Friday, July 1, 2016

Old Blewett Pass

I wanted the backroad experience of riding the Old Blewett Pass highway without the hassle of sharing the roads with lots of big, heavy highway traffic on the main route, so I drove down the approximately 15 minutes from Leavenworth to the Scotty Creek Road.  There were some nice shaded empty campsites next to the creek to park and change at.

From the campsite, the gradients begin right away; however, they never make up their minds for very long about how steep they want to be – this road is definitely graded much less consistently than the main highway.  It’s a delightful little two lane road that twists and turns and bucks up with little regularity.  It’s also very sparsely trafficked, as I rode up on a Friday afternoon preceding a holiday weekend and encountered no cars, 3 motorbikes, and a couple of fellow cyclists.

There is some cost to the lack of traffic and the fact that this is a route that time has left behind means that the road is quite unmaintained, with gravel across the road in places, as well as some fairly substantial pot holes that could taco a road bike wheel in no time.  Such road conditions were duly noted on the way up, and I reminded myself that I would take the descent cautiously, as the speed of descending combined with rock walls in close proximity, steep drop offs, irregular pavement, and varied areas of shadow and light could be treacherous. 

I huffed and puffed and made it to the pass just as I was starting to feel good this hot summer day, where a couple of the motorcyclists who had passed me on the way up had stopped to take in the views.  I had climbed it from the east side, and wanted to descend to the west, but I had an event that evening so just started my descent.  I made good on my promise to take the descent slowly, recording a top speed of only 20 mph, enabling me to win at rule #1 – Returning home safely.