Saturday, July 17, 2010


Incredible day of road bike climbing on Thursday last. From the White River Ranger station to Sunrise--that's 14 miles with 2,900 feet elevation gain--back down and then up to Cayuse and Chinook Passes--that's another 8 miles with 2,000 feet of climbing. Finished it off with a quick dash (in a manner of speaking) up Crystal Mountain Boulevard which was 1,500 feet of ups across 6 miles.
At the top is Sunrise which is absolutely incredible. About 1,400 feet higher than Artist Point (between Mount Baker and Shuksan), and 1,000 feet higher than Paradise where RAMROD tops out on Rainier's south side. Sunrise Point is 2 miles before Sunrise and a couple hundred feet below it, but from there I could see Mount Baker, Stuart Mountain in the Enchantments (near Leavenworth), Mount Adams and of course, Rainier. That's a sweep of almost 200 miles from Baker to Adams. Incroyable!

The photo just above is me and my Tarmac Pro a little below Chinook Pass with Tipsoo Lake and Mount Rainier in the background. Below is Highway 410 to Chinook Pass. None of these climbs is especially steep, mostly in the 6 to 8 percent range, just long. They're nothing like the seemingly vertical (but much shorter) pitches I came across during last week's Torture Century. In fact, the last two miles from Sunrise Point to Sunrise were mostly flat. I can truthfully say that I pulled into Sunrise still in my big chainring.
This morning the Titanium Cowboy, Scott Young, and I got out for about 2-1/2 hours on the big ol' 29ers. (Though with our titanium plates and screws, all three of us--Scott, Johnny Boy Clark, and myself--are titanium cowboys, really.) Man, that was fun! First real MTB ride since the collarbone break. Felt really, really good. Almost like it was a rigorous physical therapy session. We did Lower Galby--Last Call, Rock 'n' Roll, and the like--up to the Wall and down the Three Pigs. Only difference that I see right now is that I'm not comfortable on anything resembling a bridge. Anything that raises my wheels off the ground, and thus the distance I could fall on that collarbone, I'll walk around. Pretty cool: we saw three pileated woodpeckers!

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