|Scott, Martin, Les, & Dwaine...|
|Les, Dwaine, James, & Scott...|
|Conor, John, & Jim...|
The weather forecast sounded good: a high of 70 degrees for Greenwater with 0% chance of precipitation. Conor, John, and I arrived at the Crystal Mountain turnoff from highway 410 (our designated meeting spot) at around 6:25 AM. When we arrived, Leon and Rob had already arrived (they got there early and rode up to Crystal Mountain Ski Area for a little extra training) as well as Rick and Jim. By the time we were ready to head out (about 6:45 AM), we had a nice group of riders (John, Conor, Mike (me), Leon, Rob, Mark, Chris Nelson, Martin, Scott Wagar, Jim, Les, Dwaine, Rick, and James). As we headed up toward Cayuse Pass, things split up quickly with Conor, Chris, and Rob riding out of sight almost immediately.
We regrouped at Cayuse Pass and headed up toward
Chinook. At this point, it was cool
mid-forties) but not cold. Most
of us were dressed warmly based on the assumption that the descent down the
east side of Chinook Pass would be cold.
We made our way up to Chinook Pass in various groups and regrouped at
the summit. At the summit of Chinook
Pass, it was pretty warm. It was clear
that many of us had overdressed.
point, jackets and layers of clothing started to come off. The problem with the descent down the east
side of Chinook was not the cold – it was the other humans with whom we shared
the road. One of the vehicles that
passed us thought that it would be fun to dump tacks on the road (keep in mind that it was early morning, and we were not holding up traffic in any way). As we descended from Chinook Pass, we
suddenly saw bright shiny objects (tacks) all over the road. Before long, our group had sustained four
flat tires – which slowed us down but did not diminish the beautiful weather
and the fun. We proceeded about 8 miles
down the east side of Chinook, turned around, and headed back up.
|Cayuse Pass: John, Dwaine, Les, & Jim...|
|View on way up from Cayuse Pass to Chinook Pass...|
|Summit of Chinook Pass...|
|Our road snaking down toward Cayuse Pass...|
Once we arrived back of the top of Chinook Pass, we proceeded down toward Cayuse Pass.
section of road is stunning both for the scenery and for the views of the road
snaking beneath you toward Cayuse Pass.
The original plan had been to descend all the way to the bottom of the
other side (south side) of Cayuse Pass and then turn around and come back
up. Unfortunately, the flat tires had
slowed us down enough that we only proceeded part way down the south side of
Cayuse before reversing our course and heading back up.
|Heading back down from Chinook toward Cayuse Pass...|
Once we had regrouped at the top of Cayuse, we headed down the north side to our cars. This sections is all downhill, and we flew (unfortunately, no photos as I was busy just trying to keep up). As usual, Conor took off like a bullet. Before long, I found myself following Rob and Rick who were in pursuit of Conor. Rob is a big man, and the draft behind him is phenomenal. The problem is that you can’t see the road when you are drafting behind Rob; and – at 40 mph – even little bumps can be an uncomfortable surprise. We were slightly below – or sometimes slightly above – 40 mph for much of the descent. As fast as Rob and Rick were going, we still did not manage catch up to Conor until the bottom of the descent.
Back at the cars, Leon and Rob headed up toward Crystal Mountain Ski Area one more time with Martin and Scott Wagar also heading up. The rest of us headed home. I heard later from Leon that he and Rob went part way up, turned around and headed back to Rob’s vehicle. Martin and Scott went all the way up to the ski area.
The weather was perfect for this ride as you will see in the photos. To view all of the photos from this ride, click on the following link: https://plus.google.com/photos/103821724300588557330/albums/6020174399606198753 .