DAY 66 AUGUST 1 75.6 MILES
The greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure.
The Northern Cascade highway is known as one of the most beautiful drives in America. It also is one of the most beautiful bike rides. In the past week, we have pedaled our bicycles through some of the most amazing scenery anywhere. With tall, craggy, monoliths of granite, the Cascades easily rival the Rockies and possibly surpass them. It may be a matter of preference but this area of the Cascades possesses more greenery with its dense forest which enhances the magnificence.
Only a botanist would know the names of the myriad types of foliage but all benefit from the abundance of rainfall in the northwestern part of the state. Evergreens nearly 200 feet tall with trunks 3 to 4 feet in diameter dominate the landscape and the flowers and smaller trees and plants compete for space below.
While drivers of autos simply add slight pressure to the accelerator, it is not so simple on a bicycle. We had to pedal much harder and longer to reach the passes. One pass would not have been a problem but 4 passes in consecutive days taxed the legs of nearly all of us. Although the scenery and downhills definitely were worth the effort, everyone is glad that we have climbed our last pass on this tour.
Washington Pass was no more difficult than those previous but, with tired legs, it simply seemed to drag on. All was forgotten, however, when we reached the top and shared another ice-cold watermelon. Being our last climb, it also was our last major downhill run so we aired it out. One rider reported breaking 50 but I was content to top out at 45.26 mph. Most likely, I will never reach that speed on a bicycle again--but who knows...
When you are young and make a mistake, you simply dismiss it and move on. As you become older, however, you wonder if you are losing it. The same applies to pains somewhere in your body, especially in the area of the chest. Therefore, I was extremely happy when no pains of any kind evidenced themselves during the long, hard climbs to those passes or, for that matter, anywhere else on the tour. This bicycling thing just may be good for my health!
Tip: This was sent in from one of our readers and it is a good one: Don't fall off the bike! L. Anderson