Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dwaine's Picture Post for Rainiering on Rainier

Climbing Cayuse from the North during Ramrod is a memorable experience. Most of the Cyclopaths have this section of pavement burnt into their long term memory. But climbing it before eight a.m. on an August morning made the climb seem almost foreign. The temperature was cool. Our legs did not yet ache. The shadows stretched out long before us as the sun rose over the horizon. Cayuse really did show us a friendly face on this first leg of our trip.
In another attempt at cleverness, the author intended to memorialize each ascent with a photo showing the numerical order of the climb. As we reached the top of Cayuse the group sans photographer showed the camera a single digit indicating that Cayuse, the first of many, had been summited. The original intent was a photo at the top of each climb or pass. Not till later did we realize that the counting, not the climbing, would provide the bigger challenge.
Sunrise is always a treat. We saw more traffic than usual but this climb was as beautiful as ever. The sign welcoming us to the Sunrise visitor's center (elevation 6400 feet) was a great prop for our second summit photo. We just needed to be careful not to step in the mud.
This was Adam's first bicycle trip up and down the road to Sunrise. After we completed the descent and returned to the flatter part of the road we had a great talk about the steep and bendy parts of the descent. Les and I talked about memorizing the various twists and turns. Everyone agreed the descent is pretty darn fun whether it was a riders first or twenty-first time down.

The short trip from the top of Cayuse to the top of Chinook is probably the author's favorite bit or pavement. The roadway and rock walls have an old-timey feel to them.  The cars are generally moving pretty slow. There is a decent shoulder. The views are stunning. And the wooden footbridge over the road at the summit reminds riders of a mountain top finish in a grand tour. It made sense for another group photo showing our numerical progress but there was some disagreement. Apparently Les and Mike have a long running fued over which climbs count as passes and which climbs don't. Adam and I learned pretty quickly not to bring up the subject.

Right after photo number four was taken the author felt a change in shoe fit. Apparently as I remounted a screw let go on my right shoe and the tensioning buckle, still attached to the plastic strap, became free to move about on each pedal stroke. To my luck and amazement the buckle tensioner mechanism held the screw captive. At our next stop I over tensioned the remaining straps, removed the buckle and screw, deposited them in my pocket, and made a mental note to make a repair when we returned to the cars. I hoped this easily fixed buckle detachment filled our quota of mechanical issues for the day.

At some point we talked about how often and how long to stop for rest. The group did not always agree. Until we reached the two thirds point of our day. Adam took in the beauty of Reflection Lake. Les took some photos. The author laid flat and nearly napped on the warm rock wall. Mike had a mini picnic. He was wise enough to bring something more than just energy bars. We were a little envious as he enjoyed his peanut butter and honey sandwich.

Les smiles as he shows us proof that we reached our 'Rainiering' goal of 14,410 feet. Well, if we were content with the 1956 U.S. Geological Survey height. We weren't. The rest of the group was aiming for the new official GPS derived height of 14,411 feet.

The Cyclopaths 2016 'Rainiering' ride climbing came to an end at the top of backbone ridge. This worked out well as it was an easy descent back to the cars and a pretty good place for a celebratory photograph. A stick was jammed against a steel bicycle to become a tripod and we smiled as the camera's self timer did it's thing. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. This photo is worth over 14k feet.


  1. As usual, I enjoyed your post, Dwaine. Thank you.

    Mike H

  2. Nice composition Dwaine. Brought back great memories.