I admit to having very few true love affairs in life. Lavinia for sure is my greatest, and our son will be another. I find that I have had love affair with my home’s mighty mountain,
Another part of my home land that I truly love is Stevens Pass. Many things draw me to his part of
The pass is named after John F. Stevens. In the 1890’s he was an Engineer for the Great Northern Railway and built the railroad through what is now called Stevens Pass, which today Highway 2 follows over the Cascade Mountains just to the NE of Seattle.
John Stevens is credited as the first European American to discover the pass, but the Native Americans had discovered and used it long before that. He is also credited for the work he did in
In 1990 I was introduced to Richard Mitchell who owns Hope Lodge. Hope Lodge is located just 1.5 miles from summit of
In 1993 I rode my bike from
Since then I’ve climbed that pass on my bike several times. It seems whenever I have a big cycling goal I use the Lodge and the Pass as a training center for a week. Often we’ve climbed up the old highway, which you can still access, and the scenery is spectacular. Whenever I tackle it on my bike I’m truly in awe of how professional (non-doped) bicycle racers can move so fast up a mountain. The Pass is a tame gradient compared to some of the European races you see. As I trudge my way up the pass, seeing deities in an asthma-induced hallucination fit at times, I am just left awe struck.
When you climb like that on a bike you turn yourself inside out, to borrow a phrase from Paul Schwerin. You just can’t fake it. You either have it or you don’t. Drafting helps very little. You use so much energy. It is really a true test for any cyclist, or for that matter masochist.
I’m asked often why I do it. I usually reply that I enjoy it which usually starts either a series of more questions on my sanity or jokes at my expense. I’m cool with either. To be honest it is a hard addiction to explain or get government support to combat in youth these days. I guess it is just best to quote Jason when he describes me; “Jeff, you have the body of a sprinter, the heart of a climber and the mind set of a Randonneur.”
Tomorrow I’m going to ride my bike from
I look forward to visiting the Lodge like a little kid getting to see Santa Claus. I’ll be spending the weekend with Lavinia and good friends and getting a chance to ride my bike. Honestly, what more could this guy want.
On your left,