Sunday, April 29, 2012

CHELAN-WENATCHEE CYCLING

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.

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