Nature's windtunnel>>>
  September 14, 1991

What a great race! Let's give Michael the clap!>>>Tour de Malaga

Wenatchee is a charming little town in the middle of Washington State, nestled in the Columbia River Gorge, and surrounded by 2000+ foot cliffs that eventually turn into the Cascade Mountains. There was this little race held there called the Tour de Malaga, which I loved to do. I'd first raced it in 1990.

On September 13, 1991, Miimii and I drove 170 miles to Wenatchee, only to find the race was on the 14th! Miimii didn't kill me, and we were able to drive back to Spokane...another 170 miles. The next day we made the same trip, and this time we hit it right. Miimii shot the photo to the right, of the starting rollout--I'm third from your right, with the red helmet.

This race was one of the hardest I'd ever done. It was only 35 miles, but included two laps of a 14-mile loop that climbed 1640 feet (each lap) past apple orchards and migrant workers, then plunged down the windy Wenatchee Valley to the Columbia River. The descent was very scary. The bottom photo is the Wenatchee Valley, and to the bottom left of that photo is likely the descent route from the race.
My weakness was the descents. They were fast, rough, dirty, and open to the strong crosswinds blasting through the valley, which pushed bicycle all over the road at 40+ miles an hour. I'd usually be passed by two or three riders on the downhills and catch back on the climbs, but this race ended after a long descent, so I was at a disadvantage. At the transition from lap one to lap two, there was a very steep incline and a sharp right turn (top photo), which was impossible to make at speed. I'd usually lock up my rear brake and slide into it.

In 1991, on the last turn, I hit my brakes a little too hard, broke a spoke, and raced to the finish line with a pretzelled wheel. I held off the man behind me, and knocked three minutes off my best time. In 1991 I was 21st of 49, one placing better than in 1990. So I improved...a little bit.

Descent into Wenatchee

Photo above, courtesy of