Several of my cycling coworkers participated in a charity road ride called Obliteride - The ride to end cancer, organized by the Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In principle, I have nothing against organized rides or charity rides, I just don't see those events as a particularly special reason to ride a bike. Instead of paying $60-80 just to be allowed to ride 100 miles, I would get on my bike, ride the 100 miles for free and enjoy it. This particular charity ride really turned me off though. I sat through an hour long presentation, where the promoter fail to mention a small detail: you were supposed to raise $1500 for a 100mi course (they did say that), but in case you did not, they would take your credit card number and charge you those fifteen hundred bucks. I did not want to support such a method. So here, my official anti-Obliteride statement. Enough.
Instead, I found myself and three other mountain bikers in a huge cab of some V-8 monster truck, with bikes and tons of dirty gear in the back, headed east on I-90 to Kachess Ridge. As we pulled into trail head parking, we saw two mountain bikers riding up the fire road around the Little Kachess Lake. Our ride leader (super strong athlete, experienced mountaineer, funny guy) exclaimed "Losers!" I started to suspect this ride would not be what I thought it was going to be. An easy fire road ride up the lake shore, then a steep fire road climb and finally one of Washington's sweet singletrack downhills, right? "Nah, 100% singletrack" was the answer.
Just below Thorp Mountain lookout, I think we were all pretty tired by the strenuous effort and 90 degree heat. One of us took a bad fall, I saved an OTB by sliding off the back of the saddle and sending my bike down rocky slope, while getting punched in the crotch and stomach (ouch). From here, there were two options: hike a bike to the top of the lookout or a steep, 3/4mi descent to Thorp Lake. Since this ride was an out and back, I knew what the side trip to the lake meant, but I just could not pass on it. A swim in a cool mountain lake and feasting on some wild blueberries totally rejuvenated me.
Time at the finish: 7PM, ride duration over 9 hours, gps recorded 2:26 moving time (wtf??!! I did move the whole time, including when swimming across the lake and back, I swear!).