Sunday, September 21, 2008

Notes on Cascades

On August 21, 2008 Dan Turner and Mark Thomas put on a 1000k mountain brevet, looping through 4 passes: Snoqualmie, old Blewet, Loup-Loup and Washington. Reasonable attempts were made to escape the "beaten path" using old Blewet and Denny creek road, giving a distinct flavor as compared to my previous 600k and 400k with SIR in 08. I am sure that Rick Blacker, Don Jameson and those who rode the simultaneuos 400k will remember Burbee hill.
I had misgivings about doing this ride on a carbon frame (seal-skinned), but that is all I have.
I cannot say that I missed the "Floaty quality" of titanium or the comfort the various alloys of steel because you cannot miss what you do not know, maybe some day.
There is no scientific basis here for the conversion of chipmunk-power to horsepower but chipmunks are good climbers, carry little weight and tolerate the heat rather well, so I really needed all their help. It turned out it was more like Chip n' Seal than Chip n' Dale leading the team.
For many reasons, too much to enumerate this ride was a personal Odyssey of sorts. My first season of riding with the Seattle Randonneurs, the earlier 400k had been an eye opener, exposing an Achilles Heel of rapid salt loss and muscle spasms if I push to sweating point and stay there. Naturally the following 600k was a source of significant trepidation, the ability to complete that ride suggested that with appropriate adjustments, even I could do the bigger rides, I would have to ride more with my head than depend on questionable athletic ability.
What next? I had bowed out of the Cascade 1200/1000 graciously put on by Mark Roehrig, Don Boothby and Joe Llona but had learned a lot especially from the Olsen brothers by placing myself among the riders and volunteers as a bag boy. To complicate things I had major salt loss and spasms riding the 4th and last stage of the C1200 as a permanent from Mazama to Monroe.
An Odyssey is defined by Webster as "a series of adventurous journeys usually marked by many changes in fortune. The greek word Odusseia from which the English word is derived simply means "the story of Odysseus" sometimes referred to as Ulysses.
Homers Odyssey does present us with an adventurous journey with changes in fortune for the Greek hero on his way home from Troy.
Being no Greek hero, despite some adventure and minor changes in fortune, it is more appropriate to reflect on that particular ramble under the title "Cascades".
I have however attempted to do it in the style of Homer, using hexameter and epitaphs.
The Cascades here are depicted in the image of Athena the Greek godess of war sometimes also referred to as Pallas. Not only are the Cascades beautiful, but are capable of great wrath and destruction as a visit to Windy or Johnston ridge will convince anyone.
Particular references are made to the unsightly and environmentally unfriendly practice of "clear cutting"; the "howling" descent from Loup-Loup pass into the Methow valley; the nagging left knee pain that forces the "jaded charoteer" to re-evaluate in Mazama and adjust his saddle a tad higher before slowly ascending to Washington pass in the heat, where the temperature suddenly drops and the head-winds whip up.
No matter how much he loves her, he must eventually leave her, and this he does, going on to climb the final hill to the home of Chris and Mark Thomas. Here the salty randonneur wannabe is, unlike in Homers Odyssey recieved with all the hospitality of a returning hero (or prodigal son).
The drinks were Nectar and the food Ambrosia. Thanks!

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