On the way up the mountains we saw the van pass with 5 or 6 bikes and riders who got too cold or too tired on the climb and sagged in. I rode alone most of the day, meeting up with Kathryn and Judie intermittently along the way. By the time we got to Rainey pass, the three of us were within sight of each other and took photos there. It was almost another hour to get to Washington pass, which is listed on our cue sheet as a 2 1/2 mile climb (hah!). At the top we took photos again (in the rain) and then started down.
This sign says there is a 7 mile descent, but there was another sign after that, and then another one! (look back at the profile photo) We were at Washington pass at about 3:45... Kathryn flew down the mountain at breakneck speed (I forgot to ask her how fast she went). Judie was behind her and I was last... I am rather cautious on downhills anyway, and still breaking in my new bike. I kept it under 40 MPH.
Kathryn was out of sight in short order, but Judie and I stayed together the rest of the ride. It was 31 miles from Washington pass to our hotel, and we were there by 5:30 PM--that's right--we rode 31 miles, including a sandwich stop beside a rushing creek and changing a flat tire (Judie's not mine), in less than 2 hours! We flew down the mountain and then picked up a nice tailwind when we got to the flatter portion of the ride. Biking does not get any better than this!
It was like a miracle--after we crossed Washington pass the sun came out and it was 70 degrees--so we hurtled down the mnountain in the bright sunshine after days of rain. Apparently that's how it is here--West of the Cascades it rains and east of the Cascades it is sunny and dry. Amazing.
We are at Winthrop for 2 nights, since Tuesday is a (much needed) rest day.