Monday, July 11, 2011

Methow Training Week, Day 2

Well, today was Washington Pass day, and I was kinda dreading it. All I could think about was the last time I did this ride when my back hurt SO MUCH on the last few miles to the pass. That didn't happen today, but I still worked really hard.

My day started with another swim in Patterson Lake, this time to the south. It was somewhat shorter than yesterday, but my excuse was the big ride ahead of me. It was very pleasant to be swimming along the west shore as the sun came up over Patterson Mtn.

Then back to my room for breakfast and getting ready to ride. Id didn't know whether there would be water at the pass so I left prepared for a long time without access to fluids (4 bottles). That was a wise move as the rest area isn't yet very operational. The snow has been cleared or melted out, but the bathrooms with running water are still locked up.

The photo montage in this post is from the rest area overlook first looking across to Kangaroo Ridge, then up into the cirque that forms the headwaters of Early Winters Creek, and finally the ever-stupendous Liberty Bell massif. The view from the overlook at the east and north faces of Liberty Bell is just breath-taking, always.

I expected head wind on the ride up but didn't have much. However, there was a lot of highway repair going on with a pilot car to lead us through so I ended up with 2 stops, both up and down, to get through the construction zone. However the climb up was just as hard as I remembered. At Early Winters campground the road just kicks up and it goes on and on and on...for about 20 miles. In the end my ride up (42 miles) took 3:15, including my road construction stop.

At the summit I enjoyed the view, took pictures, and donned additional clothing for the descent. I was really looking forward to a wind-assisted trip back to Twisp. Alas, this was not to be.

After only about 3 miles coasting I was stopped for the road construction and had a long wait. Got a chance to chat with an Irish guy who was headed to Mazama with his family for a vacation. Then the flagger made me get in the BACK of the pack for the pilot trip, even though I could go as fast as the cars in the pilot group. Ah, well.

Once we finally got going I really sailed along. BUT I had a HEAD WIND. Really unusual as the wind is normal down-river. For the steep stuff back to Early Winters I could still manage to coast 30 MPH or so but I was really buffeted by the gust wind. Using the guidelines here I would guesstimate winds of 40-50 km/hr with some really strong gusts. It really took the fun out of the ride back, just grinding into the wind, going 12-14 MPH most of the time. It was just absolute joy to get in the lee of something for 2 seconds and get some relief. Time back: 2:30, including my traffic stop.

I dragged my butt into my room and just collapsed. Then sucked down a carton of chocolate milk and got a bit of energy back.

Now I'm eating real food and feeling better. That bed is really gonna feel good tonight.

Tomorrow: Trail running on Wolf Creek.

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