I often go for a nice 33 mile bicycle ride around Yakima, stopping at Starbucks to rest, read, and visit with friends before the final eight mile stretch home. I usually do the loop four or five times a week so I’m in pretty good shape. But I wasn’t sure I was ready for the trip Preston (a 19 years old who rode over 5000 miles in the last year) suggested when he invited me to ride with him from Yakima to White Pass. “How far do you think it would be?” I asked. “About a hundred miles, round trip” he said.
“How many feet in elevation?”
“About 4500 feet.”
“That’s almost a mile you know. And I’m 51 years old!”
“You’ll do fine. Do you want to go?”
I hesitantly told him I’d like to go, but wasn’t sure I could make it to the top. He said that would be fine, we could stop when we got to Rimrock lake and return if necessary. So we planned to meet at his house at 7:00 AM Saturday May 14, 2011. I was a little concerned about the weather because there was lots of rain in the forecast. But as it turned out, the day was cool and overcast which was perfect for seven hour climb to the mountain pass. If it had been much warmer I would have had a much more difficult time. Despite drinking about gallon of water, I lost four pounds in fat and perspiration during the trip. Most of which came back (unfortunately) after I rehydrated.
When Rose dropped me off at Preston’s house, I was happy to see my other old friend Jim Milton. He rode with us for about 20 miles before he felt he should return. He’s sixty-six years old and hasn’t been doing much riding lately, so he wasn’t prepared for a long climb, but he did just fine when he was with us.
Preston and I stopped by the bridge on the Tieton road which goes the “long way” around the south side of Rimrock lake. Here’s a happy pic of a perpetually happy rider (nice hair, eh?):
Here I am standing by the lovely mountain stream (gotta wear clothes folks can see for miles!):
And here is I am at the peak (still a lot of snow up there!):
Preston and I standing in victory!
Preston created a wonderful little video of our adventure which I post here on my Facebook page.
The ride down was, of course, extremely fun. Preston and I talked about how amazing it is to remember when you are flying at 30 miles an hour down the mountain side that all the energy causing you to move was put there by your own two legs and stored as gravitational potential energy.
At the end of the day, I had climbed 7983 feet (because of all the ups and downs) and gone 98 miles (as recorded on my iPhone GPS tracking app). Preston did a little more because he had to ride farther to get home. That’s 1.5 miles vertical climbing! What a day! It’s great to be alive!