2018 Cascade 1200
Ride dates: July 23-26
by Del Scharffenberg
Del Scharffenberg from Oregon and our own Ken Bonner have both completed all eight Cascade 1200s. As you'll read it wasn't a routine one for Del. I found this story attached to a message where Del was contacting me on another matter. It wasn't posted anywhere on the internet, so I asked him if we could include it in our newsletter.
The cascade 1200 is always a favourite with BC Randonneur riders. In 2018 there were 9 BC participants and 5 finishers.
Mass start Saturday June 23 at 5 am. Chris Ragsdale rode with me the 5 miles from his house to the start under the Seattle Space Needle. Only 60 starters this year, the second fewest ever. Mid-50s and light rain starting out. Many red lights and a few missed turns, then slow riding on narrow bike paths kept our average speed low for the first hour or two in a group of about a dozen riders. I rode alone a lot of the time after a food stop where out little pack broke up. My right sram shifter broke off as I was descending Elk Pass the first day. At the next rest stop I tied the cable off to the lowest gear, so no problem going up Curly Creek and Old Man Pass, but coming back down into Stevenson really sucked...coasting along as a bunch of people rode on by. I finished at 10:48 pm in the dark, 26th finisher, but had been about 10 places better at the top of the pass. 5 dnf the first day out of only 60 starters. Day 1 was 222 miles (plus 5 miles riding to the start).
The bike mechanic at Stevenson had no parts. A spare bar-end shifter would have been very nice! Fortunately Tom Durkin and Michael Powell-Parish were also helping there. They had me select the third-lowest cog and locked that in. With my compact chainring it worked quite well for nearly 600 more miles. I would have liked a higher gear, but was thinking of the big passes I had to get over, and the choice worked well except for a rather low top-end gear.
Days 2, 3 and 4 I started later and played catch-up all day, as I usually do on these rides. Much complaining about the "heat", although this was one of the least hot Cascade 1200's. Perhaps 90 degrees mid-afternoon, but not even that hot for very long. Wind was quite significant though on both days 2 and 3. Stage 2 was 223 miles. It was a tough day. I was in a good group but dropped back just a few minutes to help Ray with multiple flat tires with just a few miles to go. After double-flatting tubeless tires with about 2 miles to go he decided to walk it in. I finished 17th at 2:18 am. Right after I finished there was a major downpour with lightning and gale winds that took out a few more riders. 13 more dnf on day 2, so only 42 finishers, with only 9 finishing before midnight!
Got very little sleep the first two nights, so was somewhat sleep deprived. Day 3, 157 miles, started rather rough for me. I left Quincy at 6:20 am alone with only about a dozen bikes still there and some of those were perhaps dnf. It was typically very windy to Farmer control and this stretch was when I was at my lowest. Farmer no longer has outhouses and I needed one, so that added to my despair. And there were not a lot of riders there, as most were already past. I ate and drank enough to get motivated, then started some of my strongest riding. Nobody on the road for hours, but I was making up time and finally got back among friends at the Malott control before Loup Loup. It was good to get over the pass before night. It was very cold and windy up top, so glad to put on jacket, etc. Mid-50's back down in Twisp. We had a nice group ride to Mazama overnight control. Think I was about 15th rider in, at 10:43. Good food and good rooms there and I got a good solid 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
Day 4. "Only" 152 miles. I slept later than most, started after 7 am. I wore a winter jersey the entire last day, plus tights and goretex jacket through the mountain passes. Most of the people I rode with the last couple days started at 5 or 6 am. So I was on my own, climbed Washington Pass slow and steady, had more company for the very cold long downhill through the National Park. The passes still had plenty of snow along the road, but the road itself was clear. Passed Ken Bonner taking a nap along the roadside. Brr! Rode mostly solo, after attempts to ride with others who were going either faster or more often slower. Met Alex T fixing his (at least) 8th flat tire on the bike path after Arlington. We finished together with some excellent conversation. 8:33 pm finish. I think we were 18th and 19th finishers. Two more dnf the last day, so only 39 total finishers. Chris Ragsdale picked me up and took me back to his house for overnight rest. We noticed my deraileur was locked into the 4th cog, so somewhere along the way it jumped down one, which helped me a lot over the last 100 miles.
I think Ken Bonner and I were the only 70+ riders this year and we both finished, so are the only two to have finished all eight Cascade 1200's. Ken and I rode together for a couple hours on Day 2, ate a lot of ice cream together at Bickleton, he dropped back when it got warm climbing towards Vernita.
Go to: Cascade 1200 - Results 2018
August 3, 2018