There are a few rides around the Lower Mainland that classify as “Bucket List” rides: the Sea to Sky Vancouver to Whistler; the Sunshine Coast; the Triple Crown; and Mt. Baker. When I heard that the Wedgewood Cycling team was doing a fully-supported ride up Mt. Baker last Sunday, I shuffled my plans so that I could attend. This ride has been on my list for two years, but it’s a difficult ride to do alone (mostly due to issues with water supply).
We met at the Abbotsford Costco last Sunday morning at 9:30 to cross at Sumas into the US.
The folks from the Bike Gallery met us just on the other side and took jackets/arm warmers from us in case we needed them for the descent.
From there, we started as a group towards Reese Hill – a steep 4km climb up into “Paradise Valley”. This climb quickly separated our large group into three sub-groups. The fastest group took an extra detour at the top of Reese Hill around Silver Lake – a loop that adds about 10km to the ride and meets back with Highway 547 at Maple Falls. After Reese Hill, the route consists of a series of rollers for about 40km until you reach Glacier. All three groups met up in Glacier to re-fuel with water, waffles from Patisserie LeBeau (@PatisserieLB) and specialty food from Eat Prima (@eatprima). From there, the real climbing begins, and the next 35km is pretty well a continuous ascent, ranging from 2-7%.
The only destination on the road after Glacier is the top of Mt. Baker, so traffic is minimal. The road heads straight for about 25km and then the remaining 5-10km consists of switchbacks with increasingly beautiful vistas. Just before Picture Lake and the summit, the view opens up looking back down the valley to Glacier:
On Sunday, we enjoyed watching a few different auto clubs zoom by: the classic cars, the BMW M3s, and the imports (Subaru WRX, etc). It’s a spectacular road winding up the mountainside, and I’m sure it is as much a pleasure to drive as it is to cycle. Here are all the classic cars at Artist’s Point (photo courtesy of Barrett Jones):
We all met just above Picture Lake for a re-fuel of water, drinks, and amazing cornmeal/risotto cakes from Eat Prima (they were a lifesaver!!). A couple pictures and we were off – zooming down the switchbacks towards Glacier.
Many thanks to Philip Meyer and the Wedgewood Cycling team for having me along on the ride, and thanks to Philip for this shot of me, sporting my new Granfondo Canada kit:
All totalled, the route was about 145km for me (an additional 8km with the Artists Point addition, and a further 10km with the Silver Lake loop add-on). It is just a spectacular ride, and I can’t recommend it enough. Take lots of food and water along and enjoy the scenery!