Distance: 130 Miles
Ride Time: 9:25
A long day in the saddle. The initial 54 miles was flat and easy. We then had 40 miles of climbing through the North Cascades. The climbing was relatively constant with only a few breaks of flat or down. The only way to get through it was through pushing a relatively easy gear and maintain a spinning cadence. I have an 11-34 cassette with a compact double in the front. I did not expect to go into the 30 or 34, but found myself doing so from time to time in order to keep my cadence up and avoid a slow grind. The temperature dropped from 95 during the climb to 80 at the summit. Washington Pass is notorious for quick unexpected thunderstorms. Today we were blessed with relatively clear skies with a few dark clouds just past the summit.
The scenery was absolutely spectacular - dense pine forests; rivers, streams & lakes, white water rapids; steep rugged mountains with many cliffs, & snow capped peaks. At the summit the pine forest thinned out significantly providing a great view of many stone formations. Well worth the effort. Around every bend there was something new to see. Something that surprised me was that as I passed large streams flowing toward the road they would provide a blast of cold air - much like walking into a refrigerator. A welcome, but short, relief to the heat.
After the summit, we had about 10-15 miles of a great descent on the backside of the maintains. Mostly steady curves, just a few switchbacks, which allowed us to just open it up and enjoy some speed. Then we got one final kick in the butt - strong headwinds over the last 15 miles into Winthrop. Fortunately, I joined a group at the summit (Jim, Lynn, & Jim) and we battled it together, taking turns with the pull.
Physically, I did better than I expected. The training plan is paying off. I was wiped out at the end, but that's to be expected. I seem to be recovering well from day to day, but I am sure I will be slow tomorrow after two days with a lot of climbing.
Here are some pictures from today's ride, showing the start, places along the climb, then the summit at Washington Pass. The ones taken from my handlebar camera show my bicycle computer.
|Summit at Washington Pass|
|Just before Washington Pass. You can see snow.|