Chelan to Leavenworth
I woke early from a great night’s sleep at Mike and Deb’s house. I used my best ninja skills as I packed up and prepared for this day’s journey. Unfortunately, I tripped the sensitive dachshund alarm. I was happy to see that it reset after only one bark and that I didn’t wake everyone in the house. I was rolling down the road around 6:15. I hit some mild head wind as I returned to Highway 97 which slowly but surely increased throughout the day. I passed some incredible homes and sites and I traveled the river canyon. By the time I had reached the Hwy 2 cutoff at Wenatchee the headwind was wearing on me. I thought, finally I would be out of it as I turned westbound on Hwy 2, but no! The warm air coming down the Hwy 2 canyon ensured that I would not be robbed of a workout. I was thankful for the coolness that enveloped me as I passed orchards and irrigated fields. By early afternoon the prize was within sight. I entered Leavenworth, the land of beer, sausage, and men with funny clothes. This town has been built to resemble a Bavarian village. It is a fun place that I recommend as a place to visit.
After checking into my hotel at the west end of town, I cleaned up and walked into the heart of tourist central. We have some friends on Camano Island that have the wine business Dusty Cellars.
Ryan and Dusty have a tasting room on Camano Island and recently opened one in the heart of Leavenworth. I found the business and chatted with Mercedes who runs the shop. After tasting a couple of red varieties, I bought a bottle of Syrah. I stopped to get a BBQ chicken pizza to go, and watched the Seahawks kick butt in a preseason football game on TV in my room.
My original plan was to take this day off before being picked up by Tawnee on Sunday as she traveled home from Spokane. I had already decided to adjust that plan. I wanted to finish the Cascade Loop and make it back to Hwy 9. Another goal of mine was to do over 100 miles on my bike in one day. I had a nice breakfast at the hotel before walking downtown. This place is so much more enjoyable in the morning hours before the hoard of tourists hit it. I had a mission to pick out something special for Tawnee. I found the perfect thing, a gold, wild rose necklace. I gathered some supplies for the next day’s ride and packed up my saddlebags.
That evening I enjoyed a great dinner on the rooftop of Visconti’s Italian Restaurant. From my vantage point I could look down on the busy tourist activity while surrounded by hanging flower baskets and cooled by water misters.
My anticipation grew as I packed bags and prepared for the next day’s final assault on the mountains.
Leavenworth to Lake Stevens
I headed out of Leavenworth in the early morning before most of the town was awake.
This early start gave me a jump on the Sunday westbound traffic which made it very enjoyable. It was a very quiet ride but for the bubbling water and the woods starting to awake. It was very cold out as I rode through the shaded canyon. I picked up my pace in an effort to stay warm. I stopped at a rest stop about half way up Steven’s Pass. I redirected the bathroom hairdryer air to go up my shirt in an effort to fight off the cold. Once I felt that I was dry and a bit warmer, I head back up the road. My mind wandered as I recognized places mentioned in the book I had read by the pool a few days prior. It wasn’t unit I reached the summit that I truly felt warm. There was a large group of extreme downhill mountain bike riders in the parking lot. As they donned pads, hard-shell protective covers, and full face helmets, I talked to them about their sport. They ride the ski chairlift up to the mountain top with their bike before rocketing back down the mountain on two wheels. It seems that “Crazy” is a relative term. As insane as I thought these folks were, they said the same about my trek.
Next was the payoff for all of the hill climbing, the trip down! I knew I would need the downhill momentum to keep me on my pace schedule. I had much time to work through the math story problem and determine how hard I would have to ride in order to make my 101 mile goal before Tawnee caught up to me.
(Tawnee’s time, distance, and average MPH from Spokane to Lake Stevens, compared to my time, distance, and speed from Leavenworth= OMG, I have got to ride faster.)
I felt I could make it to my goal if I just didn’t take any significant breaks and kept my foot on the gas pedal. A rear tire blowout in Index was not part of my plan. I shifted into Nascar pit crew mode as I replaced the tube and started pumping it back up with my hand tire pump. I usually run 85 psi in my tires for the road but I could not get the pump to pressurize above 60 psi. I remembered seeing those cool little CO2 cartridges in the bike store back when I bought this bike. Oh how I wished I would have bought one and had it with me now. Great, not only had I lost valuable time but I would have to work yet harder with this low pressure tire. I hit the road as hard as I could and took no breaks for the next 40 miles. As I neared Sultan I flew past a long line of backed up traffic due to the round about they have there now in the road. I was about ½ a mile down the road and found much more backed up traffic. This time it was due to the Monroe Fair. I plugged these factors into my story problem and found the I still had to keep up this fast pace. A stop light at the fairgrounds allowed me to reach back in my bag for more water and food. The fatigue bear was on my back as I turned northbound onto Hwy 9. I made it to the finish line in Lake Stevens three minutes before Tawnee got there. 101 miles! With the bike loaded up on the car rack I made the final part of the trek in the passenger side seat. It took about 25 minutes with much Gatorade and water before I felt like I could focus again. Our bodies have an incredible way of dealing with prolonged physical stress by dumping adrenaline and endorphins into the bloodstream. I had my body in an anaerobic state for hours. The result is a feeling of high which was quite pleasant, and very legal.
This bike trek is an experience I will cherish forever. I’m hooked on this new outdoor experience. I have no regrets but that I should have started doing this years ago.
My Mountain Climbing Goal
I plan to conquer every paved road that takes me over the mountain and passes of Washington State. As this summer weather will soon fade to winter I hope to meet this goal by the end of summer 2013. Next up…Mt. Shuksan, Artist Point.