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Part 3 - Jack's and Steven's
Jack Pass is gravel and steep. Stand, and every other pedal stroke is a waste; sit, and you’re forced to tack for power and lean hard and awkwardly into the bars for fear of wheelies. On the backside of the climb is a wicked gravel descent and miles of tree-lined, dappled rollers. Ten minutes after the turn onto Highway 2, comes the start of the final approach to Stevens Pass. In the middle of the pace line, Aaron unexpectedly sits up and screams “You have got to be kidding me,”. Apparently, he’s seen a sign the rest of us missed.
Once again, we are forced to recalculate the mileage and now possibly our trajectory. If the sign Aaron saw wasn’t lying, we’ll have covered well over a 100-miles by the time we make it to the top with another 50 or 60 more left before we’re finished. And that’s when we threw it in. We waved goodbye to Dan and Trystan and prayed to Mercury they’d be quick. And then we finished climbing.
In the end, we waited in the dark at the abandoned ski resort for three death-defying hours. Going half-crazy at times, laughing uncontrollably at others and pouting and sulking the rest. When Trystan and Dan finally show up with the cars, they come bearing gifts of Taco Bell beef burritos. We eventually made it back to Seattle a little after 1:30 in the morning, haggard and chilled. And though we didn’t know it at the time, tomorrow’s ride (Snowqualmie Falls), would be even more strange.
Post Script: Snoqualmie Falls will be published September 26th.
"Our whole world for that last 3-hours was a closed-for-the-day Alps diorama, a deep-green and craggy mountain-top, patterned in long snaky swathes of trees, runs and chairlift towers. Chalet-themed buildings, rental centers and ticket booths all sporting A-frame rooflines and winter montages featuring retired skis crossed in the shape of an X, red sleds, snowflakes and striped woollen hats with balls on the end." – Daniel Pasley
"On the top of Steven’s while everybody is failing to find someplace open, Tony, Daniel and I sit on the stairs facing the parking lot and the road at the bottom of the resort. At some point a couple of guys in a moving truck pull over for a nature-break and a smoke. We con Tony into asking them if they have any beer and they do - two very warm buds. They make us buy them for five dollars. We drink them as fast we can before anyone comes looking for us and wants us to share. That was the best warm overpriced bud ever.” – Greg Johnson