Ah, it was a great day to be on bikes. The promise of a cloudless sky on the east side of the Cascade Mountains was fulfilled. Three of us, (out of 8 who expressed interest!) showed up in Hood River this morning. It was a frosty 29 degrees at home this morning but had warmed up to the mid 30's by the time we got to Hood River. There was a pretty brisk wind blowing from the east. We bundled up and shoved off into the wind and climbed the first hill from downtown Hood River to the Mark O. Hatfield trailhead where we accessed the carfree section of the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway.
The hills were noticeable but not insurmountable. We'd stop from time to time when a photo opportunity would present itself, like this one of Memaloose Island, a former burial ground for Native Americans.
We were a little concerned over the possibility of ice in the damp and shaded portions but it ended up not being an issue. We cruised right along. There was plenty of testosterone to go around as it seemed that every uphill presented an opportunity to see who could hold pace the longest. ....and of course the downhills were just plain fun!
(photo of Rowena Loops)
We pass a few islands in the Columbia River, here's a photo of Chicken Charlie Island. Wikpedia has some information on the island. The island, and the home on it, are for sale. Take a virtual tour!
We arrived at The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, our turnaround point and stopped for a little breather, a snack, and a good pull on the water bottles (as well as a visit to the sandbox!) before turning around and making our way back.
On the way out as we blasted down the Rowena Loops we noted the marker for the location to earn King of the Mountain points and the pink polka-dotted jersey. Here are Terry and Shawn giving it all they've got in a sprint to garner that coveted jersey!
You will have to ask them which one got the jersey!
We made our way back to Rowena Crest but did not stop as we cleared the summit then began the fun and fast run down the west side towards Mosier. At one point we were surprised to see another rider gaining on us. We were just coasting but we were moving very quickly. We allowed the faster rider to pedal by us on the left without contest......... but within a mile we had caught back up with and passed him. It seems he had spent all his horses getting around us and had nothing left. Young guys, when will they learn? ;-) We just continued our brisk pace back into Mosier.
I maxed out at just over 42 mph today, and it wasn't on our steepest descents. They were fast enough as it was thank you very much. I got on the pedals a bit to catch back up with the guys after taking their photo as they passed and just didn't want to catch up and fall in behind........ I wanted to blow past them!
From Mosier we climbed up the last hill of note then got back on the carfree section. In just a short distance of gentle upslope we arrived back at the Mosier Twin Tunnels.
Spring in the Gorge is always so pretty. There were plenty of wildflowers to greet us.
Here are Terry and Shawn at one of our photo stops.
Shawn was a trooper. It's early in his riding season and at times he was expending a great deal of energy to keep pace, but he never gave up. He just kept plugging along.
Give him a bit more time on the bike and I won't be able to catch him! (and neither will those of you who did not show up today!!!!)
We began our ride a bit farther west in Hood River than usual to make it easier for the folks to find us. That gave us just over 44 miles by the time we got back to our rigs. Here we are at the end, still smiling!
Perhaps we were still smiling because we knew we were on our way to a local brewpub to have our "debriefing" ;-)
Terry and Shawn each achieved a season high one day mileage.
It looks like we logged about 1850 ft of climbing.
All in all, a great day, great company, and a great ride!
...............Road Bike.....LifeCycle.....Total Miles