Windy Marine Drive/Columbia River Highway

I made up my mind to take part in the “Rapha Festive 500” only yesterday morning.  I threw the gauntlet by declaring myself “On the way out the door!”. But I couldn’t manage to get out of my own way long enough to actually get out the door, and given the abbreviated hours of daylight, the day passed without a ride.

So this morning, I was determined to make it happen, come hell or high water, and though I’m embarrassed to admit it, I was on my way only shortly before noon.

The plan was simple:  ride out for 50km and then turn around and ride back.  The Columbia River Gorge is a veritable wind tunnel this time of year, but fortunately the winds are generally east-west in the winter, which means a bitch of a headwind on the way out, but a gracious tailwind all the way home.

just before the wind tunnel

I slogged my way out to one of the Gorge’s many landmarks, the Vista House, and as I turned the corner to descend past it, the wind very nearly picked me off the ground!  I don’t remember ever experiencing such a powerful wind in all my 20+ years of riding.  Lucky for me it wasn’t raining and the clouds were high, which allowed for a great (brief and cold) view from the Women’s Forum:

Despite being only 45km into the ride, I decided to turn around because I could not imagine having to negotiate this wind both coming and going.  Even when it shifted into a tailwind, I was frightened at its strength.

Back towards home I rode with a screaming tailwind.  I tacked on a loop through Smith and Bybee Lakes and was home well past dark after just over 100km.

First ride in the bag.  My legs are knackered, but I’m still looking forward to the challenge.


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