Monday, 15 September
After my Ring of Fire race, I figured I deserved some serious time off the bike and I wasn't planning to ride much this last weekend. But then I got an invitation to join a ride of a new team that's still coming together. Unlike other new-team rides (as reported on local blogs) that ventured all the way around the north end of Lake Washington or featured a whopping 4 kilometers of climbing, yesterday's outing was a nice 103-mile jaunt and featured 6,400 feet of elevation gain.
We started in Carson:
We rode out the Wind River road and climbed about 10 miles up and out of the drainage and over this pass:
A few miles past the summit, we turned left on Curly Creek Road (a screaming descent) and had great views of Mt. St. Helens. This view is from the top of the descent. The mountain gets closer and closer as you descend and fills up the gaps between the trees by the time you're near the bottom.
We turned right on FR 90, which winds along the Lewis River for a long way. We met up with a couple signs like this one; the longest dirt/gravel section was about half a mile.
We stopped at a campground along the Lewis River for water (which we had to pump out of the well). Instead of pit toilets, this campground had composting toilets, and I learned that my waste wouldn't go to waste:
At the next junction, instead of taking the road marked toward Trout Lake, we opted for the hillier route (even though Trout Lake was our next way point). About 15 miles of climbing brought repeated view of Mt. Adams--and utterly empty roads. There was absolutely no one to patrol the yellow line in the middle of the road. :)
After all that climbing, you come to the junction to Randle and Trout Lake. While Randle is closer to home, Trout Lake was where I needed to go. A few miles of flat and gentle rollers (and more views of Adams and no traffic), and then there's a 12-mile descent into Trout Lake. I hung on to the freight train paceline until one steep section where gravity didn't favor me. We stopped for calories (the first store we'd seen since Carson) and then rolled the last 25 miles down to White Salmon with views of Mt. Hood most of the way (but speeds too high for me to fish the camera out of my pocket!.
Glorious day, perfect ride, wonderful friends, and great food all weekend. I was so glad to be there!