The ride was entirely on forest roads, but climbed from a starting elevation of 1750 feet to over 4300 feet and provided us with the nice, steady, sog of a climb that helps riders stay in shape and, in my case, to help knock some more rust off after nearly a month off from riding. The first 1.7 miles provided a nice warmup on a flat, wide, dirt road then the fun began. My back was hurting during the first couple of miles and Ken asked if it would be okay for me to continue. "You'll learn something about me tonight," I told him "I'll whine and bitch all night about the pain, but I won't stop till I'm at the top." He laughed. I grimmaced.
The forest road we were on zigged and zagged up into the mountains and as it did the sun finally bid us a farewell and the moon finally rose above the ridgeline. One second, only a sliver of it was visible. But as we continued to climb so did the moon and just a few short minutes later it was high in the sky and shining bright. My back stopped hurting after about the 5 or 6 mile mark.
The forest road eventually turned into a much gnarlier and steeper scramble, which we had to push our bikes up. But it leveled off again soon after. After one or two more technical bits of climbing (thanks to the loose gravel and cobbles) we reached the summit of an unknown mountain.
Ken pushing his bike upwards and deeper into the dark of night.
We laid the bikes down, turned off our HID headlamps and soaked in a 360-degree panorama of mountain views partially illuminated by the moonlight. Snoqualmie Pass lays just a few miles to the east, you couldn't even see the Interstate in the valley below, and the region of forest devoted to the City of Seattle's drinking water supply stretched endlessly to the south giving us an eternally black foreground. Ken broke out a couple of airline bottles of scotch, rum, and whiskey which we quickly downed, each of us taking giant swigs from each bottle. After a few obligatory photos (which turned out very grainy due to the ISO 400 setting of my camera) we bundled up in warmer clothes and began the descent.
Ken and I atop an unknown mountain with the full moon over my left shoulder.
We kept our speed in check -- never going above 30mph -- and casually rode back down the way we came, talking about everything from work to biking to women. Mostly women. It was a great training ride (19.5 miles and 2890 feet of total elevation gain) but also a petty fun night. It took 2 hours to reach the summit and a fraction of that to get back down. By 10:30pm we were back at the truck with the bikes loaded, and were headed home. A good night was had by all.