CHELAN — After months of postponements, cancellations and reschedules, there finally is an event on tap in the NCW region this weekend.
The Cascade Bike Club, a nonprofit that holds rides like the Seattle to Portland (STP), Emerald City Ride and Ride Around Washington, is putting on a three-day Lake Chelan Tour starting Friday.
Originally scheduled for mid-May, the race organizers at Cascade Bike Club decided to push the ride to October and add a few COVID-19 precautions.
Typically 120-150 riders head out for the same loop each day, but race organizer Rebecca Sorensen said riders are being split into three groups of 40, with no more than 40 riders on the same route each day. Masks and gloves will be worn by the few volunteers at rest stops. Hand sanitizer will be available and cyclists are expected to wear a mask while off the bike.
Riders will start at Don Morse Park each day and go off in waves of five 15 minutes apart and there are three routes — ranging in difficulty and length from 30 to 70 miles.
On Friday, riders will complete a Manson Loop, biking through vineyards and orchards on the north side of Lake Chelan and above Manson. There are three major hills on the section, including a leg-burning ride up to Echo Valley with a total elevation gain of 3,800 feet and an optional ice cream/pie stop at Blueberry Hills Farm Restaurant.
“There’s nothing better than a slice of pie mid-ride,” Sorensen said.
On Saturday, cyclists will head out from Don Morse Park and ride down through Chelan Falls, cross Beebe Bridge and ascend six miles up McNeil Canyon, climbing 3,100 feet before riding down to the Columbia River for a pie stop at Lone Pine Bakery. The route will cover 56 miles in total, while steady and moderate groups will cover 40 miles. There will also be a shorter alternative for those who prefer to avoid the daunting McNeil Canyon.
Riders will then complete a Navarre Coulee loop on Sunday, choosing between a 50-mile and 30-mile route. Leaving Don Morse Park, cyclists will ride up Knapp Coulee before descending down to the Columbia River and back up Navarre Coulee. The route then drops down to Lake Chelan State Park for a rest stop before continuing up lake until reaching the turnaround point at 25 Mile State Park.