Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Laboring on Labor Day (USA)

View of Idaho in the distance from Mt. Spokane
With temperatures in the low 60s F and intermittent rain showers, the last two days have been spent cycling indoors.  The Monday Labor Day holiday began much the same.  Twenty-five miles cycling indoors followed by a few household activities.  Heavy skies but no rain prompted me to take a chance on an afternoon ride.

Spokane has one of the Top 100 Climbs in the USA (#98 Mt Spokane) and having never tackled it, thought today might be a good day to try.  Cycling friends warned me that it is a challenging climb but the views are worth it.

While the "official" climb shown by the STRAVA profile is about 13 miles, the climb does not get interesting until reaching the Bear Creek Lodge at seven miles from the summit.  With road maintenance below the lodge, I would begin the climb at the lodge.
STRAVA elevation profile
Route topo view
Route satellite view
Elevation profile for Mt Spokane ride
Packing gear and bike onto the car, I headed north for the 15 mile drive up to Mt Spokane State Park.  Parking at Bear Creek Lodge, I unloaded the bike and began the climb.  Bang!  Immediately after clipping into the pedals and pulling out onto the road, a steep ramp needed negotiating.  The climb is seven miles to the summit with nary a flat spot.  Switchbacks criss-cross the mountain above the tree line.  Car traffic was light despite a holiday weekend.  I saw no other cyclist out on the road today.

From the lodge, I needed to drag my body and bike up 2,800 feet over seven miles to reach the 5,880 foot summit.  Average gradient is about 6% but some sections reach 12%.  Even with leaden skies, the views from the summit are pretty spectacular.  With 45F temperatures at the summit, it would be a chilly descent.  The descent was cold!  A very enjoyable training climb that I would tackle again.
View on the way up
View from summit
View from summit
View from summit
View from summit

12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Yes, you feel like you are on top of world when standing on the highest peak around. If it was sunny, the views would have been even better.

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  2. What might be described as a breath taking view I'm more ways than one!

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  3. Great photos Jonathan, looks like a challenging climb!

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    Replies
    1. It was steep and long but when it was over, I thought it was easier than I expected.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos.

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  4. That's an amazing view. It's interesting how similar/different the mountains there are from Colorado and Wyoming. Hard core ride.

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    Replies
    1. Great view from the top and the ride was not one in which I muttered "I'll never do this again" as I climbed!

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  5. Beautiful views, and you're in excellent cycling shape if it was easier than you thought! :-)

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    Replies
    1. In Washington State Parks, motor vehicles are required to buy a Pass to use the park. Not so for those entering the park on foot, horse, bicycle, etc.. He made the comment that the way I climb, I should be required to buy a Pass!

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