Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Route: Entiat 971 Loop

38 miles
2100 ft of elevation
Alternate route to Lake Chelan from Entiat


  • Crumbly rock faces
  • Tough guy yorkie
  • Wild asparagus
  • Low traffic
  • Mostly good shoulder
  • Mushies?

Go check it out here: Entiat 971 Loop Map

My Notes:

Great new way for me to get to Lake Chelan that avoids the infamous Alternate Highway 97 route, though less direct.  Frankly, I don't know if that's really a drawback as this route takes you through some nice shade pine trees and a long canyon that's mostly undeveloped.  Long stretches of no cars to be seen, and mostly courteous drivers. 

After turning off Hwy 97A, you immediately face one of the tougher climbs on this route.  Downshifting into the smaller chainring and mostly leaving it there 39 tooth, not compact :P  Just behind me and up ahead is a crumbly rock face overhead that made me a bit nervous, so I was riding in the middle of the lane to avoid rockfall.  Truly, as I rode past I could hear gravel and small rocks dribbling down the side of the face.  While it isn't that high or threatening, I'd rather not chance it.

The route then turns right and the grade begins to mellow, just in time to find a tough guy yorkie that has proven his worth by chasing off this big ol threat of a cyclist.  In fact if that yorkie weren't so overweight he might actually get a nip at my foot.  Good for him he's actually pretty slow.  My options were to either let him take a bit at my foot, use the mighty emergency whistle to scare him off (preferred method), or kick him when goes for my foot.  Yes, I think he would actually try and bite btw....

Either way, he scared me off for a second time in as many days and proudly trotted back to his big rock to sit in the sun.  Good.  Well done chap, you did a good job and protected your territory.  Realistically, just keeping in a moderate to easy gear was enough to outrun him.  He's got a little yorkie belly from easy living, ha!  Makes for a great story to tell post ride too.

On the left side there's a series of orchards all throughout the valley, but one of the first ones you encounter that's fenced in has wild asparagus growing around it.  In fact I saw some on the right side of the road as well.  Probably a bit earlier in the season would be good when it's just coming up.  By now folks have already mostly picked the crop over.  Though I did see some that people have missed that happily were spreading around the fenceline.

The ride itself had very little traffic, and a reasonable enough shoulder for most of the route.  There's really only a couple times the shoulder was unsafe, like in the plateau section before the downhill you'll some logging equipment and a rough broken up shoulder on the right.  Otherwise a relatively safe shoulder to ride on.

On the way down there's a few pine sections that provide shade for the descent and possibly host some mushies?  After the descent you'll drop down on the S Lakeshore Rd along Lake Chelan, and begin heading East.

Once you hit Hwy 97, you must choose, go right to continue the loop or take a detour into town to get some coffee?  After making that tough choice, the climb back out of Chelan is moderate and long, but completed in basically one effort.  You'll then get the chance to drop down with traffic, TAKE THE LANE as you descend by the way, do yourself a favor. The tunnel that you pass through has a light that you can stop and press to warn cars of a "bike in the tunnel" but it's not worth it.  Braking hard to hit that button simply lights up some flashing lights on a sign way back up the hill.... really pretty pointless, and just about as unnoticeable as an actual cyclist in road camouflage.

Concrete colored, for the Darwin award nominees among us.  I like how the jersey even looks like a cloudy horizon, brilliant!

Your momentum will carry you quite far, and not much longer you're back to town.
Hit stop on Strava now...

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