Monday, March 17, 2014

Ephrata Gran Fondo 2014 - Part 1

Holy crap my legs ache. Put on by the Ephrata Bike Club Vicious Cycle.  Once again, I finished ahead of the unibikers. When I rode from the ol' homestead to the High School this year the temp was 47F, last year it was 33 or so. Winds 15 - 30mph were forecast. I put on a long sleeve shirt because I couldn't believe it would be warm in the higher elevations. Bad move as I had to stop and take it off.

Forthwith, tons of pics.

"remember it's not a race have fun"

Beezley Hill(s) in background - the first part of the ride
climbs up the hills to the right of it. Beezley is home to
the Beezley Burn. I think its elevation is 2899', the start is
1,273'; our highest elevation was 2681.

The ride out of town felt like just another Sunday morning bike ride. That quickly changed.
lots of lycra - counted a few miscreants who didn't get
the dress code memo. Baggy knickers for me.
um pretty sure this is Norton Rd

Probably Johnson Rd. A few fendered bikes out there -
I took off the fenders and racks on my Vaya. If it rained, I
was just going to live with the splatter.
the stuff-your-phone-in-your-sweaty pants-pocket
 soft focus effect. this is Baird Springs Rd for sure. Like
99.8% sure - I remember the sign just before I took the pic.
I put the gopro on along here; I knew the battery wouldn't last the whole ride. Not fond of the wide-angle-curved-telephone-pole effect - someone should make a sport camera with a high megapixel/regular focal length setting.

Baird Springs Rd is my favorite part of the ride - all gravel all down hill (AGADH). The fast fun factor is marred by the nagging thought that you're going to have to climb from 755' back up to 2,000+. And the other nagging thought - what if I hit a thick spot of gravel at high speed, will I go flying head over heels?

Despite what the pictures show, I wasn't completely alone on this section. I passed a few guys on skinny tires along here that had passed me climbing up the hills; then some guys on skinny tires caught up to me at the bottom. Make of that what you will in the debate over how wide a tire to ride this combo asphalt/gravel/dirt route. I think it depends more on your purpose, your bike handling skills, your fear threshold bombing down gravel roads, and your engine. You just don't want anything real knobby.

After a short jaunt on Hwy 28, we turned on to Stuhlmiller Road, a road in name only.

The Columbia. The drawdown of the reservoir behind
Wanapum Dam exposed more of Crescent Bar than has been
seen in ages.

One of the riders I was with off and on, when he saw the climb and the gravel, muttered "well, this looks like fun". The fun was just beginning.

Next up: Hwy 28, the Palisades Rd, Three Devils hill, more gravel, more paved, the not-so-big finsh when the forecast winds materialized after Sheep Canyon Rd. Those interested, can skip right over to my garmin page.

I thought of doing a Drunk Cyclist style post - you know like how me, the Cayuse Kid and the Sagebrush Jesus stayed up all night drinking bud light, got thrown in the drunk tank, got bailed out just in time for the start of the race yet Sagebrush Jesus still finished in the top ten riding a BMX bike, then finish off the post with an irrelevant picture of a semi-hot woman with big boobs. But I stayed over Saturday night and visited with the folks.

And Hank couldn't make it.


  1. Right on, Scott! Loved this ride report and can't wait for Part 2. The only thing I question is whether hardcores like you, the Cayuse Kid and Sagebrush Jesus would be caught dead drinking Bud Light as opposed to, say, something with a worm at the bottom.

  2. Um I meant just full strength Bud with a whiskey chaser I don't know how that "light" got in there I'm still a little dazed from the ride