Living the Dream
Pedals crankin’, sweat dripping into my eyes and the speedometer barely measuring 5 MPH, I silently curse this damn mountain pass. I look ahead and barely catch a glimpse of Josh’s rear tire as he disappears behind yet another curve in the road ahead.
“Damn him and his 700c wheels and bamboo bike swiftness. And damn his sexy calves too…”, I find myself thinking as I settle in for what will prove to be another loooong morning and early afternoon of climbing YET ANOTHER mountain pass.
General Patton once said, “Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory”, and he could not have been more spot on!
The route we have chosen, ACA’s Sierra Cascades Route, has us heading up and over a pass almost every single day which has afforded us some fantastic sights in the beautiful Cascades but also has proven to be a real chore. With names like Rainy(4,875′), Washington(5,477′), Blewitt(4,102′), Elk, White(4,500′) and Oldman they sound benign enough but all told they really do add up. At least we have ended every day thus far with a white knuckle descent down winding mountain roads watching out speedometers spit out scary speeds as we hurl our masses down the inclines with shit-eating grins on our faces.
Finally after 5 days of mountain pass riding in the 80+ degree heat we find ourselves in Hood River, having cycled 695 miles thus far in the trip. A rest day consisting of coffee, sitting by the Columbia River, coffee, a Full Sail Brewery tour, food, and seeing some old friends is long overdue.
The previous few days have proven to be a real challenge cycling-wise but have also helped us settle in to our daily routine (prayer,ritual?). When not enjoying rest days like this one, we find ourselves waking at 6:30, shoveling oatmeal and coffee into our face holes, riding up and over mountain passes with frequent food and water breaks, shoveling dinner food into our faces once again then finding a nice quiet(ish) place to sleep for the night. It sounds monotonous but when you’re doing something you truly love, it really doesn’t get old.
The cycling itself from Chelan onward, mountain passes aside, has been a most pleasant mix of seldom traveled mountain roads (all paved), beautiful tree draped roads, river views and downright jaw-dropping sights of all the glorious Cascade mountain gems. We have now intersected the PCT 3 times and marveled at the various hikers’ commitment to a 3-4 month long hike while they do the same to us. Funny, eh? We have also heard rumors of a cycle tourer who is just ahead of us, maybe we will see him one of these days.
For now our immediate future (past today) involves 2 days of more passes and mountain riding before a visit with another friend in Bend and, what the hell, another rest day!
For now, enjoy the photos, leave comments and have a wonderful day to each and every one of you!
For those interested:
Chelan to Ingrall Creek Rd. 60 miles
Ingrall Creek Rd. to Selah 83 miles
Selah to Rainer Jct. 68 miles
Rainer Jct. to Swift Creek Reservoir 72 miles
Swift Creek Reservoir to Hood River 68 miles
Total thus far 695 miles!