Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Scenic riding with tailwinds!

Wednesday, August 5   Day 4    Leavenworth to Selah, WA   91 miles, 4400' of climbing

Before I left Leavenworth this morning, at precisely 8:15, I watched this fellow in his Bavarian clothes play the Alpenhorn. It was a highlight of the day! I had read that he does this every morning at 8:15 and 9:15, so when it appeared we'd be departing at just the right time, I asked several others if they wanted to watch this. No one did. He played two songs, waved to us tourists, and then went back inside.By the time I took off, I was way behind everyone else.
Five miles east of Leavenworth, I turned south onto this highway. You can see we were headed into forested mountains, which was pretty. Before my roommate, Bob, even got to this spot, he had taken a fall that got him pretty bloody and bent up his bike. Ever the trouper, Susan bandaged him up, corrected his bike, and he took off in pursuit of the group. I didn't even notice him when I passed the van at a turnout where they were tending to him.
This is the co-owner of PAC Tours, the famous Lon Haldeman. Now I can say I rode bikes with him, winner of the first two Races Across America in '83 and '84. I also have ridden with his wife, the other co-owner of PAC Tours, Susan Notorangelo. She too is a famous endurance cyclist with various cross-country records.

To catch up to these riders, I had to hammer. Once the road turned upward, I was more easily able to reach them since I tend to ride faster than others on the uphill sections. Even though my saddle sore was still really painful, I seemed better able to ride hard today. Maybe I was just more used to the pain. ?
After 18 miles, we left Hwy 97 and ascended for six miles on the old Blewett Pass road. Here's a view halfway up. When I saw that we were going to climb to Blewett Pass, I thought of my dad. His Manual Arts High School track and football coach was Jim Blewett, and Dad talked about him his entire life.
This view along the climb shows the roadway farther down where I had been a few minutes earlier.
From the summit, I took photos of others as they came up the final section. Before the first rider arrived, I looked back down this hill and saw an animal cross the road. A young cougar? A bobcat? Not sure, but I was excited nonetheless.
During the descent back to down to Hwy 97, I took this picture because that's 97 you can see down there, and we would soon be riding along it deeper into those mountains.
After about 38 miles of riding, Hwy 97 turned away from the forest and the scenery looked like what you can see in this photo - drier. Once we descended the hill here, we picked up a strong tailwind that blew us at about 32 mph into the town of Ellensburg. After a rest stop there, we continued south with that tailwind and soon reached the Yakima River.
 This was the kind of incredible scenery we had for the next 25 miles. Here are more photos:

 Just look at those cliffs back there!
More dramatic bends in the Yakima River. I loved riding along it, and with hardly any cars.

My final photo, of an apple orchard where they've trained the trees onto wire trellises.

After this we had only a few miles remaining before our destination town of Selah. With only one lousy mile to go, I got another flat tire. Boo.

Bob, with his injuries, made it all the way. He even got a slashed tire in Ellensburg, and fixed it well enough to get him home using a "boot", a piece of an old tire to place inside where the slash is located. He's The Man. We walked about a mile for dinner at a Mexican place, and now it's time for bed.

Tomorrow we head west into the Cascades, a 97-miler with 5700 feet of climbing.

No comments:

Post a Comment