Sunday, April 29, 2012


Just got back from six days of riding on the dry side of the state. Specifically, the Chelan-Wenatchee swath. All I've got to say is that there's a mind-boggling amount of riding to be done over there--mega-climbs such as Badger Mountain and McNeil Canyon (not to mention, the Orondo grade, which I didn't get to), terrific mountain biking (I 'cross rode on Sage Hills and Echo Ridge) and even cool mellow tooling-around type riding (Wenatchee's paved Apple Capital Loop Trail is quite nice). Here're some pics: 

Here's politician Jay Inslee and I at the top of Badger Mountain, above Wenatchee. (This is day 5; I'm jumping around a bit.) Badger is a true beast (2,400 feet in 7 miles) with a final mile that's so steep it makes you want to chuck your bike in the Columbia River. After making it to the top, I was just about to head down when Inslee showed up. He introduced himself as "Washington's next governor". Seemed like a nice enough guy.

On day 2, I revisted the beast they call McNeil Canyon (2,200 feet in 5 miles), star of the Chelan Century Challenge at the end of June. Like Badger, the pavement is way smooth with a wide shoulder and, whenever I've ridden it, traffic has been just about non-existent. Quite nice.   

Day 6 I took the 'cross bike and rode about 10 miles up to the Echo Ridge trail system above Manson. There, I rode for another 2 hours or so, climbing dirt roads and mellow trails up to about 3,800 feet, from which the views were just out-of-this-worldville! Highly, highly recommended.  

Through the spokes from Echo Ridge--views of Lake Chelan, the Columbia River, Enchantment Peaks (and countless others) and way, way into Eastern WA.

Day 4, I did one of my most varied rides ever. Weather was iffy so whilst waiting for the Sage Hills trails to dry out I rode the 'cross bike on the Apple Loop Trail, then headed up a little on Badger Mtn. (that was my intention anyway, I ended up riding 6 of its 7 miles before some windy rain blew in and chased me down the hill) and finished off with about 90 minutes up and down the Sage Hill singletrack. It's quite nice on a CX bike.  

Day 3, I didn't ride but took the Lady of the Lake ferry to Stehekin. Absolutely incredible! Reminded me of the ferry ride up the Inside Passage. 

Day 2, just over the top of McNeil Canyon where all of Eastern Washington is lain out before you and you swear you can see the curvature of the earth. Mucho windy up there too. 

Purty sunflowers up in Sage Hills. 

Me with some Westerny dude at Echo Ridge Ski Area.

Jay Inslee and his buddy making the final turn just below the Badger Mountain summit. That's Wenatchee on the Columbia River, as well as Sage Hills and the Central Cascades beyond.

Day 1, I rode the Tarmac up and down some of the hills above Manson on many of the same roads as the first loop of the Chelan Century Challenge.

Me at the top of Badger.

Friday, April 20, 2012


An advance copy of "75 Classic Rides: Washington" showed up in the mail today--very exciting! I think it looks great: glossy, color photos, great maps, epic routes--in the words of Loverboy, "I'm lovin' every minute of it." So, apparently, are Guy and Wesley from Fairhaven Bike and Sports, above. (And/or they're just being good sports and hamming it up for the camera.) 

Below, Chuck Robinson of Village Books and Chuckanut Radio Hour fame, appears thoughtful whilst checking out one of the book's routes. Chuck, by the way, will be riding STP (Seattle to Portland) for like the fifth time this summer. Sehr impressive!   

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Terrific road ride yesterday with the Titanium Cowboys up into the northern hinterlands of Whatcom County to take in South Pass Road (up) and Reese Hill (very up). Then back to town wherein we finished up with Squalicum Mountain, the whole thing: roughly 1,000 feet of climbing in 3 miles. The Chelan Century's McNeil Canyon is 2,200 feet of climbing in 5 miles so this sort of gives us some training.

Above, John sits on the shoulder of South Pass Road, rassling with his pedals which for some reason chose this particular ride to get all pissy and moany not want to let him clip in. Eventually, after much sturm and drang he got his shoes clipped in, but of course couldn't take them out for the rest of the ride so the few times we stopped, Scott and I propped him him to keep him from falling over. (Cool jersey in the above pic, huh? That's my upcoming book cover.)

Here's our ride details:

Monday, April 09, 2012


I'm pretty psyched about this: Chuck Robinson, owner of Bellingham's venerable Village Books and impresario of the Chuckanut Radio Hour, invited yours truly to be the featured author-type writer-guy person on next month's radio show. It's a live Garrison Keillor-type radio show with comedy skits, live music, poetry performance and the like. I've been on in the past as guess essayist for show regular Alan Rhodes. The show's always a lot of fun and draws a big crowd to the Crystal Ballroom at the Leopold.

Co-sponsored by the Mount Baker Bicycle Club, the show starts 6:30 p.m. and costs $5. Read more about it here.

Love to see you there!   

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Sadly, Fabian Cancellara broke his collarbone in Sunday's Tour of Flanders. Looks like he dun it but good too. Check out his X-ray (above). There're four breaks. 

Here's mine from two years ago.

Wish I'd could've had the jaunty, Europey sling that Spartacus has.

Sunday, April 01, 2012


In honor of Big Tom Boonen's victory today at the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), please enjoy this photo of Tommeke and I hanging out a few years ago at the Tour of California.