The recent 82-mile Winthrop-Conconully epic whetted my appetite for some more Methow riding and well, if you're gonna go big, might as well go as big as you can get: Hart's Pass Road and Slate Peak. Topping out at 7,440 feet, the gravel road is the highest road in Washington State. (The road to Sunrise in Mount Rainier National Park is the highest paved one.)
It's a much shorter excursion than the Winthrop-Conconully loop. On Sunday a.m., Brian Ecker and I (along with hopefully one or two others) will head out from Mazama and just pedal uphill for about 21 miles 'til we hit Slate Peak, climbing close to 6,000 feet along the way. Admittedly, this has the potential for hair-raising scariness.
I've driven this road once and near had a heart attack given its skinny narrowness, pothole-riddled bumpiness and cliff-edge exposure. To cap it off, I got a flat tire right when I hit Slate Peak and had no idea whether I had a spare. (I did.) On a bike, I'm hoping that the road seems wide, comforting and relatively dreamy. I guess I'll find out. I plan to stop often and hug the mountainside if that's what I need to do.
NOTE: I want to thank the just another day in paradise blog for the above Hart's Pass Road pic. Beautiful!