Day 5

Every Day is Leg Day

Posted by Conner McCormick on 2016-05-26
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Ride Date: 2016-05-25
Starting Location: Tonasket, WA
Ending Location: Sherman Pass Byway
Miles: 48
Lowest Elevation: 919
Highest Elevation: 4310

Even after staying up way too late the night before, I was able to get up pretty early for this day. I spent a little over an hour packing up camp and chatting with Gary and Dennis who had also camped behind the visitors center with me. These two older guys had started in Anacortes the same day I did and were biking out to Sandpoint (Which is where my first map ends).

Beginning the Climb

Getting out of Tonasket was pretty tough. Once you leave town you immediately start climbing with the first 1000 ft of elevation being the steepest. This made for a pretty tough warm up on the legs!

First scenery out of Tonasket

Although the elevation gain was fairly tough, there were some pretty spectacular views to be offered just outside of Tonasket. The sunny weather also helped me to appreciate the beauty around me. I also noticed that my legs have started to get more used to riding uphill - they don't get tired quite so fast anymore!

I ran into Gary and Dennis a couple of times on this day. They left Tonasket 15-20 minutes before I did, but I was able to catch up to them a few miles up the road because Dennis got a flat tire - his 4th of the trip so far. We ran into each other one more time as they caught up to me while I was taking a break.

I continued to ride with some incredible views as I made my way up Wauconda Pass. I passed by a lot of really cool barns on the hillsides on my way up.

Made some friends along the way

I eventually made it up to the top of Wauconda Pass (4310 ft) which was incredibly satisfying considering that I had started the day at an elevation just under 1000 ft. Once again the ride down was the most enjoyable part. It's really hard not to be ridiculously happy when you're flying downhill on a bike on a sunny day.

At the top of Wauconda Pass

On my way to Republic I was able to enjoy a mostly all downhill ride with the exception of a few small climbs. As I pulled into Republic, it began to rain quite a bit. I decided that I would stop in at a local BBQ place for a burger and beer to wait out the rain. The rain turned into a torrential downpour which was starting to flood the streets, and it hailed for a while as well. I was just glad to be inside and away from the rain. If I had gotten into town just a few minutes later, I would have been absolutely soaked.

After the rain let up I decided that I would continue on to try to knock out a little bit of the elevation for Sherman Pass so that my next day wouldn't be too tough. This is the point where I realized that drinking a beer before trying to ride more elevation was a bad idea. My eyelids were starting to get heavy and my legs didn't have the energy that they usually did, but maybe that's because I had done more elevation in this day than any of the previous days so far.

After making it a few miles up the pass I decided to pull off the road at a nice spot for me to set up my tent. I'm glad that I stopped when I did, because right as I began setting out my tent I heard thunder followed by another downpour. I had to race to get my tent set up and all of my gear under cover. As I layed in my sleeping bag and listened to the huge raindrops hitting my tent knowing that it was going to make for a miserable morning of packing up, I reminded myself of something that George had told me when I stayed at his place in Winthrop:

Bike adventures have many ups and downs. Both on the road and with your experiences.
My campsite for the night. Taken the next morning since the rain didn't allow for pictures on this night.

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