I am so dang excited to show off Goldendale! Don’t get me wrong, I love the “classics” like my home course of Ephrata, but there’s something special about a new ride, somewhere you’ve never ridden. With that said I’m almost reluctant to share my story. It’s kind of like when someone tells you the main character dies at the end of a book you’ve been wanting to read. Yeah, it’s actually a lot like that. But here goes… First of all the weather was fantastic, clear, sunny 50 degrees, and no wind. Somehow they get skies that are just a shade bluer than we do. Not to mention the nonstop epic mountain views! Not that you should come expecting good weather, because there’s no telling what we’ll get, especially in mid April. But that’s part of the allure, the whole unknown/adventure factor. I ran a Hutchinson Sector 700×28 tubeless. Not burly enough to bomb the rough stuff, but a good compromise considering there is only a couple short sections that require a little finesse, not nearly enough to warrant a bigger tire in my opinion. I wore a base layer, two jerseys, arm warmers, and a light wind jacket. And it sure felt good to show a little skin with just knee warmers. Once I got rolling the climbing begins almost right away. The first kom is at approx mile 3.5. It’s not anything too horrendous, only 3.7 miles and 476′ of climbing, a good warm up. From there we continue to climb a little bit more, then get to the first section of gravel on pothole road which ironically is very smooth. Then a nice payback, downhill that will take us all the way to mile 20 where Olson Rd turns gravel. This stretch is a bit rougher and has a few sandy washout areas that were a little tricky to negotiate. That brings us to the “Centerville highway” and right through the thriving metropolis of Centerville where we will have our first water station (approx mile 24) set up at the school. After that it was on to Eshelman Rd, for some rough rocky gravel. This stretch was nasty, with big sharp loose gravel that was pinging everywhere, had me worried about gashing a tire. Fortunately it was short. Then it was up Dooley Rd to the wind towers with a epic view over the hill to the OR side and the mighty Columbia River. This is probably the longest stretch of gravel, some fast rolling, some rocky slower. Back on pavement we land on Centerville Highway again headed toward Lyle on what I think is my favorite part of the ride. Fast, twisty, rolling, epic views, all the way into Lyle where we will have our main aid station (approx mile 55). From there we follow the Klickitat River up SR 142 which is uphill, but a nice gentle uphill with a few breaks. Here’s where things get interesting, think gfe Three Devils. We turn onto Horseshoe Bend Rd which is gravel, we’ll have our third water station, and the second kom here. You can’t miss it, trust me. Once you get to the top you climb some more. Then you get to the pavement and look at your computer and realize you only have 10 miles to go, that’s a good feeling. But what isn’t a good feeling is what the last few gentle rollers will do to your legs post hs bend climb -cramp city. That’s about it though, rolling into town at about 89 miles, (feels like more) and 5:15 ish ride time. In retrospect I think I may have been a bit over ambitious on the first half and under estimated the last 20 miles. All in all this is an outstanding ride, with a little bit of everything, can’t wait for Gran Fondo Goldendale. See you there!