|Last Saturday three of us set out to ride Going-To-The-Sun Road from St. Mary's to Logan Pass and back. The weather was threatening in Cardston, and got more threatening as we got closer to our starting point. We wouldn't be going to the sun today!
It was fairly cool, so I decided to wear my Wal-Mart ladies tights ;-) and my old wind shell with the pit zips open. I also had on my Red Dog long-sleeved tee shirt and my retro crochet-back half-finger gloves. I had stashed my long finger xc gloves in my hydropack (just in case).
After we crossed the border into the States (They asked at the border if we had any beef or beef products with us. I just slapped my thigh and grinned - they laughed and waved us across...) I snapped a couple of shots of the very low cloud deck:
The last blue sky we'd see:
Yup, we're headed up the valley that curves around behind the ridge on the right - the cloud-filled one...
Joseph (in white) and Bart unloading the bikes. Joseph is a mountain goat, just climbs and climbs. Bart is also much faster on the climbs than me. 'Course I weigh 200 lbs, and they both weigh in at around 160... 40 lbs makes a HUGE difference in the hills!!!
Off we go! From here to the top of the pass is only about 10 miles, but we will gain about 3000 feet. The weather at this point was OK - no rain or snow, nearly no wind.
The obligatory snap of Wild Goose Island...
Just past Mile 6, with the hairpin and more serious climbing ahead. I could only manage 10kmh (about 6 mph), and by this point had been dropped by the other two. It was misting quite nicely here - warm enough that I had unzipped my windbreaker and yanked my sleeves up past my elbows. I was having a GREAT ride! I love being in the mountains in the mist/fine rain, especially when it is warm! You can see the road across the valley just below the treetops angling up the mountain through the snow...
Nearly at the top now. It was raining in earnest, and the temperature had dropped about a million degrees. The road cut through 30' high avalanches - blue-white corridors of ice. I stopped in the shelter of the tunnel to grab this shot. The pass is around the curve, disappearing into the clouds...
I arrived at the pass nearly 15 minutes behind the other two. I had stopped to take photos, and was riding pretty slowly in any case. The clouds were so thick I was within 15 feet of them before I saw them! They were getting cold, so immediately headed back down. I wanted one more shot:
A nice lady jumped out of a car to grab a shot of the sign and was kind enough to take this photo for me. It was raining hard, very windy, and particularly unpleasant at the top. I was standing in 6" of water that surrounded the sign. There was probably 30 feet of snow drifted around the pass. It was pretty cold!
I wiped my glasses off as best as I could, swapped my gloves, zipped up everything that was unzipped on the way up, and dove into the clouds to catch my partners. I maxed at 64.5 kph coming down, and by really churning it I was able to catch Bart at the entrance to the parking lot. I passed one tour bus and drafted a PT Cruiser to do it, but I caught 'em! Fat guys descend faster!
We cranked the car heater up on the way home. All in all, a great ride! 1:27 to the top of the pass, 1:55 total ride time! Fat guys descend LOTS faster!!!