Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Leavenworth to The Space Needle through the Chumstick

"You're gonna take off on a bicycle ride all day and let us drive back, Dad? What a great idea!" says T. Indeed, the Hawkins family went to Leavenworth last weekend in support of Claire's company retreat and A's need to nurse every couple of hours. I took the trip home as an opportunity to cleanse my soul after the veritable smorgasbord present on RSVP last month where I ate too much and was blown away (negatively) by the level of support, but where I never the less indulged beyond my wildest desires.

The route is something like 120 miles since we stayed at Lake Wenatchee State Park, about 18 miles nortwest of Wenatchee but definitely on the way back. Inspired by my buddy Kent's recent ride on FS 65 and 6700, I charted a retrograde course up through and then onto Hwy 2. On the way, I encountered 4 cars, only one of which passed me, the others were going the other direction and even then only close to Hwy 2 so it was a nice 2.5 hours on gravel forest roads with switchbacks before I got onto asphalt and into the big chainring.
Over here, I'm later to find out that I'm only half way up the hill, but the view was marvelous. Here I'm sporting my new shifters that my wife bought me after she trashed hers but didn't want to spend $400 on replacements. She gets a nice pair of 105's and I get to trim my front derailer again so it's a great fit. Incidentally, the bar tape is actually glow in the dark. I'm like that. Just say "no" to black bar tape.
I left at around 6 and after summitting a much higher pass than Hwy 2, then dropped down to the 2 and climbed back up. It was 9 when I got to the top and then I had a very cold drop out of the clouds, down the Old Cascade Hwy segments.....

I need to make a parenthetical remark here about wool jerseys. Not all wool jerseys are created equal and Kucharik jerseys are much LESS equal than others. Mine has long since lost any warming qualities and somehow I seem to pick it out because it fits and it's bright yellow. But seriously, if you get a wool jersey, either get Woolistic or just find something at Goodwill because it will work much better. Kuchariks are also some sort of blend because they are relatively stretchy and they itch but not in that nice "wooly" way, in some sort of polyester fashion.....

which were a delight and then I got into Skykomish and found a group of cyclists from Snohomish doing the pass that day with full private support. We traded great stories, revelled in the delight of bike riding, and I took some of their water, and was off down the hill after about an hour of hot chocolate and kibbitzing.

I landed in Sultan at the bakery and had a reuben and a maple bar, read most of a book while waiting....
and was out the door by 1:45. I took the roads less travelled until I found this wonderful bit of lawn art: not the lady with the red car but the round bale with bodies sticking out. The bodies are straw, but it does make one wonder about the relative dangers of farming and the macabre sense of humor that results. "you could die any day".
After I got serious about cello, my grandfather wouldn't let me work as closely around augers and other moving parts. He didn't want me to lose a finger... or an arm... or worse. Like any dumb 17 year old, I just told him "gramps, if I lose a finger, I'll just find a new way to play cello".

Kids are so dumb.

Stats: 125 or so miles in 11 hours making my average speed 11 mph with stops and pictures and lunch and tall tales.