Aldwin

"The day started with fog blanketing much of the surroundings. It was like wrapping on a present with the awe-inspiring views of Mt St Helens and the Toutle River valley as the gift. Team Mangs Aldwin, Allan, Jomarc, Raf, Richard spent the first few miles of flat terrain warming up. The grade increased gradually even as the gift was slowly getting unwrapped. The team rolled into the first stop at Hoffstadt Bluffs strong and intact. Photos were taken, drinks were replenished. The route inclination thereon increased. Mang Jomarc kept a strong steady pace pulling the team. Eventually, each team member settled into their individual grooves and took on the challenge at their own pace.

The team reunited at the second stop at Elk Rock Viewpoint. The elevation at this stop was high enough to satisfy any sightseer what with Mt St Helens seemingly within arm’s reach and the Toutle River blast zone below. Picture time once more. What followed was bittersweet. The team enjoyed a sweet fast downhill ride for 8 miles crossing over two picturesque bridges that curve to the right revealing its beautiful arch supports. Mangs Jomarc and Raf alternated taking the lead while Mangs Aldwin, Allan, and Richard kept the pressure on. Soon enough the downhill led to the bitter final climb up Johnston Ridge. I must say, though, that the views really made this climb less punishing as the route took on a huge zigzag circuit that we could see below the road that we just rode on evoking both sense of achievement at what we’re doing and marvel at nature’s lithospheric grandeur.

With Mt. St. Helens in the background, Mangs
savor the rewards of their climb
The climb stretched for seven miles. There were other riders who either were curious at what Team Mang meant or recognized us from other rides. Questions were answered, stories were told, smiles were exchanged. On the final turn came Johnston Ridge at last. Finally, the gift was revealed – Mt St Helens at its splendor. The climb was all worth it. Mang Jomarc would be the KOM on this day, followed by Mang Raf, then Mang Aldwin, then Mang Allan and Mang Richard.

The Team enjoyed a fast seven-mile downhill from Johnston Ridge before enduring a slow eight-mile climb back to the Elk Rock Viewpoint stop. It was all downhill from after that. Yesss! Energized by the thought of no more climbing, the Team attacked like jackrabbits with each Mang taking over and overtaking one another for the lead position. Eventually the pace line would settle down with Mang Jomarc pacing the Team to the finish line altogether. Another epic ride on the books! Tour de Blast. Done!"
 - Mang Raf