This blog posting comes to you a day late, why? Because we were so shattered last night and all day today, we couldn’t muster the energy to write the flippin’ thing. And crazy though it may seem, we’re still completely bush whacked now, 24 hours later! So let us try to share with you what happened yesterday to cause us so much pain and suffering.
Reviewing the maps and elevation guide in the morning, we knew the 90-mile ride into Winthrop, WA over a 5,500ft mountain pass through the North Cascades would be pretty tough, but we didn’t realise just how tough! Waking up later than planned and leaving at 10:30am didn’t help matters either. Still, we were feeling quietly confident, mainly because it wasn’t raining (the first time in 4 days), the sun was out and the temperature was just perfect for cycling. 15 miles in and everything was looking good. The winds weren’t very strong and we were rolling with ease over the nursery hills situated at the foot of the snow-capped mountain range of the North Cascades. Seasoned Followers of the blog will know that when we’re experiencing Cycling Perfection something bad is very likely to happen, and it did! ½ a mile later another one of Anthony’s rear spokes snapped with the all-familiar ‘Thwang!’ sound. We couldn’t do much but cut the remaining piece of loose spoke from the wheel, shrug our shoulders, curse a little, unclip Anthony’s rear brakes and head into the mountains. Just as we were about to set off we saw something protruding out from Kats front tyre, reflecting in the sunshine. On closer inspection it was a shard of glass lodged deeply into her front tyre, surprisingly though the tyre wasn’t deflating and Kat decided to leave it in and gamble on it holding out for the remaining 75 miles.
So with a warped rear wheel and a broken bottle stuck in a tyre, we got back on our saddles and set off to tackle the next 40-mile section of the ride, which relentlessly ascended 5,000ft without a break. As we cycled, we were blessed with many great views of the North Cascades. Seeing the snow capped mountains, deep gorges, many waterfalls and crystal clear lakes was truly breathtaking. We took some photos, not as many as we would have liked, but took the executive decision to try and finish the ride rather than stop to document our failure. Nonetheless we have posted some photos for your viewing pleasure.
After a quick lunch of cream cheese English muffins, energy bars, peanuts, chocolate bars, crisps and Powerade at about 2,500ft, we felt suitably refreshed and ready to knock out another 3,000ft round of climbing. Problem was Anthony wasn’t refreshed enough! Just 400ft from the summit of Washington Pass, Kat riding behind, noticed that Anthony was swerving in and out of the very wide hard shoulder. “Are you all right sweetheart?” she enquired. Anthony gave no response. “… that’s strange” she thought to herself, so asked again “Are you alright?” “I’m seeing green dots” came the response. Close to fainting but in his usual ‘I will not be defeated’ stupidity, Anthony’s body was close to shutting down and he refused to accept it. So Kat, with brain still engaged fortunately forced us to stop at the side of the road, rest and take in some more food. We eventually made it to the top and prepared for the 25-mile downhill ride into Winthrop. This section was of course a lot easier, reaching speeds in excess of 46 mph we made it to our hotel (Rio Vista) quickly and safely.
Thanks to Sonia (the Management) who welcomed us in, we were relieved to be out of the saddle. She also recommended a close by Mexican restaurant for us to refuel.
fyi we broke our record and did 6,800ft of climbing and burnt 9,320 calories …booya