The morning began with me waking up fully rested in my hammock, swinging between two pines, surrounded by the sheer cliffs of the Cascades. The beautiful views distracted me from the reality that I was due to bike 40 or so miles consecutively uphill, and that Wes and Brian were fully packed and ready to roll out of camp. After telling them that I was likely to meet them along the way up our first and largest pass (Washington Pass) I took my time in the bathroom and fixed myself a peanut butter and jelly tortilla.
The first few pedal strokes were blissful as it was a soft downhill on totally silent roads out of the camp in the most picturesque Cascadian gorge. Once I turned a corner the headwind kicked in and knocked me back, then I was confronted by a wall of asphalt, this continued for almost 43 more miles.
There's a zen-like rhythm to these massive hill climbs, you find a gear and stick to it, spinning to the cadence of a good song or losing yourself deep in thought and breath. The pain of the climb is never lost but you learn to block that out and focus on the circular motion of your legs and the views that surround you.
Eventually I ran into Wes and Brian on the side of the road and I greeted them and carried on to the top. The road seemed to never end and with each mile I seemed to be sinking into a lower gear range, the climb was definitely getting to me. About fifteen miles from the summit I ran out of water and gears, but fortunately that's when the sides of the roads were covered in fresh snow banks that I was able to clean the top off of and fill my water bottles with some of the freshest and coldest water nature had to offer.
After topping out on rainy pass I finally made to push to Washington Pass completing my 43 mile odyssey, with Wes and Brian not terribly far behind! After a few photo ops we descended on one of the most stunning roads I've ever seen to a very well earned lunch/dinner in Mazama and soft pedaled to Twisp, just in time to beat a rainstorm, set up tents behind a motel, and find a local Mexican restaurant! The climb was a challenge but one we all conquered with flying colors, so much so I cannot wait for our next challenge!