I've got to the small end of being a Clyde, but I'm not quite out of the club yet. And so I thought other people in here might get a kick out of my adventure.
This past weekend I went camping in the North Cascades, with my girlfriend and my road bike. We stayed at lovely Diablo Lake, a slice of glacial heaven. When some puffy white clouds blew in to provide some shade and help me avoid sun stoke, I went on a ride, toward Washington Pass.
My camp was at 1,200 feet, and the climbing started immediately. The grades were mostly gentle at around 5 or 6 %, and probably never steeper than 10 %. Two miles up the road is a lookout, about 600 feet higher in elevation. Immediately the mountains started coming into view. Riding was fairly easy, probably because it's all I expected to do, and I'm sure it helps that Seattle isn't exactly flat ... but I stopped a few times because I was blown away by the scenery and wanted a picture.
After about 1,500 feet of climbing and only ~3 miles, my heart sank when the road started to descend. Going down hill is fun, but I knew I'd be exhausted when I got back to this point. Oh well. It was a long stretch before the road started to ascend again. Pretty soon I was near the top of a mountain canyon, and my Garmin lost its connection to the satellite, for what felt like an hour.
Unfortunately I had misplaced my water purifier on my last hike, and didn't have it with me. So I only had two bottles, and ultimately had to turn back when I got low on water. Here's a mistake I've made before: it's all up hill, and it won't take more than five or ten minutes to get back down. I should have turned back sooner. I got a bit dehydrated on the way down. In fact, I had to stop at a scenic overlook and ask the tourists there for drinking water. These are the most heavily glaciated (and steepest) mountains in the lower 48, and stream water is delicious, but it's really not wise to drink it without purifying unless you're right at the source ... right at the road is a bad idea.
I had a better time climbing than descending. The shoulders felt generously wide compared to city streets, but 35 mph was as fast as I was comfortable with in the shoulder. There were patches of sand, and pot holes, on the way up, and I didn't want to hit anything like this on the way back down, at speed, in a corner with my luck. So I coasted more than I'd like, and I also held my weight further back than normal, in case I had to brake quickly, which left my shoulders pretty sore. The road was fine going down, though, and I probably would have been better off with normal posture and more speed.
There's a sign that says "Severe side winds next 30 miles." Eventually my attention fell back on the road and scenery. About 15 miles later, a gale-force cross wind almost took me down.