Cascade Mountain Loop Bicycle Trek
August 20-26, 2012
The bike trip I took in August left me with lasting memories of this incredible experience. I began planning the trip weeks prior and made many adjustments along the way. I expanded the trek as I wanted to complete the Cascade Mountain Loop. I started the trek on Monday, August 20, 2012 from my home on Camano Island. Years ago an old SWAT buddy, Jeff Katzer, saw how I traveled with a backpack and bundles held onto my bicycle with bungee cords. He took pity on me and gave me his old bike pannier bags. I now have them and a third bag attached to the rear bike rack which were full of rain gear, tools, clothing, water and other items. As it turned out I didn’t need some of those things but I wanted to be able to spend the night in the woods if broke down or had some other problem. In 1994, I bought a used Trek mountain bike and literally wore the pedals off of it. I mean that when I gave it away recently there was duct tape holding the left one together. I had planned to throw it in the trash but a buddy at work wanted it. I was a bit embarrassed to even give it to someone as it was definitely ready for the glue factory. Since taking over the Everett Police Bike Unit I’ve realized that there have been a few improvements in the last 20 years.
I finally upgraded from the bike I’ve had for many years and rode for countless miles. I now have a new Specialized Crosstrail bike. It’s a hybrid mountain bike that is a bit lighter, has disc brakes, lock out front shocks, 29 gears, and many other features.
When I first started planning my Cascade Loop trek I wasn’t sure if my goal was realistic. I decided to test the hardest portion of the trip.
August 10, 2012
Newhalem to Rainy Pass
A week before my trip I tested my new bike and ability on the toughest section of road. I parked my truck and hopped on the bike 14 east of Marblemount at the Newhalem campground (Elevation 500’). My plan was to make it to the top of RainyPass and back to see if my trek plan was realistic. It would be about 75 miles round trip with 50% of it being an uphill climb of 4,385 feet. It was a Friday and I had many other northwest bicycle groups on the road. They carried very little on the road bikes as they had support vehicles that set up watering and food stops along the way. There were several vehicles and trailers that periodically stopped to pick up those that could not finish the ride due to mechanical or physical issues. By mid day the temperature was in the 90s. I drank over 2 ½ gallons of water by the end of this day’s ride. I carry 50 ounces of water with me and used my filter hand pump to extract water from a few of the many streams that cross the road. I found all of the other bikers to be very generous and declined many offers of food, water, or a ride in one of the support vehicles. It took me about five hours to make it to the top of RainyPass and 3 hours back down. At the end of the day I realized two things. One, this part of my planned trip was definitely toughest section of road. Two, I would be shopping for a padded bicycle seat and get a pair of padded bike shorts ASAP. I think I may have bruised a butt bone or two as I couldn’t sit on anything hard for a few days.
On Monday I was in the bike store shopping. I left with an armload of neon green spandex, form-fitting, padded shorts, and most important of all, a new padded bike seat. I did some research on fitting a bike and made adjustments to my seat height as my left Achilles tendon was bothering me. Due to my seat being too high I was over extending on my down pedal. All was good and I was ready to take on the mountain again.
The following chapters will have many more great photos for you to look at. You should rest up as the next Mountain Quest stories will wear you out.