Cycling Over Sixty

Cascade Bicycle Club 2024 Tours

December 14, 2023 Tom Butler Season 2 Episode 20
Cycling Over Sixty
Cascade Bicycle Club 2024 Tours
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this week's episode, Tom is back to pushing hard on rides. However, as the winter chill and rain set in, he discovers the need to fine-tune his cold weather gear for better comfort.

Joining Tom on this episode is our friend Paul Tolmé from Cascade Bicycle Club. He is here to shed light on their rewarding “Tour” ride format. Paul provides an in-depth preview of the Tour rides slated for 2024. From picturesque locations to varying levels of difficulty, Tom and Paul delve into the specifics, ensuring cyclists have all the information they need to choose the perfect Tour for their preferences. Get ready for an informative and engaging conversation that not only explores the beauty of the rides but also breaks down the essential details, including ride support, making it easy to plan your cycling adventures with Cascade Bicycle Club.

Links
Report on a study on muscle weakness and type two diabetes
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/study-explores-the-link-between-muscle-weakness-and-type-2-diabetes

Cascade Bicycle Club Tours
Walla Walla: May 17-16
https://cascade.org/rides-events/walla-walla-tour-2024
Winthrop Gravel: June 14-16
https://cascade.org/rides-events/winthrop-gravel-tour-2024
Port Townsend: Aug 16-18
https://cascade.org/rides-events/port-townsend-tour-2024-0
Lake Chelan: Sep 27-29
https://cascade.org/rides-events/lake-chelan-tour-2024

Paul's Blog Posts
Winthrop Tour
https://cascade.org/news/2023/06/winthrop-gravel-tour-photo-album
Walla Walla Tour
https://cascade.org/news/2022/10/hey-hay-walla-walla

Thanks for Joining Me! Follow and comment on Cycling Over Sixty on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cyclingoversixty/

Consider becoming a member of the Cycling Over Sixty Strava Club. www.strava.com/clubs/CyclingOverSixty

Please send comments, questions and especially content suggestions to me at tom.butler@teleiomedia.com

Show music is "Come On Out" by Dan Lebowitz. Find him here : lebomusic.com

Tom Butler:

This is the Cycling Over 60 Podcast, season 2, episode 20, cascade Bicycle Club, 2024 Tours, and I'm your host, tom Butler. I am back on the bike riding hard after being away from real riding for almost two months. So I am back on track to get ready for the season's challenge a 400 mile ride across Washington State. I thought the exercise bike I was using the last two months would have kept me in decent cycling condition and maybe it did help. But wow, do I have a ways to get back to where I was? I'm still operating off the assumption that reversing insulin resistance will help me to use energy more normally and therefore ultimately be a step forward in my goal of increasing my average speed. If you'd like to research this concept a bit, I will put a link in the shown notes to an interesting article. It's called Study Explores the Link Between Muscle Weakness and Type 2 Diabetes. I have yet to find a clinician that has taken any time to examine this link. I am hoping to do so sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I am a study of one subject, I guess.

Tom Butler:

I went out for a ride this week on a 40 degree day with pretty heavy rain for my area. I really failed to prepare for the temperature and the rain. My feet were soaked and absolutely freezing and I didn't wear enough upper body layers. I was reminded after complaining about the ride that I got a pair of ShadowPass Waterproof Socks as a gift last year. I really blew it because the ride was a perfect opportunity to test them. I did put them on the next time I went for a ride, but it was closer to 50 degrees and it wasn't raining. I dragged my feet through some deep puddles to soak my shoes in socks to try to simulate it raining. It didn't seem like my feet were kept much warmer than they would have been without the waterproof socks, but I will be looking for a cold, rainy day to test the socks out again. I think the main thing I will be looking for is some cycling boots. If anybody has a brand they really like, please let me know.

Tom Butler:

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to set a riding goal for 2024. I'm going to end up a little above 2,500 miles for 2023. I think I would like to significantly increase that goal, but I'm not sure what makes sense. I will have to look out over the year and see what looks like a good plan for next year. Cascade Bicycle Club announced their ride schedule for 2024 last week. I am looking at two or maybe three rides this year. The first will be in February. That will be chilly, hilly. I was a little disappointed that they kept Seattle to Portland the same weekend as last year. I was hoping they would move it earlier in July, so maybe we would have a chance for cooler weather. One thing I don't know much about is their tour rides. So I thought I would bring on Paul Tomei from Cascade Bicycle Club to talk about the tour ride format. Here's my conversation with Paul. Once again, I am fortunate to have Paul Tomei join me from Cascade Bicycle Club. How are you doing, paul?

Paul Tolmé :

I'm great, Tom. Thanks for having me and Cascade Bicycle Club on once again.

Tom Butler:

Yes, it's always a pleasure we are here to talk about tours, but first I'd like to have you just talk about the schedule, for 2024 is online. If you could just talk a bit about where people can find that and anything that you want to mention briefly about that schedule.

Paul Tolmé :

Absolutely Well. For Cascade members, I would say open up your most recent edition of Breaking News. That's our monthly newsletter. There is a link to a blog post there that I wrote about our 2024 events and rides.

Paul Tolmé :

We get a lot of interest from members and others. Please give us the dates as far in advance as you can so that we can make our travel plans. That's what we really strive to get these dates out as early as we can. As you can imagine, putting together an entire season of events and getting the dates dialed in is so much work on the part of our events team. Yes, people who are new to Cascade Bicycle Club can go to cascadeorg and you'll see a link to our events and rides. And briefly, our first event of the year is Seattle Bike Swap and that is in early February, and that calendar then continues through SDP in July all the way up to our Kitsap color classic. And among the many rides in that tour and event schedule are our four multi-day tours, our four three-day tours and I hope to see you on one of those this year, Tom, because they're probably my favorite Cascade Bicycle Club event.

Tom Butler:

Well, I am looking at them and I'm trying to figure out how to make that work, and we'll talk about that in a little bit here. But, yes, I'm going to try to make that happen and I'll talk about kind of my dilemma at choosing one as we go through them. But I do want to point out that you're wearing a chili-hilly T-shirt, even though people can't see that, and so that's something that I'm looking forward to is doing that for the first time, and I think that's the first ride that's coming up, and so I'm wondering if you could just mention when the registration starts for that ride.

Paul Tolmé :

Yeah, so chili-hilly is our first big kickoff ride of the year, although we have three group rides year round. The date for chili-hilly on Bainbridge Island is February 25. That's a Sunday and registration opens on January 9. Go to cascaorg on January 9. One interesting note to make it easier for folks to save dates, we have a mark your calendar button on all of our event pages so that you can get these important registration opening dates on your calendar.

Tom Butler:

Well, I'm really looking forward to it. It happens to be my birthday weekend, and we're going to get a place on Bainbridge Island. There's a number of us that have now come together to do events, and so we're going to run a place together that's pretty close to the ferry terminal on Bainbridge Island. We're going to make a weekend out of it and then have fun challenging ourselves on the hills.

Paul Tolmé :

That's amazing. That's a really nice way to do chili-hilly. I've done the same many times. My wife and I will simply take ferry over to Bainbridge, stay in either a hotel or an air beover there and then come back the next day. The ferries out to the islands are a wonderful way for Seattle folks to not have a staycation but have a really close to home vacation using your bike or your e-bike in the ferries.

Tom Butler:

It's a unique thing about this area that I really love. You mentioned the button, the hold the date button. There has been a bit of a website renovation, I've noticed, and I'm wondering if you could talk about that renovation or there's some things there that you would like to highlight.

Paul Tolmé :

Yes, Thank you for asking. Yes, we have a new website. Our previous Cascade website had been in its current design for 10 years or more. It was really time for an update. But a website redesign and relaunch is a time consuming. It can be an expensive process. Our IT team and our communications team and all the departments over the last year have been working hard on all the pages we have and really thinking through how do we make this new website easier to use, more functional and, frankly, aesthetically more pleasing and modern.

Paul Tolmé :

We launched on December 6th after so much work. Let's call it. As with any website launch, as you know, there are little things you find out over the coming days and weeks and so if anybody goes to our website and they notice a bug or a glitch, please email us at info at cascadeorg and we'll get it fixed up. But in general, the feedback we've gotten has been great. People love the look of the new website. They love the functionality. If you are a longtime member of Cascade, every time something changes you have to maybe learn where to click. You don't click in the normal place and so forth, but overall, once you've used it once or twice, it'll feel just like home, but even nicer looking and easier to navigate than our previous website.

Tom Butler:

Well, I do think it looks great, but I think that everything that Cascade does looks great, so I'm not surprised that it looks great Everything from jersey design and logo design and the chili-hilly shirt that you're wearing. I just think you guys do a great job with the way things look and I also think it points to something fairly important, which is Cascade Bicycle Club is an organization. You guys have done such a great job of building up the club to be a really exceptional organization and the things that you do, the people that you have involved, the leadership, how well thought out the club is, how inclusive the club is, the fact that you have the resources to be able to step back and say let's do this website redesign the right way, let's think about what people need, let's create avenues for feedback. I just think that it's an exceptional organization and, as a member, I feel privileged that my local bicycle club is as sophisticated as Cascade Bicycle Club.

Paul Tolmé :

Oh, tom, thank you for saying that. I'm hesitant to even speak now because I want all your listeners to remember everything you just said. We as an organization try to be very intentional and we are a nonprofit. We rely on the support of our members and partners to do all the work we do. So we try to be exuberant in our thanks to all of our members and everybody who pays for one of our rides, whether it be STP or tours, because the revenues from those registration fees go to support all of our work, and we really try to be the one-stop shop for people who have an interest in bicycling, whether that's advocacy, you want to engage and help get more bike lanes built in Seattle or whatever your community is around Washington to our events, which are community-building opportunities for people to exercise in a healthy and fit way and also explore Washington State, and that's what our tours, our three-day tours, are great for.

Paul Tolmé :

We really want to be a touch point for people of all abilities, whether they're new to bicycling or whether returning to it, which some of your audience may have ridden a bike a lot earlier in their lives but, due to life circumstances, they gave up. We have classes geared for those types of riders and if you're somebody who's done Ironman triathlons and are super fit and maybe even used to race, well, come, do SDP or RSVP with us. Those are rides, but they offer opportunities to ride long distances and really challenge yourself physically. Yes, we want anybody who is interested in bicycling in Washington State and around the Pacific Northwest to become familiar with Cascade Bicycle Club and Cascadeorg.

Tom Butler:

People can check out. On June 22nd there's an episode where you and I talk more general about the background of Cascade Bicycle Club and everything, and so go check that out if you're interested in the background and more information. And I would say that it is a Washington State resource. I see it as actually a Pacific Northwest resource. I think a lot of people would say that's true, but I would say, wherever you are, people are going to listen to this all over the place. Check out Cascade If you're part of your local bike club. I think Cascade does have some resources, does have some support that maybe other clubs don't have, and so I think there's some things that maybe people can learn about what Cascade is doing that's successful, that you could roll out in your local club, and I'm looking forward to working more and more with you and other people at Cascade to think about what can we do to provide some things that specifically speak to the over 60 audience and, like that biker that you talked about, that's maybe returning back to cycling after a long time.

Paul Tolmé :

Oh, thank you for saying that again, tom. Yes, inclusivity and creating a real welcoming environment for people of all abilities and from everywhere. And thank you for mentioning, yes, that we are a Pacific Northwest regional asset as well as a national asset. We for Seattle Portland in July. We have people flying in from all over the country as well as from. There were some riders from Germany this year. Yes, we invite everyone everywhere in of Cascade because we're a 50 year plus old organization. We've learned a lot, we've made a lot of friends over the years and we would love to serve as a model for bike non profits in other regions. So reach out to us at any time.

Tom Butler:

So I could take probably the whole show just talking about that. But we are here to talk about the tours. I would like you to first start out just talking about what the tour format provides. Now there's a bit of a name change this year, I think, so maybe you can talk a little bit about that and just what is the idea behind that format.

Paul Tolmé :

Yes, our tours previously were called tour lights and we decided to shorten the name to just simply tours because tour lights didn't be more confused by that. And essentially they're three day tours, so these are long weekend Friday, saturday and a Sunday. So this isn't a tour where you have to take a week or two or a month off of vacation to accomplish they are all around Washington state in some of the most scenic and beautiful locations.

Tom Butler:

You're talking about them being kind of, you know, a smaller amount of time, so you're not taking a month off, which I personally would love to take a month off and get on a bike and go for a while. But the reality is that you know, we don't always have that option, but when you think about being kind of out on a bike for three days, I'm thinking that something happens. You know, there's kind of a change, there's kind of a significant change of pace from normal life. When you do that, do you have any thoughts on that aspect of it?

Paul Tolmé :

Yes, great question, tom. The tours, as I said, are three days. Each day you have a unique route starting right from downtown. So what that gives you is an opportunity to stay in a centralized location with a common starting point every day and then go off in a different direction, each day on a different road ride or, in the case of winter, a gravel road ride. So that really gives you a great sense of a place when you can do these scenic rides in different directions and then the evenings come back and go to a social event that Cascade helps create for these events.

Paul Tolmé :

So you really get a sense of place in terms of the community and its history, its culture. You meet a lot of the locals. The sandwiches that we provided at lunch stops, rather, are always made by a local sub shop or sandwich shop. So you're getting to taste the food of a place, meet the people of a place and ride and explore and make new friends along the way. So that's why I find them to be some of my favorite Cascade rides. I love the big rides, but these are smaller, more intimate 100 to 200 people.

Tom Butler:

The neat thing I think about what you're describing is that again, there's a different pace, which I think you experience, just the surrounding a little different, and you're with a team of people these are supported rides and so you're with a team of people that have thought about they, have crafted that experience for you. There's the experience of the staff that I think provides a level experience, and also I'm wondering if there's also an element of learning from those people, tailored information about the area that you're in. Is that an element of it as well?

Paul Tolmé :

Yes, for instance, when I did the Walla Walla tour two years ago, one of the after the APRAE activities was visiting a local wine cooperative that was working with a lot of the immigrant community, that picks a lot of the grapes and those vineyards and trying to raise revenues for healthcare and medical care for that community, and so that was an example of a really a local nonprofit with a big heart trying to work with people who love wine and drink wine, and so that's an example of the type of educational and cultural experience we oftentimes provide on our rides. Last year, during the Winthrop ride, after the first day we had a gathering at a brewery there, a cider house in the Mehtao Valley, and we had some local individuals from who were affiliated with the local mountain bike and cross country ski trails associations talk about the trails that are available there both summer and winter, and so we do definitely try to structure events in the evenings and social occasions so that people can do a ride, which is supported. As you mentioned, we have SAG support on the tours and we design them essentially so you just have to carry water and maybe a snack in your back pocket, knowing that you'll have a lunch stop, a rest stop with a great sandwich and cookies and more food than you might want to eat at lunch, and then get back on your bike and usually finish maybe the final third of the ride and the mileage is anywhere from 25 to 50 plus miles and we always offer shorter routes and cutoffs. So, people who have ever if you have a question, oh, can I do a tour With the exception of the Winter Bravo tour, which is gravel riding is a little bit of an alert skill Could you ride 30 miles three days in a row? It's basically an essential question have you ever done that?

Paul Tolmé :

If you have, if you've ridden 30, 40 miles two days in a row, then you could probably do our tours. So we try to really make them inviting and we have outriders, I should say as well, who are within riding in the group will send some out that will go out to be with the front of the ride, some that will be riding in the rear to do sweep, in case anybody needs a tube and a pump up or they need a little extra water and a snack. We really try to make these tours as welcoming to so many abilities, and e-bikes are welcome as well, which has really opened up our tours to a lot more folks. We see a growing amount of e-bikes on all of our rides, especially on our tours.

Tom Butler:

For me it's totally in line with Cascade Philosophy let's get people out on bikes and all the events are like that. I think the inclusion of e-bikes is just that way of embracing people that might otherwise have an obstacle to being that far out on a bike. So you mentioned you'll want to do some training. I think would be right. If you're going to go do it. You don't want to show up having spent no time on a bike. It is spending a bit of time on a bike, but are there other things that you would recommend as far as people being able to handle the tour?

Paul Tolmé :

We're hoping right now to schedule an in-person event where people could come to Cascade Basketball Club on a weekend and we would be able to answer all sorts of questions in person. So that's one thing To be determined. On that, then, I'm sorry I don't have that date right yet. Another thing is we have frequently asked questions sections on our tour pages where we give answers to commonly asked questions, and so I think, reviewing that information, taking a look at the maps, and, as we said already, if you can ride 30 plus miles two days in a row, I'm pretty sure you could handle any of our tours, with the exception of Wintip Gravel. And if anybody has ever mountain biked or ridden on gravel or dirt and you can do that competently, then our Wintip Gravel tour. So I guess, take a look at our websites, review the dates. Would you want me to shoot the dates out right now, tom?

Tom Butler:

Well, what I can do is I will put the dates in a link in my show notes. But of course, head over to cascadeorg You'll see a link for rides and events and just hit that link and that way you'll see all the tours, but then you'll also see the other rides that are up there. You know again, the whole calendar for 2024 has now been released. So I think that's a great way to learn about things. But people are just interested in the dates. I will have them in the show notes. Great, let's go through some of the rides here. You had talked about Walla Walla. Now Walla Walla is kind of south in the state of Washington, for people not from Washington. There's a big mountain range that separates east and west. You've got this whole plateau on the eastern side of the mountains. So what would you say Walla Walla has become known for.

Paul Tolmé :

It's all about the wine there. When I was growing up we would hear about Walla Walla sweet onions. So there's rich agricultural land there. Essentially, with the growing popularity of wine, walla Walla over the last 20 years or so has become a real great location for wonderful wines in Washington state. And so if there are a lot of members of the bicycle and community who love to do rides in Napa or wine country and I would say, if that's, if one of your listeners thinks riding around Napa seems appealing, well I would say come do our Walla Walla tour. The roads are wide, open, the wine is great and the food is wonderful. Walla Walla has the historic old brick downtown which they've done a wonderful job of renovating and keeping open. There's a little creek and river walk downtown. I find it a really charming eastern Washington small city.

Tom Butler:

It is a bit feels like a step back in time in Walla Walla. My daughter and son-in-law happened to go to college in Walla Walla, so I'm a bit familiar with Walla Walla. But it is, it seems, like a bit of a stepping back in time to small town life. And it's interesting to me, the wine industry in Walla Walla. You've got kind of this smaller town feel and at the same time you've got these amazing restaurants that are in Walla Walla, because it pulls in people that are tourists for wine tourists or whatever you would call them. So it's a unique location that way. To me it seems like seeing it by bike, which you did. You've done that tour. Seeing it by bike is a different way of seeing that community and that countryside 100% and I would say the same thing for all of our tourists.

Paul Tolmé :

The three-day format with the unique rides each day really gives you a chance to explore North, south, east, west on routes that we vetted and chosen and taken rider feedback from previous years and really try to tailor them to be the nicest open, most open roads with great scenery.

Paul Tolmé :

Yes, they are a way to get some great exercise, explore and learn about different parts of Washington, including Walla Walla, and meet a lot of new friends Every day. What in my experience riding the tours is that, depending on whether I head out right away, right when they, right after we give the morning briefing, or I hang back sometimes and ride toward the end of the pack, you simply meet a lot of different folks along the way and you settle into a pace where you'll find oh, this person, we're both riding at the same pace and then you start conversing, talking about the scenery, looking at the wildlife In the case of Walla Walla, the rolling wheat fields which are golden brown at different times of the year and waving in the wind to then the bright real dark green river valleys and creeks where you have the vineyards. I find the landscape that part of the state really gorgeous in a very different way than the kind of forested, lush, wet, moist western Washington environment around Seattle.

Tom Butler:

Purple mountains, majesty as well in the background. Yeah.

Paul Tolmé :

Or the blue mountains, I should say.

Tom Butler:

Yeah, that's.

Paul Tolmé :

The blue mountains are the mountain range outside of Walla Walla where there's some actually really nice cross-country skiing as well. So lot to do in Walla Walla.

Tom Butler:

Again, we're talking about it being wine country and it is the Washington wine country. There is the Woodenville wine ride, which You'll experience the wineries from Walla Walla a different way because a lot of them will have locations in Redmond and Woodenville that area. But this you're actually Visiting places like Cougar Crest estate winery where it's one of the locations. I guess it's one of the starting points, is that right?

Paul Tolmé :

Correct. Yeah, you're talking about Walla Walla. Yeah, not. Yeah, woodenville, correct. Yes, and All that information is on the link. But yes, cougar Crest winery, testilio de Feliciana vineyards is another one of the wineries we visit, and Quirk brewing. We also try that we don't want to alienate beer drinkers, and so quirk brewing, which is a local micro brewery as well, is one of the start-finish locations.

Tom Butler:

Let's move on to Winthrop gravel now. Winthrop is another interesting area and again. So this is.

Paul Tolmé :

Winthrop is more kind of north-central Washington and then that, just over the Cascades, in the yes, central, north-central Washington, in one of these sort of Outdoor recreation paradises of Washington State, winthrop is a lovely little town located in the Metow Valley.

Paul Tolmé :

It's spelled M-E-T-H-O-W, and I love the Metow Valley Because it's a place where they have abundant trails, both for mountain biking and in the winter, for cross-country skiing, as well as winter fat biking or snow biking, and In the summertime there are also these wonderful gravel roads, forest service roads, and Winthrop is a charming little town, like maybe a lot of your listeners may have heard of, leavenworth, washington, which is the kind of a themed town that has a variant theme and Winthrop has for 30, 40 years or so. At some point in their history they decided to sort of create a western themed downtown and what that means is there are these wooden boardwalks with roofs overhead and Lots of sort of Western, pioneer looking storefronts. It's adorable, it's charming and it's in a lovely setting along the Metow River. In in this lush valley which has farmlands and ranches, winthrop is also Sort of a hub of locally grown produce, kind of farm to table Food, and restaurants are abundant there. So, yeah, I it reminds me of my days living in Colorado, for instance, and some of those ski towns in interior Colorado and I really love that, that environment.

Tom Butler:

It is really fun and you, there is this element of the people of Winthrop embracing this identity as a western town and Is the design of shops and everything to try to maintain that feel. So that makes it a really One place to be. The Metow Valley is a big glacier Valley and a place you know kind of like wall and wall. It's big agricultural area but these open vistas I think that's what's Kind of cool about it we didn't talk about is walla walla, fairly flat of a ride.

Tom Butler:

And how does that compare to the Winthrop ride, is it some?

Paul Tolmé :

well, winthrop being a little more of an interior Mountain town, a lot of the rides you'll start going up and you'll be riding up and up, and up, and up and up for a Longer period of time and then you'll get to the top and you'll go down, down, down, down down. So some of the rides will go in Winthrop. For instance, we'll go to one high point and then most of the second half of the ride will be trending downward. Or at some of the other longer routes you might go over kind of two passes maybe, where you might have several climbs, and then pretty much always finishing with a descent, because the Forest Service Roads, right, they climb up into the mountains and go into little river valleys, I kind of just over the, over the hill, and then you kind of maybe it might have to climb back out and come, but always descending back into downtown Winthrop, which is set right along the river. So it's sort of the town is basically the lowest elevation and so, yeah, a different sort of Mindset when doing that type of ride where you want to make sure you get to the top. So take it, take it easy and set your pace and Bring lots of water, because, as that's a summer ride. We've got a plan for Father's Day weekend and it's one of Lee Lambert, our executive director's, favorite rides. He's a father and so I think he's looking forward to having another wonderful Winthrop experience this year.

Paul Tolmé :

This is the second year we're doing the Winthrop gravel ride. As you know, gravel riding has been increasing in popularity steadily, while the popularity of Road bicycling has kind of waned and maybe is declining in so far as people Are a little worried about riding on the roads these days. That's a real concern a lot of people have, and so getting on to these gravel roads and dirt roads you really alleviate any of that Traffic concern. For instance, you know an occasional vehicle might go by, but it's really on the order of like single digit numbers of vehicles Over long periods versus some road rides. You go on where there are cars just passing you all the time, and so there's a Much more of a harmony with nature. When you're out there and there are no cars, your motor vehicles surround, it's quieter. Yeah, so a real different vibe.

Paul Tolmé :

Wonderful wildlife conservation areas in and around Winthrop in the Mehta Valley, so you could see raptors or eagles flying up overhead. You'll go past ranch lands, for instance, you'll see a lot of horses, and Then the food is wonderful. For a small town boy, you could almost imagine you're on Capitol Hill in Seattle with the quality of some of the food and the uniqueness of the cocktail bars there and things like that. If you're somebody who is a bit of a foodie and and has a big budget, you can really treat yourself in Winthrop, but also you can camp there. As a matter of fact, we are Reserving a big block of campsites as an alternative for folks who don't want to spend the money on a hotel. That's another aspect of the tours in general, which is you book your own lodging. We keep them really affordable and inclusive and we get lunch every day, but you have to book your own lodgings and so. So for some people that's hotel rooms and for others it's camping, and we have those options at all four of our tours. And so Winthrop in general boy, I can't speak how. Enough of it.

Paul Tolmé :

This is our second year. We learned a lot from last year, and so if you did it last year, I think it's going to be even better this year, frankly, and if you didn't do it last year, but you've always wanted to try a gravel event. This is a good one because it's not a race. All of our events are rides, so essentially you'll find people to ride with, or we have a lot of folks who will, groups of friends who are planning to return to Winthrop. We have couples. We have couples of couples who will plan to do rides together. It's a great ride in a wonderful scenic location.

Tom Butler:

Now, you had mentioned that it is a summer ride and it can be warmed there. And I just want to go back to what you had mentioned about the Outriders, which I've experienced the Outriders in. They're awesome.

Paul Tolmé :

Yeah.

Tom Butler:

It's just really nice to know you have that level of support.

Paul Tolmé :

They're kind of like the ski patrol. If any of your listeners are skiers, they're kind of out there instead of being on their skis and keeping an eye on folks and helping people who might have tumbled or stumbled. Yeah, they're riding in different parts of all of our tours, as well as not on our big rides, and sometimes you'll see them they're carrying a big backpack. I'm astounded that some of them are Outriders are as fast as they are because they're carrying, oftentimes, backpacks stuffed with floor pumps and tubes and a little bit of water or hydration. They're really a wonderful part of the Cascade community and Cascade Biscuit Club really relies on these devoted volunteers, many of them who have been involved for many years. We're always looking for more folks to work with us and volunteer with Cascade and the benefits are great in terms of you volunteer for Cascade and all of your hours count toward discounting registration fees.

Tom Butler:

If you're interested in helping out Cascade or interested about being an Outrider, but you're not sure that you know what you need to do, you're going to get that information. Cascade is going to provide you with everything that you need. So if you don't feel like you have much experience, just check in, send off an email and just explain. You know I'd like to do this. I'm not experienced at doing it, but I think that'd be great and you're going to get connected with people that can bring you up to speed on what you would need to do. They're not going to send you out there without knowing what you're doing 100%, tom.

Paul Tolmé :

And to make it easy for folks, we have a volunteer button right on at the top of our new website and it'll list all of the various opportunities to volunteer with Cascade, whether that's working at a lunch stop on one of our rides or even for big events like STP Seattle, portland stuffing packets that we mail out with ride rider bids and information. So a huge diversity of opportunities to volunteer and support Cascade Baskin Club.

Tom Butler:

I can't think of a better way to get away. If you do the Winthrop gravel ride, you've got this opportunity to kind of check out from the hecticness of life. Go camp in this really beautiful place, experience a remote town and be on gravel where you're not on pavement, you're not dealing with cars, you're out in nature. So I just see the gravel ride, the Winthrop gravel ride, as a way of really getting a renewal experience. So I'm plugging it for anybody that wants that kind of event.

Paul Tolmé :

And let's just plug the dates June 14 to 16, friday through Sunday, and registration opens on February 13. Fantastic.

Tom Butler:

The next one is Port Townsend. We've talked about Walla, walla and Winthrop, and Port Townsend is a very different environment than that.

Paul Tolmé :

Yeah. So Port Townsend, august 16 to 18. Again, friday through Sunday. Registration opens for that ride on March 5. Port Townsend is a Pacific coastal town. We've seen a straight of Wanda Fuka kind of just south of Victoria BC in that area. So we're talking Western Washington out on the Olympic northern end of the Olympic Peninsula a completely different habitat, but it shows the huge diversity of Washington state.

Paul Tolmé :

As somebody who came here due to my wife being from Seattle, just learning the topography, the geography and the landscapes of this big state has been a real joy, and Cascade has really enabled me to do that. So Port Townsend it's known as a sailing community. In the summertime there is a school for wooden boat makers there, for instance, and so there's a real maritime history. I believe that one time there was a thought that Port Townsend could be the capital of Washington state. They were hoping for a railroad because they had shipping access, and obviously that didn't work out, and I'm thankful for it, because Port Townsend is really charming.

Paul Tolmé :

This is called a lovely seaside town with great restaurants. It's part of the Olympic Discovery Trail route, so some of your listeners may be familiar with that. This is one of these long distance routes, the Olympic Discovery Trail out on the Olympic Peninsula In Port Townsend you'll get those ocean breezes and you'll probably get to eat some seafood or fishing chips at night after the ride. It's a wonderful way to see that sort of coastal environment and habitat and scenery Washington state offers, as well as the wine country of Walla Walla and the interior mountains of Winthrop.

Tom Butler:

These three rides really kind of highlight the diversity of Washington's landscapes. We've got the ruggedness of the Olympic mountains that are pretty close out there on the Olympic Peninsula. There's a real history of native communities on the Olympic Peninsula and so it's getting a cool place to experience a different part of Washington. It's a little bit later on in the summer, but I'm thinking that you know I don't know this for sure, but I'm thinking about the climate out there is probably not as warm as some of other areas.

Paul Tolmé :

Correct, although, as you know, we now know the weather patterns are changing and so, yes, you could have pleasant 70 degree temperatures, or, if we're getting one of those hotter spells that we've been getting in recent history, the temperatures could be higher, but hard to predict that. To be on the coast is usually a nice place to be when it's hot inland and, if you are courageous, you can jump in the ocean after your ride for a nice, real cooling refresher and, you know, cool off with a cider. From there there are cideries, there are wineries and meateries as we say on our website creameries, cakeeries and bakeries. In Port Townsend, you'll notice that we do play up all of the wonderful foods that are available in the places we ride as well, because that is the reward for going out and riding 30 to 50 miles as you get to enjoy a nice meal in the evening.

Tom Butler:

Well, I for one think you should play up the food, because it's one of the features of having someone that knows the local area and can really recommend some great eateries, I'm thinking this is going to be a hilly environment. I've been on the peninsula a few times and I don't know. Maybe the route is chosen to not be so hilly, but I'm thinking it's going to be some up and down on the route.

Paul Tolmé :

Absolutely Coastal. Washington is flat on the beaches but it is hilly as soon as you start going inland. There is a tremendous amount of up and down, but again, that's going to be more of a rolling up and down day versus maybe a windthrift ride or a ride in the mountains where you can be going uphill for longer periods of time with essentially the first half of your ride being up and the second half being down. Out in Port Townsend we spend time exploring a lot of the wonderful back roads in and right around Port Townsend and then we get a little bit south as well. I should point out that for folks who want to follow up after listening to this, click on the links to these individual tours and we have ride with GPS maps of all of them where you can check the elevations and the topography of all these rides and get some photos as well to see what the local landscape looks like. Yeah, tom, are you thinking about Port Townsend?

Tom Butler:

Well, I'm going to wait, I'm going to talk about that, but I'm going to get to Lake Shalane. Talk a bit about Lake Shalane.

Paul Tolmé :

Okay, the small city of Shalane is right on the shores of Lake Shalane, which is a beautiful long and deep interior lake in central-ish Washington. What I love about it is as with Wind Thrip, we're sort of starting down at river level. In Shalane you're kind of starting at lake level and that usually means then heading up to the hills right outside of town. So Shalane has a history with. I believe it was kind of an early resort town and railroad town which then kind of transitioned into a real tourism-based economy. But that landscape, how do I describe it?

Paul Tolmé :

The lake is beautiful. It's known for its tremendous depth, so there's real clarity to the lake itself and there are paddle boarders and boaters and waterskiers. So you get that kind of summertime beach town vibe going on there as well as great restaurants. And then you head out of town three different directions, oftentimes going kind of straight up for a bit to get kind of up and over the hills and into the canyons just outside the town of Shalane. There are vineyards there as well. We stop at some wineries, there's some wonderful bakeries, there's a traditional pie stop on one of the days of the Lake Shalane ride and again, yeah, I would have your listeners check the link to look at the topography of the three different routes.

Tom Butler:

I'll put the dates and then I'll also give a link to the ride in the show notes. I think it's interesting. Lake Shalane is a great place for recreation. It's created by a dam. It is a source for hydroelectric power, kind of a diverse place between the lake and the hills around the lake.

Paul Tolmé :

Yeah, and you ride along that lake shore for long stretches on different days. Mcneil Canyon the ride up McNeil Canyon is kind of a classic favorite for folks who have done it before, and that's a bit of a challenge climbing up and then getting to the top and descending, and then you also get beautiful views of the Columbia. A picture tells a thousand words, though, tom, so I hope your listeners will click on those links and take a look at some of the photos and ride topographies.

Tom Butler:

So here's where I am. I'm having a tough time making a decision about this because Walla. Walla is a great place. It's going to be some really good food, it's a unique atmosphere.

Tom Butler:

The windswept gravel ride I haven't done a gravel ride and so it'd be an opportunity to experience that. And again, I like that you're off the road, but Port Townsend is such a beautiful area and I really like being out there on the Olympic Peninsula. You know, port Townsend to me is a great place to go spend a night before the ride and after the ride and kind of travel a bit, see the Olympics a little bit, but then, like Shalana is such a fun recreation area, and again to go to make like a five day trip out of it and to maybe play on the water a bit, rent, maybe rent some place that has access to the water and then do the ride. So it's really tough for me to make a decision. I probably can't make a decision today, but if I was forced I think I'd go with the windswept gravel ride. I think it's between the windswept gravel ride and Port Townsend.

Paul Tolmé :

Okay, well, I look forward to seeing you on whatever ride it is. You have quite a quandary. I should mention bike and tire selection for windswept, for you say you've never really done a long gravel ride. I would say a little bit of practice. There's no real mystery to it, other than you don't want to ride skinny road bike tires when riding through gravel or over rocky terrain and sand. So 35 millimeter or wider tires. I rode my old hardtail mountain bike. So, folks who have even older mountain bikes, you don't need a full suspension trail mountain bike, but anything with wider tires, and so a lot of folks have gravel specific bikes these days. But in essence those are just essentially road bikes with wider tires and a little bit different geometry and so forth, but it's tire width that really determines your ability to ride on gravel.

Paul Tolmé :

And so a little bit of practice is great. And tip that I learned when beginning to mountain bike is front braking. When you're on gravel or sand you have to learn to maybe moderate your speed and remember that you can brake hard with that front brake If you're going in a straight line, but once you start turning, especially if you're in sand or gravel, you lay off that front brake a little bit more because you don't want to lock up and skid that front wheel ever when you're turning. Essentially these are not Red Bull, extreme, adventure, x Games type rides Go at your pace.

Paul Tolmé :

My wife did not really mountain bike or gravel ride at all when we first met and now she's gotten fairly competent and we go, we ride at her pace. So gravel is nothing to be feared, but a little bit of practice, I would say, would be advised, just so you'd know the feeling of the hand and the handling of your bike. You're going to get a little bit more of a bumpy ride when you're on gravel, obviously. So that means instead of smooth pavement your dairy air might get a little bit more sore toward the end of the day if you're riding on gravel and that can influence seat selection and so forth. But the upside of any little, the extra effort required to ride on gravel, is a broken record. It's getting. You get on these car free roads and you get a closer look at nature.

Tom Butler:

Now I think you know obviously you want to have some, a little bit of experience before you do a three-day tour. At the same time, you're gonna be riding with people that have more experienced. You're gonna have the Cascades bicycle club staff that are gonna be with you, so it is also a good way to get some tips and some hints and some feedback from people as well. Washington State is a beautiful place and I really encourage anybody listening to this that's not from Washington State. But the reasons that we're doing this now is that you can Schedule something. You know we're far enough out from these rides that you can schedule some time, make some arrangements to fly in and experience these rides and Again, the money that you guys Collect for these rides, what is that used for?

Paul Tolmé :

yeah, all of our paid rides are fundraisers for Cascade Bicycle Club, and what does that mean?

Paul Tolmé :

That so the revenues go to really support our Education and our advocacy initiatives.

Paul Tolmé :

Our advocacy initiatives including statewide bike advocacy and policy support for Washington State, as well as we have a Seattle policy manager who is working with the Seattle Department of Transportation in the mayor's office and city counselors to press forward and win support for bike Lane projects and expanding the bike network so that people all across Seattle can Use the bike for not just recreation but transportation.

Paul Tolmé :

And so we have all these policy programs that you, when you sign up for a ride, are supporting, as well as our Education programs. We have a program called the major Taylor project, as well as their ride, which is a fundraiser for that project called the ride for major Taylor, and that's in April. The major Taylor project teaches high school age youth Bicycling and leadership skills. There's a, there's a build a bike component to it, and so that's the type of program that your registration fees support. We are affiliated with Washington bikes, which is a 501c4 Legislative and advocacy focus group. Again, these are examples of of how your Registration dollars might be used by cascade to really build the bicycling community in Washington State for both recreation and Transportation just to sum up is an opportunity to get away.

Tom Butler:

Get away from the hectic parts of life, take a few days off to to move at a different pace and explore some places that are Really cool, really fun, with some people who are gonna take care of you and help you get the most out of that experience the cascade bicycle club volunteers and when you do that, then you're supporting other people having opportunities to experience biking in really good ways. So it's kind of a win all around situation as far as I'm concerned 100% and if folks wanted a few more.

Paul Tolmé :

I'm thinking of the blog posts I did, which would give a little bit more of a story and a lot more photos. I did a blog post about the Winthrop gravel tour that ran last summer, so folks could find that.

Tom Butler:

But I'll link that. I'll link that in the show notes as well.

Paul Tolmé :

Yeah, as well as the walla walla. I think the headline was hey, hey, walla walla and again lots of photos that I took along the way, which, frankly, are oftentimes what I'm looking for. Enough words, show me more pictures. As a writer, I understand people want pictures right on.

Tom Butler:

Well, thanks again, paul, for coming on and in a great conversation, as always when when you join the podcast and Look forward to you checking out more of the schedule. I'm really looking forward to 2024. I think it's gonna be a fantastic biking year. It's gonna be a different year for me because I'm doing more rides than I I've ever done. You know, 2024 will be a big increase in the amount of events that I'm gonna ride, yeah, but that just means I'm really looking forward to spending time with some really great people. So thanks again for joining me.

Paul Tolmé :

Can't wait to ride with you on win in Winthrop, fort Townsend and maybe I'll get you convinced you to do walla walla as well, and maybe like shalana too. I think. Just sign up for all four of them, tom. That's the best advice I can give you.

Tom Butler:

That's, that's awesome advice. I just I have to figure out how to have that much time to do to do with all those rides. But we'll see, we'll see. So, all right, take care now.

Paul Tolmé :

Have a great day, tom.

Tom Butler:

You too. Bye now. I do wish I was in the position that I could spend multiple three-day weekends doing all of the Cascade Bikes local club tours, but I think it is most realistic to plan on doing just one. This is especially true because I plan to do the trip across Washington State next year that will take me several days. Christmas is just around the corner and I have a list of cycling really gifts that I would like to see under the tree this year. I did very well last year. I would love to hear about what you are hoping for this Christmas for your biking adventures. Please let me know by messaging me through the show, instagram or drop me an email. You can find both of these in the show notes. I hope everyone is getting in the last miles for your 2023 cycling goals and remember age is just a gear change.

Weekly Update
Tour Format
Walla Walla Tour
Winthrop Gravel Tour
Port Townsend Tour
Lake Chelan Tour
Wrap Up