Rainy Glacier 1000 (2011 Version)
warning, includes some exaggeration!
by Ken Bonner
Randonneurs U.S.A. (RUSA) Regional Brevet Administrator (RBA) Susan France delights in encouraging brevet organizers to create challenging brevets. The Oregon Glacier 1000 is one of her favourite brevets for those who think a follow-chuck wagon is the only way to support a brevet.
The first time this one-way 1000k route from Troutdale, Oregon to Whitefish, Montana, Susan went all out. Full chuck wagon support! Unfortunately for future riders, Susan is not a ranch-hand wannabe (scraping up horse manure along the highway just does not come naturally to Susan); and, the campfire that became a full-fledged range fire were major factors in changing this to an unsupported 1000k challenge.
The word spread quickly (almost as fast as a range fire! J) and the members of the Oregon Randonneurs found other things to do. Maybe work interfered, as the ride started on Wednesday morning. At any rate, only 5 out-of-state (out of their minds) randonneurs showed up at 5:00 a.m on wet roads. Spencer Klaassen from Missouri; Mike Richeson from Washington State; Thomas Russell, a survivor of the Alamo … California that is – and, a VanIsle 1200 veteran; Karel Strethoff from Montana – a Rocky Mountain 1200 vet; and yours truly from British Columbia.
By 11:00 a.m. on the first day, the temperature was up to a pleasant 75F/24C. By 1:00 p.m. it was in the mid-80s F and as we turned off the main north Columbia Highway in the late afternoon to start some serious climbing, the temperature rose to 90F/32C. My mantra was ‘at least it is not raining’, but that became a little thin as my Camelbak neared empty. The other two days were mostly sunny, with many threatening black clouds and roads sometimes pooled with water, but no rain on our heads.
For those who might want to ride the Glacier 1000 sometime in the future, there are several highlights:
- South side of the Columbia Gorge with its many vistas and spectacular waterfalls
- The many long and fast downhills with little traffic – of course, one does need to climb to enjoy the downhills. In my mind, the best downhill was the second major downhill after the climb out of Plains, Montana. At least 3-4k of 50 mph/80kph downhill into a valley down a gently curving 6-7% grade with NO traffic at that moment! I paid for the fun with a monster head-wind for the rest of the ride to the finish, but it was worth it!
- Strong tailwinds along the 2nd 100k of the brevet along the Columbia Gorge, and then again from Thompson Falls, Montana to Plains, Montana … which came after a 20 mile/32k drop from 4800 foot Thompson Pass.
- And finally, the 54 mile/90k long Trails of the Coeur d’Alenes – wide and paved, (and flat, except for the 700 foot drop in 10k from the start and the unique bridge over the lake) all the way to the overnight in Kellogg or Wallace Idaho.
Riders flew back home; took the train; cycled (Karel lives in Missoula, Montana and was going to ride the Highway to the Sun on his way home). I rented a car which would take my bike to get back to Troutdale. The car turned into a bright red 4 wheel drive Sierra Pick-Up! Seeing this as an opportunity to act like one of the ‘good ol’ boys’ who harass cyclists on the highways and bi-ways, I found a supply of empty beer cans to throw at cyclists I passed, but unfortunately I saw no cyclists! I did get my deposit for the beer cans in TroutdaleJ
Almost like riding BMB, I finished Friday evening, was on the road at 9:00 a.m. Saturday driving back to drop the pickup rental at the Portland airport; cycle back 13 miles to Troutdale to pack everything in my van and headed out at sunset for the Tsawwassen Ferry. Arrived Sunday morning in time for the 7:00 a.m. ferry.
Go to: (link to Oregon Randonneurs) Results
July 27, 2011