Summer solstice is a special time for me. A sacred day you might say. But instead of every week, my Sunday occurs only once a year. In celebration of the sun on this day, I like to do something out of the ordinary, something perhaps silly if not just plain ridiculous. So for the past five years I’ve spent this day of transit chasing the sun [click here for previous years]. The goal: pedal from sunrise to sunset summiting as many mountains around our valley as possible. No stopping until the sun sets…
As I headed out at dawn to begin this feat I was greeted with a double-rainbow, “DUH-BUHL RAIN-BOHHH…!”. No time to gawk so I quickly snapped a pic and realized it wouldn’t fit in a single frame. Of course I took a series of photos that I could stitch together later since I don’t have the pan option on cam and didn’t want to film it (we all know what happens then). That gave me an idea for this year’s ride. What if I took a panorama photo from each separate ride throughout the course of the day? That would be pretty cool. One of the most amazing things about our valley is that the mountains are so steep and surrounding that you can be on top of one peak looking across at another, and in only a few hours you can be on top of the other looking back at the first. This has been one of the fun things for me these past years while doing this ride: “I was just there! And there, and…” So here’s the panoramas I captured. All on one ride in a single day.
This year on solstice, 16 hours of pedaling earned me 13,400 vertical feet, gained and lost (funny we call it “lost” perhaps “harnessed” is more appropriate), on six separate mountains that encompass the Upper Wenatchee Valley. Definitely a challenging climb on a squishy coil-over flat-pedaled bike, not to mention carrying my freeride tack of full-face helmet and kneepads. But this gear frees me to really throw down the hill. And the descents were all-time! I raced the final downhill with the fading light. My ode to the sun. A true salutation.
I suggest everyone try something similar during the long days of summer. It doesn’t have to be exactly solstice or even riding. Whatever your outdoor pursuit. Anything to appreciate what really can be accomplished in a single day under the sun.