The route starts flat (after a very brief drop from the hotel) and meanders along the Columbia River. I was trying to go reasonably fast, and caught a few others. There was a convenience store an hour in, and I pulled it before realizing that I don’t always have to stop, so kept on going a minute later.I caught up with Asta (OR) and Jon (MA) when they stopped at a rest area before the turn on Klickitat. We rode together for a bit, but my knees were telling me not to punch it up the climbs, so I backed off and took it slow as we ascended away from the Klickitat river.
I made it into Goldendale alone, and saw randos at various stops in town. I knew there was another Subway slightly past the turn, and headed for that. To my surprise, many other randos knew about it also. I loaded up on yet another ham sandwich and refilled my water. Someone mentioned to me that there would be a water stop along the route, but gave me the wrong mileage number, about 12 miles too short. I had two 20oz bottles and a 32oz Platypus, but left a bit shy of totally full (the Platypus gets stuffed in my jersey when used, and weighs quite a lot back there). I also didn’t have a printout of the elevation for the day, and had no idea how much hot desert climbing there would be into Bickleton. I later heard that this was the very reason why several people had DNFed on the second day – lack of water in the heat through extended climbs with no nearby services. I rationed my remaining water and took my time to not overwork myself and made it into Bickleton.Much of this day I was riding with or near Eric and Tim from the San Fransisco Randonneurs. We didn’t always go the same pace, but I’d catch them at the next stop and ride out with them again. I caught up with the SFRs in Mabton after seeing a few others stop at the first c-store at the edge of town. I knew of yet another Subway, and only briefly stopped at a fast food joint before deciding to get Subway instead. Leigh from Australia came in as well, but we were otherwise alone there. The road quality in Mabton was awful, with debris strewn shoulders and rough pavement. This continued for a few miles out of town. There would be another long slog of a climb, and I rode solo up that as well. I found that I was getting GPS-stare, and decided remove all the numbers from the screen so I wouldn’t stare at the mileage changing so slowly. About 15 miles later, I reached the top of this climb and enjoyed a partial decent. I reached a few BC riders changing a frustrating tire at the turn, and continued on the for rest of the climb chasing after one other further ahead. We rode together briefly, but he stopped to wait for his buddies while I upped the pace and tried to cover more miles at speed. I was passed by a volunteer car offering water (not a bad idea after the “Bickleton Massacre” that made several people DNF after a hot climb with no water sources around), but turned it down because I was only 6 miles from the Vernita rest stop (seen below as the patch of trees across the river). The reason this photo of Vernita looks like it came from up in the air is because of the ridiculous climb I was nearing the top of. The road was maybe the steepest section on the entire route, and was covered in locusts. Half of them were dead and being eaten by the other half. I tried to swerve around to stay away from them, because they would hop and chirp and were annoyingly in the way and trying to get squished. I successfully avoiding hitting any.
I reached the final controle of the evening in Mattawa right at sunset (~9pm). I considered shutting my eyes for 20 minutes, knowing that this would be a long night ahead of me still. I ate a bunch of food, filled up my water one last time and set out without sleeping though. I tried to go fast again, but continually ran into difficulties with that. Along the Columbia River were swarms of bugs, so breathing could only really be done by nose to avoid eating the bugs. Then there was the climb. Again, having no printed elevation chart, I had no idea what I was really in for. It was only 700ft, but it felt like a mountain. Remember that I have ridden 200 miles so far this day, and 225 the previous day! I could see blinking bike lights ahead, but they were 10 minutes away and not seeming to get any closer. I reached the top, which then plummets a few hundred feet down on a descent that could have topped 50mph. But tired around 11pm and with a few cars around, I didn’t dare go much more than 30mph.
Eventually I caught the blinking lights of the CA couple. We rode together for a few more miles before catching the SFR guys. Then as five people, the SFRs unloaded everything and were hammering away to the finish. When this train caught a few Seattle and BC guys, I broke off with them, but people split and it was just Tyler (Seattle) and I for a bit. He had to stop to fix something, and I kept going the remaining few miles with Bob and Gary (BC) to get in around 1am. It was great to see Kathy there helping randos check in, eat food, and find a bed! I milled about for an hour before setting my alarm for 4 hours later.
Strava data for day two: 06/22/2014 Cascade 1200 day two – Carson to Ephrata 231.1 miles ridden, 11,110ft climbed.