Saturday, June 23, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods

The riders of the Cascade 1200Km Grand Randonee rolled away from Monroe Washington at 6:00am this morning. Late last night I went up to SeaTac airport and picked up Mrs. Dr C on her return trip from the other Washington.  I was thinking of those riders and what awaited them as we drove back south through the inky, rainy night.

I’ve done a Q&D weather mapping of the route and it looks like the riders will get the full meal deal this year.  When I got up this morning it was still raining and the weatherman says it was raining in Monroe (the start).  As the day has progressed it has continued to come down here at Rocky Acres and it appears that the weather along today’s route is about the same; Temps in the high 50’s and low 60’s with rain, or showers, or mist, or ‘sun breaks’ (HA!).  But generally, to use the highly scientific PNW meteorology terminology: Crappy weather.  Bummer; I always hope for fair weather on the first day as Western Washington can be a treat when it is sunny.

After a couple hundred miles of riding they’ll be climbing White Pass (4,500’) this year to get across the Cascades and as we all know, the mountains make their own weather.  Forecast this morning was for temps in the high 30’s to Low 40’s with mixed rain and snow.  That will be a very challenging transit for those who don’t get across during the day light hours.

It appears they will have a chance to dry out tomorrow.  Forecast is for temps in the mid 80’s along most of the route, but looks like cloudy in many places and chances for thunder showers.  This could be oppressively humid.  Not like you folks in DC, or Indianapolis, but for us locals, it seems clammy.

More of the same from Quincy to Mazama on Day 3; temps in the low to mid 80’s and then by the evening down in to the low 60’s at Winthrop.  At Mazama, the last overnight there is a 40% chance of rain.  When I rode it in 2004 we had rain over Loup, Loup Summit (4020’) which pretty much drained every last calorie out of me so that the slog from Twisp to Mazama was a hallucinatory death march through the night.  In subsequent years, these stretches through eastern Washington have been oppressively hot; temps in the low 100’s, so all things considered we know it could be worse.

The last day of over the North Cascade is always a crapshoot, but one thing will stand out in the rider’s minds:  Washington (5,477’) and Rainy (4,855’) passes give riders a little opportunity contemplate the fact that they have ridden about 1,000Km in the previous couple days riding up and down and across the breadth of Washington State.  If the weather is clear they’ll see some pretty spectacular mountain scenery, if it is wet, they will suffer shrouded in mist.  It looks like, unless things change dramatically in the next couple days that the last leg home on the west side of the mountains will again be cool and wet with conditions similar to day one. 

Bonne chance to the riders!  I hope everyone finishes and there are no mishaps along the route.  I had hoped to work the ride this year but my personal and work schedules just would not allow it.

Follow rider’s progress here, here, or here.

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