One warm sunny Saturday in February of 2007, I went for a long bike ride. I was training for Ultra races and wanted to put in some miles. I mapped out a loop that was about 145 miles in what looked like, a remote and beautiful area of Southwest Washington.
I was not disappointed. I began on familiar roads through the Washougal River canyon, then over a small pass to the Lewis & Clark Highway (WA14). I love riding along the Columbia Gorge. It’s beauty is unparallelled. The different shades of green, the water, the sky, the clouds. Any weather, any time of day, the Gorge is gorgeous. Especially for a desert rat like me.
My ride went extremely well. I took in the sights and sounds and smelled the air. I ate and drank and marveled that I only saw one moving car in 90 minutes on the Wind River Highway. Granted, I was in a remote location with no cell service, was running low on food and the air was getting a bit crisp, but I was excited to see snow on the side of the road! I quickly began to change my mind as the snow bank began to rise waist high. I was fine while peddling up Oldman Pass, the air was crisp but I was warm. However, I thought that if were I to get a mechanical, I might have a big problem.
I crested the pass and headed down the other side to a stunning view of Mount St. Helens then the amazing color of the Swift Reservoir. One of the many beauties of riding in the winter is that many trees are free of leaves, thereby greatly improving my view!
I finally made it home, but my life was altered. The route was long and hard, isolated, yet welcoming; beautiful, interesting and challenging. I rode over five rivers, three passes of various heights, had little traffic and a fantastic time. I had to share this with others.
During that ride, the Lewis & Clark Ultra was born and it’s now in its 7th year. I am still loving the sport, the course, the people and the adventure!
I can’t wait.