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.


Peak I: Looking across at what the day has in store for me. I spotted a black bear on the pedal up. I tried to get a pic but he crashed through the brush in haste to get away from the 2-wheeled demon invading his forest. Gonna be a good day I conclude. I wonder what other wildlife I’ll see…


The Paint Brushes are still in full bloom.



Peak II: A slightly different angle on a classic pan looking through my next ride and over to what I hope to be my last.



I know, I know… I’m not lost. Just riding backwards!


The solstice sun caught this mountain troll unaware and turned him to pure stone!


Ride III: One of the most challenging pedals with 6 highway miles directly into a headwind that just wouldn’t let up. I almost quit until I found these horsetail reeds prying through the asphalt. A great symbol of determination and mite; one pedal at a time I continue on.



Peak III: Peekaboo Lower Wenatchee Valley.



Chumming the drop-in on Ride III


After riding a ways down I had to stop to shoot this panorama. Looking up valley I can see my next objective.
I’m going PANO-CRAZZY!


Peak IV: After surmounting the last mountain, this pedal went by in a blur. Maybe I was just delirious?
I’m not sure, but I can clearly see back to rides 1, 2, & 3. Ha! I was just there, and there, and…



Ride IV: Super fast dust. We need some rain.



Peak V: No time to waste I’m really pushing to make my goal before sunset
*full disclosure: I didn’t even have time to get the pan shot so I lifted this one from earlier in the week


I’m thinking: new brakes pads?



Peak VI: The grand finale! Reduced to pushing I couldn’t feel my legs by this point. I can see the summit: so close… so close… I reached the top just as the sun faded over the Cascades. Snapped off my final panorama shot with all the day’s previous rides in view. Wow, was that really just today I wondered? Seemed like a week ago…



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.