The Destiny Dozen
May 7th 2023 | 8am-2pm
Get ready to challenge yourself with
a tour of Tacoma's toughest hills
The Destiny Dozen is a fundraiser for Second Cycle that will take you
roughly 40 miles around Tacoma, going up 13 of our toughest hills
from Fairbanks to Owen Beach, climbing 4000 feet.
*This is a fundraiser, but no one will be turned away.
We have a sliding scale ticket option available at the registration link.
What is the Destiny Dozen?
This information will continue to be updated, please check back before the ride for the most up to date info.
Will there be a rest stop?
What? There's no rest on the Destiny Dozen! Bwahaha.
Actually, there are restrooms that will be marked on the map. And a sweet rest stop midway, with refreshments, water and restrooms.
Do I need a certain type of bike?
This route can be done on pretty much any bike, although we wouldn’t recommend riding a fixie. It’s been ridden on anything from town bikes to carbon racing bikes. If jamming up hills are not your bag per se, then use a bike that has low enough gearing so that you can spin up it. You can ride an e-bike and get a certificate for completing the entire route. However, e-bike times will not be included in the hill climbing competitions; you have to do the hills entirely on your own pedal power for that.
Make sure your bike is reliable
Make sure your bike is in good mechanical condition prior to the ride. If you need to take it to a shop for maintenance, please allow plenty of time before the ride as shops are very busy now. There is over 3,000 feet of climbing, which means there’s also more than 3,000 feet of descending. Some of these downhills are very steep, and with uneven pavement. Be prudent, look ahead, and make sure you’ve plenty of life left on your brake pads/disc brakes.
Wide tires are helpful
Those who’ve scouted the route rode road, gravel and city bikes. You can do this in 25 mm tires. Though if you have a choice of bikes, a wider tire will be better on Tacoma’s Roubaix-like streets. There are a couple small dirt sections (of course) and one hike a bike section. The route includes a few “chestnuts” (aka nooks and crannies) that most people have never seen before. It will help to expand your route options and show you some interesting parts of Tacoma.
Brief Description of Each Hill
Overall comment: All these hills must be ridden continuously in order to receive credit for completing them. We will be using your Strava trace (or whatever platform you use) to review. It’s fine if you have to walk up a hill or three, but you won’t get credit for riding it. It’s also ok if you get halfway up a hill, turnaround and go back down and make a second attempt to get all the way up.
South 7th Street: Stats: 0.22 miles; 5.8% average grade (includes a bit of downhill); 95 feet climbing. A small punchy climb for the first hill of the day, coming at about one mile into the ride. Just three short blocks of 10%+ to get you warmed up.
Name of Strava segment: My Posse’s On Broadway and up South 7th
North 29th Street: Stats: 0.36 miles; 11.2% average grade; 217 feet climbing.
Steepest block averages 18-19%. Take advantage of the two pedal stroke “flats” that occur at each intersection. You’ll curse any cars coming up or down (“why aren’t you on North 30th street!”). Name of Strava segment: N. 29th Climb
Carr Street: Stats: 0.13 miles; 15.5% average grade; 117 feet climbing.
This is essentially one long block length, but it’s on smooth cobbles and averages over 15%. Name of Strava segment: Carr St, N Tacoma Ave to Yakima
North 36th Street: This climb starts out mellow initially, then gets really punchy as you make the sharp right hand turn. The steep grade continues after the sharp left hander. Considered a Category 4 climb, it rises 270 feet with an average grade of over 10%.
Name of Strava segment: North 36th
North Baltimore Street: Starting from the roundabout on Ruston Way, try to carry as much speed as possible to get you up the first bit. It’s a steep four blocks, even with a bike lane. It climbs 133 feet at an average grade of 9.8% over 0.25 miles.
Point Defiance, Rhododendron Garden Climb: Stats: 0.58 miles; 3.5% average grade; 123 feet of climbing. This is the mellowest, and probably one of the most scenic, climbs of the ride. With Owen Beach closed until the summer of 2022, you get off easy this year with a shaded climb through beautiful old growth forest that never gets steeper than 9%. Name of Strava segment: Rhody Garden Climb
Lexington: Stats: 0.25 miles; 8.2% average grade; 110 feet of climbing.
The Full Lexington: Stats: 0.70 miles; 4.1% average grade; 153 feet of climbing.
As you come off the Mildred Street dipsy-do after you leave Point Defiance Park, you’ll be tempted to go full gas to maintain speed. Save a bit, as the route turns left, and then a quick right, you get to see all of Lexington. A few blocks of 6-7%, then 9-10% for the last bit. Just before the top of the Lexington climb, there’s a short dead-end street to the left that affords a 100+ mile view to the north and east on clear days. This is one of the highest points in Tacoma.
Name of Strava segments: Lexington (just the hill climb), The Full Lexington (the segment from 51st all the way to 37th- must follow route exactly to get credit.
Shirley: Stats: 0.15 miles; 7.5% average grade; 62 feet of climbing.
A short climb that heads south on Shirley from N. 37th street.
Name of Strava segment: No Sh*t Shirley
South 19th Street: One can see the entire climb from the bottom. At 0.47 miles, it climbs 225 feet at an average grade of 8.9%. This “average” belies that you get a flat break for a block, making the last few blocks an average grade of 12-13%.
Name of Strava segment: Crystal Springs to Jackson (just before the light)
6th Avenue (from Titlow Beach): This is a lovely climb. Many people do repeats on it. It’s almost exactly a mile long from the bottom. As with many Tacoma climbs, this one starts off gradually and steepens. It’s mostly 5-7%. Watch that you don’t get snagged in brambles on one of the right handers (note to Tacoma road maintenance: get some bloody goats to eat these!). The steepest bit (9ish%) is just before the traffic light on Jackson, which has a habit of annoyingly turning red a few seconds before you get there.
Name of Strava segment: Titlow to Jackson (before the %$#& light)
E. L Street and McKinley Avenue (from the Tacoma Dome): The first Destiny Dozen in 2016 featured the full East L street climb. It was probably the hardest climb then. I-5 construction means the L Street bridge is still not done, so you get a bit of a reprieve, and head over to McKinley to complete this hill.
No Strava segment for this hill.
Fairbanks: While this street and others in this area have been recently repaved, this just makes the sting of this wall a wee bit smoother. This is the steepest hill in Tacoma that we’re aware of (if you know of one that’s steeper, let us know and we’ll add it to the next edition of this ride). You preview the climb first, as you descend down to Portland Avenue. If you’re lucky, the traffic light will be green and you’ll be able to have some momentum. About 60 pedal strokes of 21-23% fun on the first block, then it backs off to 16% to finish at the crest. Keep your weight so the front wheel doesn’t leave the ground!
Name of Strava segment: Fairbanks Street Hill
(this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Check hours and days of operation first, many places are doing take out only, and some are not open on Sunday):
Top of McKinley Hill (above the Dome): Dusty’s Hideaway, Top of Tacoma
There are several restaurants and coffee shops in the vicinity of 2nd Cycle (at South 12th Street and MLK Avenue) including: Manifesto Coffee, Red Elm Café, 1111 Peterson Bros., Le Le Café
Near Point Defiance: Antique Sandwich, Tatanka Restaurant, Central Co-op
The Brewery District (near South 21st to 25th Streets and Jefferson) features: Sig Brewing, 7 Seas, Camp Corvus, E9, and Black Fleet Brewing
On Ruston Way at Ferdinand
Sunrise Park at corner of South 19th and Geiger (in University Place)
Point Defiance Park: a few locations along Five Mile Drive
Dune Peninsula: instead of going up Baltimore, take the first exit out of the roundabout, proceed to the end (go past Point Ruston Market) to the waterfront.
Also at restaurants/coffee shops, please be kind and buy something though, these are not public bathrooms.