Day 1: Anacortes, WA – Diablo, WA
Distance: 86 miles
Vertical: 1,880 feet
Biking Time: 5:15
The anticipation to get the ride started the night before was unreal. I was consistently freaking out as we packed our car because I have an irrational fear of forgetting items when packing for trips… not sure if there’s a name for that or not. When we woke up and drove up to Anacortes in the morning it was pretty apparent that we didn’t forget anything. The four of us barely fit inside of the Gaylor family’s Subaru Legacy. Nolan and I were actually buried under our bags in the back seat. I promise it was safe, Mom.
When we got to Anacortes at about 9:00am, we spent a slightly embarrassing amount of time taking photos and shaking the nerves out and then really started to hit the road at 10:00am. We cruised through Anacortes starting off our journey on the “Tommy Thompson” trail which takes us over part of the bay and onto Highway 20. It was slightly unnerving at first riding next to all the cars but there was a massive shoulder and the three of us were able to draft off of each other and the cars that rushed by us. We averaged about 22-23mph and breezed right through Burlington and then Sedro-Wooley.
We started to slow down as we made our way to Concrete where we met up with Nolan and had a minor freak-out when Google Maps said that the North Cascades Highway was closed. Luckily, we learned that day that Google can be wrong. Thanks, Obama.
After we got through Marblemount we began to see why Highway 20 has a reputation for beautiful views. We also got a taste of the climbing we’d have to endure the next day. After 60+ miles of riding on the first day of our tour, the climb was definitely not welcome. A couple pretty tough climbs up and we were at the Gorge Lake Campground where we met a new friend, Krista and ate our Mountain House food. Despite Matt’s warnings, that was quite possibly the best chili mac and cheese I have ever had.
Day 2: Diablo, WA – Winthrop, WA
Distance: 74 miles
Vertical: 6,788 feet
Biking Time: 5:30
This day has been Goliath since we planned the route. We started going uphill right out of the gate and hit an unexpected but very welcome downhill. For the first twenty miles we were flying up the hill and after we took a break and refilled our water we told Nolan to meet us at the summit.
The next fifteen miles was the most difficult bike ride we have ever had to do. When we hit the summit of Rainy Pass we thought it was all over. Talking to some other bikers who had just summited going Westbound and were participating in the Cascade 1200, we realized that we had one more tough climb up to Washington Pass at an elevation of 5,477 feet. The grueling climb was all worth it though as the views up there were amazing and we got to see some of the most amazing scenery that Washington was to offer.
After taking in the view as much for as long as we could excuse ourselves from the road, we took on the descent and flew down the mountain averaging around 36mph. It was very clear that we were in Eastern Washington once we got down: underbrush disappeared from the sides of the road, the air became very dry and it got really hot. The last 20 miles to Winthrop flew by as we had a slight decline and an awesome tailwind.
We were fortunate enough to meet up with an amazing couple, Ash and Linda Court, who generously welcomed us into their beautiful home on the Bear Creek Golf Course. As I write this post I am sitting in an air conditioned basement with a stomach full of at least 2lbs of spaghetti and a desire to do nothing but sleep.
Thanks so much to everyone who has supported us thus far, we are well on our way to Boston and our goal of raising $20,000. Tomorrow we head to Tonasket, WA and then the day after Colville. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some internet in one of those cities and update you all with another blog post!
Let the good times roll,
P.S. The saddle sores are coming in real nicely.