A tour of Tacoma's toughest hills

What? 

This is a fund raiser for Second Cycle. A tour of 13 of Tacoma's steepest hills. The course is roughly 40 miles long with over 3000 ft of climbing.

When? 

Meet at 2nd Cycle on June 5th registration between 8 am and 10 am Course is open from 8 am to 2 pm.

Also? 

Half dozen: There will be a destiny half dozen available for those that "want" that. Registration cost is the same, the glory differs.

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If you want to register but can't afford to please email development@2ndcycle.org 
and we will add you to the ride list. 

Destiny Dozen Overview

Check out a strava map of the Destiny Dozen here! 

The Destiny Dozen is a tour of a dozen or so of Tacoma's toughest hills. This is a fundraiser to support Second Cycle so they can keep brining programs and services to the community.

The course opens at 8 am on June 5th. Come and Check in at 2nd Cycle between 8 am and 10 am. The course will be closed at 2 pm. There will be mini maps + cue sheets available, Strava route links, and ride with gps route links available. The course will also have some marking on it to make sure you're going in the right direction.

The ride is roughly 40 miles with over 3000 ft of climbing. It is not for the faint of heart nor was it meant to be easy. This ride is supposed to suck. You're not supposed to like it. These are the most challenging hills in Tacoma wrapped up into one ride. You will probably question your choices at some point along this ride.

There will be a destiny half dozen available for those that "want" that. Registration cost is the same, the glory differs.

So if you think you've got the legs and lungs to finish this ride. We would love to see you try. If you can't finish we will pick you up in the sag wagon aka the looser wagon.

No but seriously we don't really care, we just hope you get out there and have some fun. Quit when you want to, nobody is stopping you. Be safe.

The Antisocial Speedy Group ride will leave at 9 am. This will be a drop peloton. They will not stop for your mechanicals. They will not wait too long for you at the top of the hill. They will be trying to go fast.

There will be a social group b leaving at 10 am. This is not a no drop group but they will be going at a reasonable social pace and will likely pause briefly at the top of hills to goat on the remaining hill climbers. 

There will be an after party from 2 pm to 4 pm at Seven Seas - where you may receive your certificate of completion upon proving your worthiness.

NOTES ON THE ROUTE: 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 YOU 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.

Adventure Options:

Neither of the three mapping programs that we used to put the route together would allow us to make the route more adventurous. But here are two easy options:

Garfield Park dirt: At Tacoma Ave North at North 6th, bear right on N. Borough Road. Down hill over two speed humps. Turn sharp left into Garfield Park and access dirt trail at far end. Trail comes out on what will turn into North 27th street. Rejoin route to climb North 29th.

E. 34th Street steps: for a true adventure. Go east on East 34th street until it ends. Do a hike a bike down the 150 steps, rejoin E. 34th and make your way over to do the E. Fairbanks Street hill.

 

Destiny Half Dozen - For those looking for a little less suffering and looking to avoid fairbanks and the west side and the east side, can do the destiny half dozen. 

 

Check out a strava map of the Destiny Half Dozen here! 
 

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 turn. 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

The after party is at Seven Seas brewery, 2101 Jefferson Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402 (at South 21st and Jefferson streets).


Food Stops (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


 

Bathrooms:

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

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