Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hitting the reset button

Last week the weather was dreadful. And it should have been. Summer never hits the Seattle area until July 5th. I mean really, who are we to think we'll get a taste of warmth prior to Independence Day?

Not one, but two heavy training sessions were foiled due to rain. First a kilo effort on Thursday and then racing Friday. Chris and I made the most of it though and headed out of the city earlier than expected Friday evening - with our mountain bikes mounted on the roof and trunk full of climbing gear. Our destination? 98833.

We arrived pretty late that night - seeing about 20 deer and a cougar along Highway 20 on our drive East. The next morning we had a hearty breakfast of pancakes and java - then grabbed a bite to eat at the country store before obtaining beta on Angel's Staircase. Turns out summer hasn't hit the east side either so the route was definitely snowed in. We were directed to do Starvation Mountain instead - 25 miles and 4,800 feet of elevation gain.

We hit the trail head at 3pm. Thoughts of maybe descending in the dark crossed both our minds - but we were determined to get an ass burner of a ride in. Up and up we climbed - crossing several creeks and climbing for 10 miles on single track. The final portion was on fire roads through the remnants of a huge fire in 2006. A couple of quick stops confirmed that bugs pose a major problem this year. We would stop, do a quick check of the map, then keep riding as the mosquitoes would cloud up whenever you diddled for too long.

Unfortunately the views were nothing to write home about. And after climbing for roughly 4 hours, the summit of Starvation mountain was anti-climatic. Not to mention the swarm of bugs. What we thought would be an ass kicking time down some single track revealed a mix use trail that motor cross bikes had torn up. Bummer! But eventually, about 10 miles from the end, the single track improved and I found a huge smile spread across my face.

And every time we came across a creek crossing it was like playing Russian Roulette - you never knew how deep they would be and if you'd be swimming or make it across. I was carrying the camera so I had to make sure I made it. Chris was the guinea pig and at first he would throttle through them but toward the end when we were getting tired from being on the bikes for 5 hours - showed some hesitation.

We did make it back to the car a little before dark and headed straight to the Twisp River Pub for brews and food and caught a little bit of Le Tour on the big screen. They also had white guy live reggae band playing so we did a little seated butt scooting while chowing down. Yet oddly enough, the three IPA beers I drank did nothing to me. It wasn't until later that I figured they were near beer. Somebody forgot to add the alcohol! They tasted good, regardless.

The rest of the weekend slowed to nearly a stand still pace. Just what the doctor ordered. As the sun came out and dried the pine needle forest, sweet aroma filled my senses and the frantic pace of city life melted away. A trip up Hart's Pass into hill alpine sealed the deal with a nap in a meadow and watching Makiah chase down marmots and well fed ground squirrels. Pictures to come....

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