Moving On

The original purpose behind The Fourteen Percent Ride has long since been fulfilled. So, I've decided that Mighty Proud will be the last posting. It just seems right.

But, don't worry. Or maybe you should. In any event, I plan to continue. I'll keep riding. And writing. Click here to come along in my new blog ~ The Long White Line. <-- check it out!

Thanks

As I've ridden for the last two years, I've picked up on the fact that Shirley, my darling wife, has been more worried about my safety than impressed with my "accomplishments." How do I know this? Well, when I'd come back and tell her, for example, that I'd hit 53.6 mph going down FO, she'd reply, "I don't want to hear it." Being the sensitive sort I figured out, after many such comments, that just maybe we were not on the same page here. But last week, she told me that she would "greatly reduce her focus on the 'fear for my safety' issue." We talked about the tour, looked at some maps, researched nutrition suggestions on the internet, and so on, just enjoying the idea of the ride. How nice is that? Thank you, Shirley!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Firsts

Monday, June 18
Skykomish to Wenatchee

You only get to do something for the first time once. This trip provided an above average number of chances for firsts for me. First organized tour, first seven-days-in-a-row-of-riding in a week, first Cascade Mountains espresso stand, and so on. Today, my very first mountain pass. We are to leave Skykomish and climb up over the 4,061 foot Stevens Pass. Not a giant pass, as mountain passes go. But my first. We had about 3,100 feet of climbing from Skykomish - a surprise as I had thought the town was farther up than it was. While we had done 2,000 feet of climbing yesterday (according to the info on the queue sheet) our net altitude gain was only 940 feet.

Skykomish has apparently moved 600 feet up the hill. Yesterday's queue sheet said we would end our ride in the town at an altitude of 940 feet. Today's sheet says we start our ride in Skykomish at an altitude of 1,000 feet. I must have slept well last night - I did not notice the jump.

We set out on a misty, but not rainy, morning, still cool enough for tights and a jacket. After a short ride on Highway 2, a road we would get to know well, we turned off onto Iron Goat Trail. This was a great loop through the rain forest. About a mile in we go over a bridge spanning a swift running stream just below a waterfall. Wow.

We leave Iron Goat a bit farther up the mountain and begin the 7 mile climb to the top on Highway 2. The climb is not as hard as some around La Crosse; while longer, it is not so steep. To my left, the land falls away while to my right it rises with a rocky face. About 3/4's of the way up, the road bends to the right. Looking up ahead, I see a very dark cloud in the mist and wonder if I am about to get dumped on. Soon I can see that this dark spot is not a cloud, rather a large mountain on the other side of the cut to my left. The mist clears some more and I see a stream literally falling down the steep face. I stop, extract my camera from the little bag on the bar in front of me. I'm just in time to snap a picture of the mist as it closes in and obscures my view. This happens one more time, but the third time that the low clouds moved away I had a spectacular view of the mountain and got several good pictures, like the one below.

I continued the climb and soon a building came into view up ahead. While I thought it might be the top of the pass, the climb had not seemed as hard as I expected and was ready for for more uphill. But, it was in fact the top and I was soon standing under the Stevens Pass sign with Philip taking my picture. First mountain pass.

The result of climbing is the need to descend. It was cool and damp as I started down the eastern slope. And it started to sleet. This was not looking good. But it stopped as quickly as it started. I like descents - the ones around La Crosse anyway as that had been, until now, the sum total of my experience. But this was different. Not as steep, but long. Down, down down. It was harder than I thought it would be and on this descent, cold. So cold, the muscles in my abdomen started to cramp up. I tried to relax and just go with the flow. Once down, it was a nice ride to the picnic stop. And the picnic stop was in a great location, a roadside rest stop right on a swift moving river. Across the water we spot an osprey nested on the top of a dead tree.

The ride carries us through Leavenworth (no, not THAT Leavenworth), a town built to look like a Bavarian village then to Cashmere. After Cashmere, we get a little lost and backtrack about a mile. We are looking for Pioneer Road which changes to Easy Street when it crosses the highway. A pickup truck comes up to the stop sign where we are parked and we ask the driver if he knows where Easy Street is. He says, "If I knew where it was, I'd be on it right now." We meet Philip and the other Jack and talk things over, deciding finally that we were on the right track after all. We go back and eventually find the turn and continue on.

We finally make Wenatchee and choose a campsite near the school building to get some afternoon shade. Then, we get on the bikes and head into town, in search of new tire pumps and refreshment. We find both.

Dinner and a meeting in the school cafeteria then I go out and watch a baseball game at the diamond adjacent to where we are camping. After a couple of innings, I go up to the tent and watch the game from there. I close my eyes once and when I open them, the field is empty, players and spectators nowhere to be seen. I figure it is time to zip up the flaps, get in my sleeping bag and call it a day.

Today’s ride ~ 78.2 miles
Trip total ~ 149.3 miles
Ride time today ~ 5 hours 17 minutes

We added 5.6 miles and 33 minutes of riding as we tooled around Wenatchee. I did not ride an inch that I didn't count in the mileage, so it is now 154.9 miles on the trip.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A good time riding in rain, mist, over passes, etc.??? Glad it was you!

Jennifer said...

Wow, great photos! I enjoyed seeing YOU in your bike gear, with your bike, and the great scenery!