PAC Tour Day 3: Winthrop, WA to Coulee Dam, WA

Route: Winthrop, WA to Coulee Dam, WA
Temp at start: 52
Temp at finish: 82
Interesting animals seen: More sheep, several deer, and Big Foot.
Strava file: PAC Tour Day 3

As day 2 ended, the group was told that a road in our original route to Coulee Dam was closed. Thus, a re-route was in short order. Fortunately, a new route was available 4 miles shorter than the original route. However, the new route took us through an additional pass and 2600 additional feet of climbing.

One of my weaknesses in cycling is climbing. With my training in the Vicksburg Military Park, I felt I was able to ride steep rolling grades pretty easy. In Mississippi, we are hard pressed to find anything to climb longer than just over a mile. So, training for sustained climbs is very difficult for me.

Surprisingly, the 10 mile climb up Loup Loup Pass was not as difficult as I imagined. Two things I learned were that I don’t like climbing in a paceline as everyone has a different climbing style. The second is that you must adjust your body position on the bike regularly. To remedy some of the discomfort of the long climb, I started standing for .1-.2 miles every .5 miles. It sure helped tick the time away. Although, I am not a fast climber, I found that I was able to climb both of the days passes without much trouble.

Here I am at the summit of Loup Loup Pass - elevation 4,020 ft

Here I am at the summit of Loup Loup Pass – elevation 4,020 ft

The terrain started changing from the more forested area west of the Cascades to the more barrenness east of the Cascades. One of the things I love most about riding my bike across the US is seeing how the countryside changes with each pedal stroke. One minute we are riding through our majestic purple mountains and the next we are cycling by amber waves of grain.  It is breath taking!

View of the Cascades - our purple mountains majesty.

View of the Cascades.

 

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Forested area just east of the Cascades. Can you see Big Foot?

 

View of the Columbia River just before we arrived at the Coulee Dam.

View of the Columbia River just before we arrived at the Coulee Dam.

 

Amber waves of grain. This picture was taken on Day 4 heading to Spokane.

Amber waves of grain. This picture was taken on Day 4 heading to Spokane.

 

Another Day 4 photo showing the different terrain.

Another Day 4 photo showing the different terrain.

Tomorrow we will be riding to Sand Point, Idaho – our first state line crossing. In future blogs I will detail a little about crewing but we are so busy on our crew days it is hard to find time to sit down.