Total Kilometres: 409 (254 miles)
High/Low Temp: 10 Celcius (at the summit of White Pass and also at the apex of the ride around Mount St. Helens) and as high as 25 Celcius (stuck on interstate, I-5 in rush hours traffic, ugh)
Total Riding Time: 9:30am PST – 4:00pm PST
Very scenic journey today, once again, apparently no time to take pictures… ugh. absolutely stunning views of Mt. Rainier with a wisp of clouds at the peak in the blue skies. The view of Mt. Rainier is much better from the lookout/vantage point off the highway, but this was a close second.
Our group likes to ride ‘fast’ and by fast i mean breakneck speeds of double the posted limit plus some. I’m no daredevil so i ‘lumber’ along at posted plus 10 which seems to be very comfortable and not testing corners or limits of the tires on my bike. i can safely watch the scenery and pass the miles.
the double plus some theory failed today as one of the riders in our group at the beginning of the loop around the base of Mount St. Helens had what some refer to as a “get off” – meaning a wipeout. some damage to his bike, which apparently was the initial concern, and what appears to be a torn sholder or broken collarbone. Construction areas, gravel and high speed, combined with sharp corner don’t tend to mix well. Lucky for the group member that it was ‘only’ a shoulder injury and not spinal or a head injury. Needless to say the accident and picking a member and his bike out of the ditch failed to slow down the rest of the group, so i spent the vast majority of the day riding alone.
The route today was highway 12 from yakima through to randle, wa. some serious gains in altitude as the White Pass is 4500 feet. i could watch the temperature on my display quickly descend from 24 degrees down to only 10 celcius. Highway 12 is a very well maintained road and had a few sections that were undergoing repairs today, and a few delays. The road varies from light corners to long sweepers and a few areas with tighter corners strung together. Mostly a tree-lined drive but vantage points for Rainier and the surrounding valleys are quite beautiful.
With a quick stop in Randle, wa just for a drink and a few minutes for me to catch up we then went on the secondary highway through the state park below Mount St. Helens. In spite of the accident it is one of the most fantastic roads to ride. There is little margin for error and no shoulders, but riding within limits it bucks and jives back and forth for nearly 50 miles.
There is a section along the route called Cedar Flats with giant cedar trees and lush almost rainforest-like surroundings. You can just breathe in the surroundings, moist lush air, cool dark shadowy roads – you really experience the grandeur of nature and the sheer scale of your surroundings.
The state park ends and continues into highway 503 which is equally twisty and turny and a load of fun to ride all the way back to interstate 5 and into vancouver, wa.
an enjoyable day, but i’d prefer to make more stops and have time to take it all in. different folks have different reasons for riding, mine is to ‘go’ and explore, the actual riding part is fun and challenging, but ultimately i ride to go to the places and scenery not to simply ride for riding sake. i’ve learned a lot from watching the other riders, but honestly i’m not interested in the pace or risks associated with that type of riding, glad they had fun, but i’m looking forward to riding after the last group ride tomorrow and taking a more leisurely pace.
** (Clicking on the map below will open the GoogleMaps application in your browser and allow you to view the map and details)