We’ve been getting out regularly trying to stretch out our miles in preparation for our summer trip. We decided to spend Spring Break in sunny Tri-Cities to get in some longer, drier riding. We stayed with our niece Aubrey, Chris and their two daughters, Camryn and Carsyn. They graciously put us up while Chris recuperated from ACL surgery.

Tuesday the 14th, while Chris was in the OR, we took off for a 37 mile ride from downtown Richland to Benton City. The thing was, the wind was in our face for the first 11 miles. And I mean WIND! It was steady at 20 mph or higher. We just saw that it was gusting to 34. It made for a long, slow slog out to Benton City and a really fast flight back to Richland. We hit 42 on the smallest of downhills when we had the wind at our backs. About a third of the trip was also brutal cross-winds. There was just no escaping that force of nature. We chalked it up to a lot of horizontal hill work. And we didn’t do much other than sit still and eat when we got back. Our stats for the day were 37 miles @ 12.8 average, 1500′ of gain.

Wednesday we decided to take on Clodfelter Hill. It is an 8 mile climb to the top of Horse Heaven. We needed to get in some real climbing so this was good.

We took off at 10 and drove to Sacajewea Park to look at Maya Lin’s “Confluence Circle” installation. The circles tell the stories of the native tribes who used to gather to trade at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. An interesting little museum there, too. By 11 we’d driven over to Kennewick to start our ride of the day.

We headed up Leslie Road to Clodfelter. The sky was clear and the wind was much less than the day before. But it was up. Lots of 6-8% grades. And still it went up. We were passed by a single near a false summit, then he zipped back by us yelling, “Wheeeeee!” We still had 2 miles of up to transit. A quick pizza break (nothing like cold pizza on a ride!) fueled our last push.

Once on top we could see forever! Mt. Adams, Hood, and Rainier were all in view. We also had the full force of the wind against us again. But since it was largely downhill, it wasn’t so bad. We only could get up to 14 mph on the downhill, so you know the wind was up. Eventually we got to Webber Canyon, a 5-6% down. But we only got up to 36 on that 4 mile drop. The wind was agin us!

We looped around and headed home on Badger, but we were tired and sore. We’ve been fighting colds for a couple of weeks. We thought we were better, but we weren’t. By the time we got back to the car, we were completely wiped out. But we’d done almost 2400′ of climbing, almost our highest of the year.

We visited with Aubrey, Chris and the girls, then took in a movie nearby – “The Longest Ride”. Romantic, sweet, and an interesting way to tell the story. We slept like rocks that night.

We’d planned to do some riding on the way home on Thursday, but we were just too tired and sick to consider it. We trundled home and settled in quickly. Hopefully, these colds will pass before the good weather does.

Glacier - Banff - Jasper
Pre-Tour Training