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Battle of the Bikes - Update


See a slideshow that's a compilation of pictures taken by the different teams who participated.


Note: If you're coming to this site from the Seattle Times article about this story, they did not list the right site. We recommend you visit the WenatcheeOutdoors.org website which is an affiliate of the JustGetOut network.


The paltry efforts to plan this event and the meager two weeks notice that the battle was on had actually had us worried. Those of us who helped conceptualize the idea and put the details together were getting emails and phone calls that went something like this: "How about a little more lead time...most of us (unlike you apparently) have lives." Or messages like, "This sounds like a fine and pleasant misery, but I'm already signed up for the equally beautiful torture of running the Leavenworth Marathon.”


So from our tally of who to expect we had about a dozen folks who were ‘In’ and about another half dozen who were ‘maybes’. In the way of a ‘maybe’ being a polite way for some people to say ‘no’ we expected 12 or maybe 15 people to show up Saturday morning on October 2 and ride for Ellensburg, taking any route they wanted.


Instead we got 40. We had one rider, Brig Seidl, from Seattle who apparently came over to humiliate his Central Washington brethren by completing the 74-mile paved ride over Blewett Pass on a road bike a good half hour earlier than the next finishers, Michael Hansen and Mike Fadich, who completed the 52-mile spin across the higher, rockier Colockum Road in 4.5 hours.


But that was just the beginning of the diversity. Team Adventure, some nine riders Jamie Tackman drummed up, were still out beating the bushes when the rest of the riders had already left Ellensburg and spent 6 hours in the saddle and 3 hours resting. Team Antiquity had our oldest rider, Gil Sparks, and ate the roses along the way… at different fruit stands and the Liberty Café before really eating up at the Tav in Ellensburg. Kaz Lorentz completed the ride with an artificial knee. And Collin Brine, being extremely lazy and wanting to sleep in, didn’t leave Wenatchee until 11:00 a.m. but still managed to make the festivities at ride’s end in Ellensburg.


In total six different routes were used including: Blewett Pass (the only paved option), a ride up the Beehive Reservoir with a crossing of the watersheds west of Mission Peak (a ride that’s tougher than maps might indicate), a ride up and over Mission Ridge (the hard man route that the team being whipped by Alison Haug completed with the third best time), the ride up Jumpoff Ridge and over the top a Four Corners (probably the most direct line), and the ride up and over Colockum Pass (the historic route between Eburg and Wenatchee).


At the end of the ride, each team recounted their experiences to the rest of the group. There were good stories, good adventures, good memories, but very few conclusions. The fastest route this year was on pavement but would the right rider on the right gear be faster going a shorter line on a mountain bike or with cyclocross bike? And what was the prettiest route -- well there's subjective quagmire to bog you down for hours? Or what was the most adventurous route. Again, plenty of debate.


These are questions it will take years to answer. Next year, as we run the outing on either the last weekend of September or the first weekend of October (mark your calendar now) we'll know more.


See a slideshow that's a compilation of pictures taken by the different teams who participated. We hope to update this with captions soon, but enjoy the pictures now.










It started from a conversation with Michael Hansen, owner of Biosports. Actually, now that I think back on it, it wasn’t really a conversation -- Michael was talking and I was nodding as he laid out a scheme to unite (or perhaps ignite)  our different, local  bike cultures. **


“Let’s bring together anyone who rides and, starting from Wenatchee, see who gets to Ellensburg first using whatever bike and route they think fastest. Roadies, cyclocross riders, mountain bikers – they’ll all have different ideas on whether to ride Blewett Pass, over Mission Ridge, or up the Colockum. We’ll find out which route and which technology wins.”


Photo: What's faster. Pavement??


As Michael drilled me with penetrating eyes and waited for a geyser of enthusiasm to spill forth, I thought about the concept. “I like it. What if we…”


Like it? What’s not to love? Why don’t we structure a grassroots outing. Each person wanting to ride finds at least one team member. People will have different ideas about the fastest route, so everyone needs to be self supported and to stick with their teammates incase there’s trouble. Also let’s get each team to recruit friends who are on different types of bikes to ride against.”


“That way they can all…”


“Right. They can all mock one another. It will be a battle of the bikes with lots of gauntlets tossed before we disperse. At the end, some of us will be crowing, others eating crow.”


Photo: Will dirt roads win??


“You know, Michael, if you do this on a road bike, I’m going…”


“Fat chance, Twinkie. I’m in twice your shape. And that last-century mountain bike of yours—it’s even less likely than you to finish.”


“So when should…”


“We could wait till next year, but let’s not. Let’s do it this fall as a small-scale outing. We can learn from it, tweak it, and do it on a grander scale next year.


“October would...”


I’m thinking in mid- and late October we run up against other rides and the cyclocross series. November’s too late. So I’m thinking October 2 is perfect.


Photo: Will the route less traveled prevail??


“How will…”   


“Hey, I’ve got patients stacking up right now, but you contact the guys who used to do the Backside Ride-- get them plugged in, call the bike stores, let the paper know, the Velo Club will want to post this on their website, and the road riders from Leavenworth who ride together each week--get them involved. This is going to be such a kick.”



Details Details: Wenatchee to Ellensburg…Any Way You Want


What? Call it the AnySide Ride, or the Ellensburg Equalizer. Will road riders, cyclo-cross riders, or mountain bikers reach Ellensburg first?


Why? To see which bikes and routes are fastest. To gather different types of riders in one event. To ride with and against friends. To generate tall tales.


When and Where? Meet Saturday, October 2, 8:30 a.m. at Lincoln Park (Wenatchee) near the intersection of Methow and Crawford Ave. There will be ground rules to cover. Outing starts a 9:00 a.m.


Ride’s End? The Tav in Ellensburg (117 W 4th Ave, 509-925-3939). We’ll celebrate, eat, and tell stories. We’ll see how the different Buddy Races (see below) fared. We’ll honor the most elegant route, the wackiest route, the wildest happenings, and more. Bring money for food and drink…nothing is provided.

The Route? That’s up to you – head over Blewett Pass, Mission Ridge, or Colockum Pass. The choice of surface, bikes, and route is yours. Your route needn’t be about speed, it can also be about difficulty or the story it generates. At the end we’ll honor not just the fastest route, but the gnarliest route, the most cunning antics, the path less traveled, and more.


Ground Rules. This is a shared outing, not a sponsored race. The outing has no organizing body and provides no infrastructure. For safety reasons, everyone needs to ride and stay together with at least one teammate (bigger teams are encouraged). Every team needs to be self-sufficient and carry its food, water, repair items, first-aid supplies, and a cell phone (which will have intermittent coverage). Each team should also bring a digital camera and take a few pictures of their route and team--we expect to have a way of showing pictures at the end.


Buddy Races. Every team should try to recruit a rival team – friends who are of similar strength but on different types of bikes. You’ll race against your friends rather than the whole pack. At the end we’ll mention overall winners, but we’ll mainly concentrate on the different Buddy Races.


Fees. There’s no entry fee. Bring your own food, supplies, and money for the end.


Getting Home. You’re on your own. Another reason that teams are required and buddy races are encouraged is to give you carpooling options for getting home. Allow time to enjoy the celebration at the end of the ride. We recommend calling your ride in Wenatchee when you reach Ellensburg – this will give you time to mingle and hear the stories of others.


RSVP Appreciated. Whether you’re a definite, probable, or a possible participant, please email ardappen@gmail.com and express your interest. This will help us notify you about last-minute details or updates.


Disclaimers. No organization or sponsor is behind this outing. There’s no established route, no food stations, no aid stations, and no safety infrastructure in place. Each team is responsible for their decisions, safety, and supplies.  

** Michael Hansen did help conceptualize this event, but the conversation attributed to him above is a little*** fictitious. *** Alright, the conversation is mainly fictitious, but the facts about the outing itself are spot on. I'm goading him with this article because he and his road bike are going down.



Photo: Near Colockum Pass.