Checking on the snow at Table Mountain

The snow coverage and temperature forecast last weekend looked good and cold for Blewett Pass and the Table Mountain plateau. I had done a couple rides last year on my Boris X9 there, so I was curious to try my new Motobecane Nighttrain Bullet with Sarma 100’s and the Dillinger 5 in the rear. The equipment did not disappoint; with semi-slick snow getting churned by the snowmobilers passing me, I was still able to ride a lot.

The drive to Blewett Pass scared me a bit when just past Cle Elum the temperature took a serious dive and I remembered that I had forgotten to bring my big mittens.

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Magically, the higher I got, the warmer it got. By the time I started at 8:30am from Blewett Pass, the temp was back in familiar territory:

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I was the first at the Snopark and had the whole road to myself for about half an hour when snowmobiles started to pass me.

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I hiked this rock slide area, as fast walking warmed up my chilly toes and I didn’t really want to struggle through this soft-churned snow on a 10 deg slope. Nice walk, though! I was down to my ultra-thin sleeveless baselayer once again.

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I caught up with most of the snobilers at the next intersection, and then it was more pass-be-passed as my steady progress was akin to a hare-and-turtle race along the Liberty Beehive road.

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All the ‘bilers were really nice – just too bad the things are so stinky. I don’t even mind the noise, but the stench, you gotta have some super lungs while you wait to inhale again.

The scenery was great, though, and I was contemplating trying to make it to Lion Rock this time. After a chat with some ‘bilers, I did get the courage to make it over there, and it was all rideable. I am not sure if the tires/rims are making the difference, or just a random combination of luck and decent snow conditions. I was just me out on top of the rim!

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Motobecane: Adventure without a name-brand bike.

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Mt. Rainier

I didn’t have a plan for this ride, and as I made it up here in only 3 hours, I wasn’t sure what to do next. The snow didn’t look good down low to make the loop to Liberty a nice snow-bike ride, so I was contemplating heading back north/NE along the Liberty Beehive road to the Missing Ridge ski resort. What to do? People were having all kinds of fun up here. Guys (almost all in camo gear) getting their trucks stuck and unstuck, funny stuff.20151128_120519

Somehow my tires pointed south, as if they were remembering the route from last year. I wasn’t sure if I remembered the route though, so I rode hesitantly. More guys in pick-up trucks coming up as if they were on an mission, and aren’t totally just goofing around.

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Not remembering the route anymore, I rode down too far to this viewpoint across Reecer Creek. That area looks like it might hold a good summer exploration.

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Time to undo the elevation loss:

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Chatted with these guys and had a good laugh comparing specs on our vehicles. They’re running 37″ tall and 14″ wide tires at 5 psi.

Somehow it was getting late and after enjoying the views from the rim, it was time to melt some snow for drinking water. I had been wearing thin rubber gloves all day (which worked surprisingly well keeping my skin hydrated) but as I took them off, my hands looked blue and shriveled up. Yuck! Just around sunset the temperature was dropping from 40F back down to 20F and I was scared I was going to freeze my fingers off. I put on my old pair of fleece gloves, but no dice: still icy fingers. Then I remembered, that I had a pair of chemical insole warmers and those warmed up my fingers within 30 seconds. Whew, a bit scary, but I was golden, enjoying the golden hour.

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Quite a few ‘bilers were still out, but overall it was a quick and nice ride back down.

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My StemCaptain thermometer was rotating like a ticking clock. Makes reading your thermometer more interesting! Temp seems about accurate, 20 F was also what my car said.

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Lastly, here’s my route and link to the track (click!):

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