Pike’s Peak, Colorado

I finally made it!  I put over 3,000 miles on my mountain bike in the last 12 months and made it to the summit of Pike’s Peak, Colorado on July 21, 2013.

Pike's Peak, Colorado.  Photo taken by Ed Andrieski.

Pike’s Peak, Colorado. Photo taken by Ed Andrieski.

I spent the night before my big ride in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  This would be my first cycling race and supported ride I have been on.  I had been training very hard for this for the last 12 months.  I felt confident with my fitness level but knew the elevation would surely take its toll on my body.

I got out of bed at 4:00 am as I would be grinding up the mountain in two hours.  The night prior I had laid out all of my gear and gave my trusty Specialized, Crosstrail steed a once over check.

The Pike's Peak Hill Climb race start.

The Pike’s Peak Hill Climb race start.

By 5:45 I had turned my gear bag and was at the start.  I was filled with a combination of excitement and anxiety.  I was one of but a few mountain bikes in the herd.  I did not have clip in or basket pedals.  I had my usual other gear still on my bike such as pump, rack, mirror, and such.  Many of the other riders came over to chat with me and try to figure out who this crazy guy was that would take this bike up the mountain.  Several of them asked about the bike’s weight.  A few took up my offer to lift it and determine the weight themselves.  The reaction was universal and usually followed by,  “Oh my God”, “Geeze”  or “Bloody hell” as one English chap put it. Pike's Peak 1

My heart rate increased as the official announced, “One minute to start.”  This was the start of a 20 km race that begins at over 9,000 feet above sea level and ends at 14,100 feet.  The air was already thin at the start area and I could feel the strain in my lungs and muscles.

I knew of the aid and support stations every two miles up the mountain but vowed not to stop or use them.  I had a goal of making this ride in under three hours as the road would be opened to vehicle traffic after that.   By the first support station there were already two dozen riders off their bikes.  With every support station I passed for the rest of the ride,  the number of resting or broken riders increased.

I was only 1/3 of the way into the race when I was feeling the weight of this task.  My muscles and lungs were searching for oxygen that just wasn’t there.  One-by-one I would hear the sound of defeat as riders fell victim to the bear on their back and threw in the towel.  An estimated 300-400 riders never finished the race.

Pike's Peak

Near the summit of Pike’s Peak

There are 154 switchback turns up this mountain and this race hit most of them.  The head wind for the last 1/2 of the race was strong and tested my mental fortitude many times.  I seldom made it out of first gear and spent most of my time off of the seat.  My hands were fatigued from holding onto the handlebar as I pulled my body down onto the pedals.   The view from this top of the world was incredible.  There were many points when I could see down to the valley below and the road I had just traveled.  The hundreds of cyclists below gave me motivation to keep pushing on.

Pike's Peak

Colorado Springs from Pike’s Peak

I could now hear the cow bells and crowd cheer as I neared the summit.  This last mile was the hardest.  My mind and body wanted to stop but I would not allow it to.  I pushed through it and passed another few riders.  I saw the finish line and sprinted the last 100 yards.  I have never passed out before but believe I came close this day.  My vision was shaded by a pulsing darkness, like curtains on the side.  My bike wobbled a bit and I thought I was going down just as I crossed the finish.  I made it in 2.36:00.  For the first time since leaving the start my feet touched the ground.  Mission accomplished!

Pikes Peak

From the Cog Rail Train area of Pike’s Peak

My brain was impaired by the strain and lack of oxygen.   I stumbled to where our gear bags were and found mine.  A simple, loose,  overhand knot in the nylon cord on the bag overwhelmed me with its complexity.  I felt as if I had a few too many glasses of wine.  I was happy to see that my systems starting returning to normal within ten minutes and I was able to defeat the knot that kept me from wearing my warmer clothing.  It was sunny but cooler on this summit.  When we were at the start of the race it had been below freezing here and only 42 degrees at the bottom.

Pike's Peak

Pike’s Peak summit, 14,110 ‘ + 5’6″

I got my race medal and watched the others cross the finish line.  My sister Susan and husband Randy soon arrived on the Cog Rail Train that stopped in that same area.  After hanging out and taking countless photos, they headed back down by train and I on two wheels.  The ride down was incredible.  I stopped a few times to let the cars get ahead of me as they traveled much slower than me.  This allowed me to take in some of the beauty around me that I could not fully enjoy earlier.

This ride was the final leg of my Mountain Quest mission.  I will, however,  continue to enjoy the outdoors on two wheels and by many other means.  These adventures helped me to overcome many physical and emotional mountains in my life.  It has allowed me the time by myself to focus on what’s really important in life.  We live in a beautiful world full of wonderful people and I intend to soak it all in.

Pike's Peak

Pike’s Peak Hillclimb finish

 

Until the next adventure.

Posted in Bicycling, Colorado, Mountains, Photography, Pike's Peak | 5 Comments

Rocky Mountain National Forest

My journey towards Pike’s Peak continues.  I drove from Wyoming and was very happy to see the hills and trees of Colorado.  I’m sure there is beauty in Wyoming but my route did not take through it.

This is why I was glad to leave Wyoming.

This is why I was glad to leave Wyoming.

My destination was Estes Park, Colorado.  This mountain town is tucked in the mountains at over  7,500 feet above sea level.   I took Hwy 34 to Estes Park. It was a steep, curvy, and  bordered by high rugged rock walls.  When I got close to town the rock walls pulled back like a curtain to reveal a very beautiful scene.  This town is built on the ground that was once the meeting place for Native American tribes of the area.  I can see why they picked this place.  After I had unpacked my bags and gear, I did some basic maintenance on my bike.  I wanted to make sure everything was in good working order as the next day’s ride would put me and the bike to the test.IMG_20130717_151918

I got out of bed early as I wanted to avoid the main flow of vehicle traffic and knew I had a better chance of seeing wildlife.  I live a few hundred feet above sea level and could feel the difference immediately as I pedaled up towards the Rocky Mountain National Forest entrance.  There are two routes into the park from Estes Park, Colorado.  I took Highway 34 and planned to come back on Highway 36.  It was approximately 5-6 miles to the park entrance.  I had started at 7:30 and it was already warm enough that I was down to shorts and a light shirt.  I was serenaded by many birds that sang to welcome in the new day.  Rabbits and a variety of rodents scurried about doing their morning chores and kept a watchful eye on me as I passed. IMG_20130717_164214

I had my bike loaded down with just less that a gallon of water, extra clothes, food, and other equipment.  I knew that my day’s journey would end at over 12,000′ and that there was no water, food, or services other than non-water restrooms.  The weather in this part of the world can change very quickly and I wanted to be prepared for it. IMG_20130717_164739

The grade and lack of oxygen in the air had me huffing and puffing.  I was passed by only two other cyclists as I ground up the mountain.  They were on bikes that likely weighed less than one of my three gear bags.  I did see more than a few people coming down the hill on mountain bikes.  They were all part of tours that will shuttle you to the top in a van then let you out with a bike to ride back down.  I must admit that it sounded pretty good to me about now.

1/2 way up the mountain taking a much needed break.

1/2 way up the mountain taking a much needed break.

I passed a sign that stated I was now over two miles above sea level.  That sounds pretty cool until I realized I had a ways to go yet.  I stopped at a view point where many people had gathered for photo ops and a break.  I met some great people along the way.  There were a few National Forest volunteers helping folks and offering tidbits of information about the area.  I spent some time getting to know Bob Barker who was one of those volunteers.  No, not the host of the Price is Right.  As it turns out, Bob and I have some common ground.  He had long since retired as a pastor but used to preach at a Bellingham, Washington church.  This is the area that I spent the first half of my life.  We had a lot of fun talking about the college town by the bay.  I would have loved to spend more time with Bob longer but could already feel my muscles tightening up.  Onward and upward I rode.

A few miles from the summit

A few miles from the summit

I saw a huge elk heard when I was at about 11,000′.  They are impressive animals and such a symbol of strength and independence.  I passed them without taking photos as they would have only appeared as dots on a hillside.

At the Rock Cut rest area

At the Rock Cut rest area

I neared the top and stopped to soak it all in.  Even with the hard work I was putting in, I was getting cold.  I pulled out several layers of clothing and was comfortable again.  After about five minutes of feeling I had accomplished my goal I looked around and saw a road that was clearly above the point where I was standing.   The elevation sign on the restroom wall read 12,090′.  I realized that I would have to drop down the mountain a ways then grind back up to where I saw the higher road.  What a cruel joke!  To put a rest area and elevation marker where I was standing was just plain mean.  I stood there contemplating my next course of action.  Oh what the hell, I thought, and headed down the hill.   I was 1/2 way up the other side when I realized this was a stupid idea.  I pushed on until I reached 12,183′ and the road dropped substantially down again.  I turned around and went back to the rest area for a break before the downhill ride to Estes Park.  IMG_20130717_164820

I stopped briefly at the last high point before the fast ride back down.  This gate to the summit area is appropriately named Rock Cut.  I did one last check of all my gear, adjusted the mirror and waited for a long break in the downhill traffic.  I knew I would be traveling much faster than cars and didn’t want to burn up my brakes by being behind them.

Rock Cut

Rock Cut

The ride down was incredible and well worth the effort.  I took the Hwy 36 cutoff and enjoyed some new scenery.  I wasn’t long and I was back down to my shorts and light shirt.  By day’s end, I had logged over 54 miles and gained and lost 4,661′ in elevation.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.  This is where they filmed the movie, The Shining.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. This is where they filmed the movie, The Shining.

I was thrashed after the ride but felt good about the big one coming up on Sunday.  Pikes Peak will be steeper and higher but I will have less weight to carry and distance to cover.

Thanks for coming along.

Posted in Bicycling, Colorado, Estes Park, Mountains, National Parks, Photography, Rocky Mountin National Forest, Training | 4 Comments

Wyoming

I left Boise, Idaho and headed to Green River, Wyoming. I got into town early and decided to explore the area on a bike.  I found an old building which is evidence of the town’s old roots.

Old building in Green River, Wyoming.

Old building in Green River, Wyoming.

Bridge over the rail yard

Bridge over the rail yard

I crossed the rail yard on a pretty cool bridge. The railroad tracks separate the old from newer part of town. I found a paved and boardwalk path that went for miles along the Green River.  There was an amazing variety of birds along this path.  The blue birds flew all around me as I rode along.

Green River boardwalk in Wyoming

Green River boardwalk in Wyoming

Before I returned to the hotel,  I stopped to watch kids jump off of the pedestrian bridge that went over the river.   It was very entertaining and took me back to the simple joys of youth.

The next morning I packed up and headed towards Colorado.  Wyoming has some pretty cool sights but there was a whole lot of hot and dry desert that seemed to go on forever.  I stopped at an old military fort which was on the way.  Fort Steele was constructed in 1868.  Some of the original building are still standing.

Fort Steele powder magazine.  Built in 1881.

Fort Steele powder magazine. Built in 1881.

On my way back to the highway I stopped to take a photo of an antelope that was grazing nearby.  I saw many more as I worked my way across the state.

Wyoming antalope

Wyoming antelope

The rock formations in this area begged to be photographed.

The red rock of the Utah / Wyoming area

The red rock of the Utah / Wyoming area

I was very happy to make it into Colorado.  The desert had turned to sparse trees and hills.  I made it to Estes Park, Colorado where I will stay for the next two days.  The road to this place is cut through huge rock walls that seem to engulf the road as it snakes its way up the mountain.  Words cannot describe the huge open mountain beauty that opened before me as I entered Estes Park.   Tomorrow will be a test of my mental and physical fitness as well as I ride into the mountains.

 

Thanks for joining me.

Posted in Bicycling, Green River, Wyoming | 3 Comments

Bogus Basin Mountain, Idaho

I have not posted on this page for a while as I’ve been very busy training for my Pike’s Peak ride coming up on July 21st. This next week is the final push towards that goal.

Capitol Building in Boise, Idaho

Capitol Building in Boise, Idaho

I traded in my truck for a 2013 Subaru Forester.  With freshly tinted windows and a Thule bike rack on the back, I headed eastbound on Saturday.  I pulled into Boise, Idaho in time to watch some of the Twilight Criterion.  This is a road race which loops the business district of Boise and is part of a national cycling race circuit.  There were several different races featuring kids, locals, and professional racers.  It was a very exciting event to watch.

Boise, Idaho headed towards Bogus Basin Mountain

Boise, Idaho headed towards Bogus Basin Mountain

I headed out on my bicycle early Sunday morning.  It was already warn enough that nothing more than shorts and a light shirt were needed.  I passed through the older part of town as I went east towards the mountain.  The trees bordering the road and the older homes made for a  peaceful beginning to this day.

Old home in Boise, Idaho

Old home in Boise, Idaho

The cool shade of the residential district faded to that of rock and desert.  This ride would be a little over 16 miles to the top and take me from 2,686′ to 6,213′.  I stopped 1/2 way up to look back and see Boise in the valley below.

Boise, Idaho from half way up Bogus Basin Mountain.

Boise, Idaho from half way up Bogus Basin Mountain.

The terrain continued to change as I ground up the mountain.  Pine trees  dotted the hillside as the grade increased.  I made it to the top or so I thought.  The ski resort appeared to be the end of the pavement.  I still had some energy so I went to exploring further.  I crossed the large gravel lot and took a gravel road approximately two miles around the mountain until I started to lose elevation.  I returned and took a paved road from the parking lot which took me another couple hundred feet up to the upper ski area and condos.  This was well worth the effort as it provided a better view of the area.

At the summit of Bogus Basin Mountain Lodge

At the summit of Bogus Basin Mountain Lodge

I went back to the lower lot where I had lunch near the ski lodge.  I met several other cyclists and hikers.  Many had taken a car up the mountain and were there for the off road biking and hiking.  After a short break I prepared for the rocket ride back down the hill.  I had mentally mapped out the return ride and identified hazards on my way up the hill.  Rough road, cracks, bumps, and in this case, a cattle guard were items to take note of.  I knew that I would be traveling faster than cars so I waited until I had a mile or two gap between the last car and my start.  I hit the peals as hard as I could and rarely hit the brakes for the next 40 minutes.  1/2 way down the hill that car in front of me pulled over to let me by.  The next time I saw it was in the residential area of Boise.

What a rush!

I am so ready for the Peak.

I’ll see you on the next ride.

Posted in Bicycling, Bogus Basin, Boise, Idaho, Mountains | 1 Comment

Winthrop Westbound

Shafer Museum

Shafer Museum, Winthrop, WA

This story picks up on day two after riding eastbound over the Highway 20 Washington Pass.  This day would be one of taking it easy and finding a rose or two to smell.  I enjoyed a great breakfast in one of the restaurants which was a short walk from my hotel.  I strolled down the old west style plank sidewalks and checked out the many shops.  I found a great book titled: North Cascades Highway by JoAnn Roe.

Shafer Museum
Shafer Museum

After hitting a few more shops, I discovered the Shafer Museum which is just across the street from my Hotel Rio Vista room.  My love of history and the huge collection of cool old stuff drew me in.  It was still early in the day and I had the whole place to myself.  I walked the grounds through a maze of old mining equipment.  They had moved all of this equipment from the hills and reassembled it to give us an idea of what it was like to be in a 1800s mining camp.

Shafer Museum

Shafer Museum

I examined every machine and read the plaques which tell a little bit about each item.  These museum grounds seemed to go on forever.  After I had been there for an hour,  two museum volunteers started opening up the many old cabin and building displays.  These ladies were very friendly and I enjoyed talking to them as they went about the opening up routine.  Each building had great displays set up inside which gave a glimpse into the life of the early pioneers.  One of the buildings was built by Guy Waring,  one of the Winthrop founding fathers.  He built and operated a trading post on the edge of today’s Winthrop which serviced the local miners and settlers.  Many came to this area in 1883 to find their riches buried in the hills and river bottoms.  Only a few actually did well at mining.  Unlike the Yukon or the California Gold, these mountains were very stingy.  Shifting plates, glaciers, and volcanic action had done well to hide the precious metals from most.

By now the sun was bright and I headed to my hotel.  I built a nest of pillows on the deck chairs and sat down with my new book.  It was a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere with the Methow River in front of me and sun warming the fresh mountain air.  I spent most of my day on that deck drawn into my book.  The stories of how the Native Americans, miners, settlers, and others shaped this land helped me appreciate this area even more.  These early people spent most of the day just trying to survive in this sometimes harsh place.

My eye caught some movement on the river island just in front of my room.  I watched a mother deer and her two small fawns graze nearby.  It was so fun to watch the young ones buck, play, and charge one another in mock battles.

Three Finger Jack's Saloon

Three Finger Jack’s Saloon

By early afternoon I had finished the book and gotten my share of the sun.  I cleaned up and walked through town until I found a great place for dinner.  I stopped off at Three Finger Jack’s Saloon.  It is touted as being the oldest operating saloon in the state.  I enjoyed a glass of whiskey at the bar with Jack’s old 30-30 rifle hanging above.

After packing my gear and watching a movie it was off to bed for an early wake up.  I wanted to get a start on my ride west before the traffic and wind picked up.  There seemed to be a trend of winds that increased from the west throughout the afternoon.

Hwy 20, west of Mazama

Hwy 20, west of Mazama

Stream

Roadside Stream

On Sunday, I was rolling west at 6:45 am.  I love this time of the day in the outdoors.  The bird song rings through the air as nature comes to life.  The open farmlands in the area between Mazama and Wintrop are favorite grazing places for deer.  I saw way more deer that cars for the first hour of my ride.  The wind in my face increased with every mile.   I passed the area of my bear encounter from two days prior.  I have to admit that I kept an eye on the woods around me a little more than usual.

Where I'm Going

Where I’m Going

I started to get glimpses of the steep, snow covered peaks of the Washington Pass area.  The beauty of the mountains always takes my breath away.  The next few hours were spent grinding through my lowest of gears as I climbed the mountains.  I was able to take in the sights much better this time as I was not flying downhill.  I stopped a couple miles short of the summit and talked with a motorcyclist.  I have kept my motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license for many years and look forward to the day when I can get another cycle with a non-human powered motor.

Where I've Been.  From Washington Pass looking east.

Where I’ve Been. From Washington Pass looking east.

I made it to the Washington Pass summit followed by Rainy Pass .  It was mostly downhill for the second half of the trip.  Even with a stronger headwind, I found the westbound ride over the mountains to be a little easier than eastbound.  I rolled to my truck in the Newhalem parking lot, loaded everything up, and drove home.  This 150 mile over and back trip had been very draining but incredibly rewarding.

Waterfall

Roadside Stream

Until the next ride.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Washington Pass to Winthrop

Last weekend I had the most incredible wildlife experience of a lifetime.     On Friday,  I headed east seeking sunshine.  I decided to increase the intensity of my ride to better prepare for the Pikes Peak, Colorado ride next month.

Washington Pass

Washington Pass from Hwy 20, east side.

The weather forecast of partly cloudy  proved true.  I drove to Newhalem which is on Highway 20, at the base of the Cascade Mountains.  The last time I traveled this route was August of last year when I rode the Cascade Mountain Loop.  I found that the incredible views were well worth the effort.

Ross Lake

Ross Lake

I was heading up the road on my bike by 8:30 on Friday morning.  The sky above the mountain tops showed promise of a partially sunny day.  As I passed may familiar sites, I reflected on the great trip I made last summer.  Everything was a little greener this time.  There was much more water coming down the mountain as the winter snow was melting.  I knew I would have no trouble finding places to fill my water bottles.

Roadside Stream

Roadside Stream

I stopped in tunnel #1 to take a photo before continuing eastward.   I hit the very steep climb as I passed Diablo and Ross Lakes.

Tunnel

Hwy 20 Tunnel #2

There were many water features worthy of photos along the way.  The sound of water falls and bubbling brooks surrounded me throughout most of this west side ride.

After many hours,  I made it to the Rainy Pass summit.  I prepared for the two mile dive down the east side followed by six miles of grind to the top of Washington Pass.  I knew that once I reached that summit it would be a downhill ride for over 14 miles.   Both summits offered great views of snow frosted mountains.  There was still much snow in patches along the road and surrounding landscape.  I stopped briefly at the summit to put on some extra clothing.  There was a slight breeze coming off of the snow fields.  The sky held more promise to the east with many blue holes in the thin cloud layer.

Waterfall

Roadside waterfall

The ride down this pass is not for the faint of heart.  I seldom used my brakes as I flew down the mountain.  I passed many great photo opportunities but knew I would be coming back westbound in two days.

I was past the steepest part of the mountain and many miles east of the summit when I had the experience of a lifetime.  A car had just passed me and I was entering a more wooded area when something caught my eye ahead.  I was doing approximately 30 MPH as this dark object came into focus.    BIG BLACK BEAR!

I have seen many bear in the wild but this time it was quite different.  With most of those bear,  I was looking at its rear as it ran away from me.  A few things to keep in mind about bear.  The female usually have young close by and are very protective.  They eat just about anything and are on a mission to take in as many calories as they can this time of year.

By the time I recognized what was in front of me,  I was way too close.  The very big adult bear stopped in my path and was looking away from me and at the car down the road.  The bear had no clue of the speeding green spandex bullet that was on a collision course with it.

The human brain has the ability process critical events in slow motion.  It is a survival instinct brought on by adrenalin and a person’s perception of a life threatening event.  I can still picture every detail of this bear incident.  I saw that the two lane curved road had a metal guard rail on either side.  There were no other cars coming but swerving left would likely put me into the bears path and/or I would not be able to cut back before hitting the metal rail.  There was not enough room between the bear’s butt and rail on the right side for me to fit through.  I saw no cubs behind the bear and felt that rear of the bear was my best option.  I realized that if I tried to brake it would likely put me into or very near the bear’s side.  There was loose gravel next to the guard rail road shoulder.  Every cyclist knows that speed, turning, and loose gravel are never a good combination.  I aimed for a spot at the bear’s hip and yelled my loudest caveman Aurrrgh.  The bear immediately rocketed up in the air and forward by two feet.  I flew between rail and bear with less than three feet to spare.  By the time the bear’s feet touched back down I was pedaling east as hard as possible.  I glanced in my mirror to see one very freaked out bear headed for Canada.  I think I took my first breath a long ways down the road.  I can put this experience on my short list of the coolest scary moments in my life.

The next 30 minutes was a blur as my mind wrapped itself around what had just happened.  I made it to the Mazama area in record time.  My push to Wintrop was very pleasant as it was sunny, warm, and without any bear incidents.

I checked into the Hotel Rio Vista which is in the heart of the western theme town.  I was very happy to see how nice the room was.  I could step out of my glass door to a deck that is next to the Methow River.  After rolling for 75 miles this day I was happy to park my bike in the room.  After a shower and change of clothes,  I walked through town.  I enjoyed a great dinner at the Arrowleaf Bistro.  After dinner,  I continued to explore the town on foot before retiring to my room.  I anticipated the next day as I planned to relax, get some sun, and enjoy the whole day off of my bike.

River view

The view from my room at Hotel Rio Vista

I’ll finish this story and the second half of this trek in my next post.  I’m glad you could come with.

Posted in Bicycling, Cascade Mountain Loop, Mountains, National Parks, Photography, Washington Pass, Washington State, Waterfall, Winthrop | 4 Comments

Murphy’s Law Mountain Loop Highway

My plans to take a 125 mile cycle ride were altered at the hands of Murphy yesterday.  I had made it 35 miles up the highway when I stopped to check my gear and seek shelter from some light rain.

Rain clouds threatening my mountain ride.

Rain clouds threatening my mountain ride.

I’ve put on over 2,400 miles on this bike since last August.  I consider myself very lucky that in all of those miles I’ve only had one flat tire and no mechanical problems.  On that occasion, I was able to replace the tube and be back pedaling that time within 10 minutes.

Today, I looked down and saw that 1/2 of my left pedal had broken off.  One of my screws designed to secure the rear rack to the frame had also decided to leave my company.  I replaced the screw with one not being used from another part of the frame.  During this repair, my rear tire went flat.  No problem, I thought,  I have all the items needed to repair it.  I was so proud of myself to have the backup systems and knew I could overcome this minor setback.  I pulled the tire and tube and found the tire free of any sharp objects that may puncture the new tube.  I grabbed my tire pump and discovered that the small tip that connects to the  tube valve had unthreaded and also migrated to parts unknown.

M River from Mountain Loop Highway

Stillaguamish River from Mountain Loop Highway

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!  No problem, I have a back up system CO2 cartridge tire filling system.   I was concerned it would not have enough air to completely fill the tube but at least it could get me down the road to civilization.  I found that the device was defective and had lost its air pressure.  Damn you Murphy!

I was many miles into the National Forest on the Mountain Loop Highway and there was not very much traffic on this drizzly Friday.  Normally this lack of traffic would be a good thing for cycling but not when you are reliant on someone for help.  As with most of my mountain rides, there was no cellular telephone service here.  I prepared for the 10 mile walk back to the Verlot Ranger Station.  I was in the process of putting my front wheel on the rear so it would be easier to walk my bike and gear down the road.

A pre-Murphy Roadside Stream

A pre-Murphy Roadside Stream

Could it be?  A vehicle coming down the mountain?  Hell  yeah!  I flagged down the only vehicle I had seen in the last 30 minutes.  It was a county truck headed back towards Granite Falls.  I left out the names of my rescuers as they told me it is against policy to pick up hitchhikers.  They dropped me off at a business that had an air hose 20 miles down the road.   After pumping up the tire, I was again rolling down the road.  I rode the 17 miles back to my truck in Everett without mishap.

I unloaded my bike when I was back in Mukilteo and saw that my rear tire was flat again.  I just shook my head and chuckled to myself.   I spent the rest of the evening being very cautious for fear Murphy would continue his mischief.  Now I have woken to a new and sunny day.  After dropping my bike off at the shop for a complete overhaul, I will find some kind of non-cycling way to enjoy this day.

Thanks for following.

Roadside stream on the Mountain Loop Highway

Roadside stream on the Mountain Loop Highway

Posted in Bicycling, Mountains, National Parks, Photography | 2 Comments