Monday, August 30, 2010

Fabulousness in North Cascades: August 27-29, 2010

After a week off the bike, it was time to make up for 'lost time'. I started my long weekend early, sans Tim, detouring to Buckley, WA to ride with my pals Andrea and Paul Weymiller up at Crystal Mountain. A loop I hadn't done in 6 or 7 years. A beautiful day and a great ride.

Andrea, Paul and me at the half way point with Mt. Ranier.

That view doesn't suck.

Then off to Seattle to hang with Pam Frick Schwartz, my dear friend from college, on Wednesday night and Thursday day. We were heading to the North Cascades with Doug Reid, and since he had to work Thursday p.m., I made a guest appearance at Cycle U's Thursday night bootcamp, led by Kristi Berg. Fun times. Tim took the train to Seattle Thursday evening and we decided to delay our departure to Friday a.m. Setting up tents in the dark and possible rain was not sounding fun.
Friday morning, we headed out on the North Cascade adventure. It was a beautiful drive, and we found this tall, skinny guy that looked like a bike racer at the gas station along the way.

I feel short.

So does my car.

Friday's ride was Cutthroat pass. We did a loop, which held some pleasant and unpleasant surprises. Making it a bit more epic. We encountered overgrowth so high, you couldn't see. The manzanita would shift and brake for you. It was a pretty big buzz kill after the epic-ness of the ride. But we mustered through with good attitudes and the trail opened up and ended with more beautiful views. The 5 miles of pavement at the end to get to Mazama wasn't so great. Doug had forgotten about that, but at least our ride back to the cars was there. 36 miles of fun! One way.

The boys: Doug, Ryan & Tim.

Tim and I at the top of Cutthroat Pass.

On top of the world.

That tiny speck riding is Ryan, just after the shadow. Gives it some perspective.

Another 'summit'. See the steep switchbacks left of me. We rode down those. Yikes!

Buzz kill. Thick brush post fire has overtaken part of the trail.

Just when I thought the scenery couldn't be beat from Friday, Saturday provided to be spectacular. Aside for the navigational errors to get to the trailhead, the ride was as expected. Well, we didn't expect snow, which we saw at 8000 feet. The ride was spectacular. Angel's Staircase loop. A ton of climbing, a chunk of hiking up a rocky pass carrying your bikes, but ending with a descent back to the car that, per usual on fun singletrack, ended too early. Aside from a few flats, some chilly weather, it was just smiles ear to ear. Pictures do not do this ride justice. You have to do it.

The crew headed out on Saturday.

Doug pointing to where we are going, although I don't think we believed him.

The lake before the real climbing started. And right before it started snowing.

Like I said, 'real' climbing.

It took a while. Check out the lake we were just at.

Finally at the top. A short traverse until we go down.

Taking it all in.

After safely reaching the bottom of the rocky part. But we had more climbing. Some flats. And snow. And not many more pictures. But then we had one fun descent. I can not tell you how fun the final descent was. I wish I had a video cam.

Sunday was another adventure in navigation. What we have found is that the maps in this remote area are not the best. Roads labeled with different names than the signs, trailheads not exactly where you thought they were. It was epic in it's own way. A long out and back lost finding the trail, then some more on two wheels. But when you are riding in such a beautiful area, you just make the best of it. And it was so different from the previous two days. So much diversity. Fun times. Too bad it had to end with a 6+ hour drive home. Oh well. We will definitely go back. So much more riding to be explored.

One of our many "look at the map" stops.

We finally did find singletrack.

The fun factor was high.

All smiles.

Back to the shin beating grass and bushes.

A successful trip!


StevenCX said...

Well that was pretty cool running into Trebon. He really is tall isn't he?

Sue said...

well, it was kind of planned. We were going to meet him at the campground, but we were also supposed to be there the night before. It worked out really well!!! :)