Few things look better than Andy Mapple acing a water ski course laid out on
a mirrorlike, milky-blue, glacier-fed lake such as beautiful Lake Chelan.
Unless of course itís you carving through lots of curves on a glassily
asphalted, well-engineered DH like this one. To our minds, biking and slalom
water skiing share certain similarities. Done at the peak, both sports mandate
the use of protective gear and the carving of exquisite turns. And failure to
do either activity properly can lead to painful crashes. So be forewarned:
from its start in the steep terrain of the hot, dry country near the Columbia
River to its dead end in the cool, eastern foothills of the Cascades, this
twisty lakeside squiggle can be as challenging as a 30-off slalom run.
Especially at competition speeds. Perhaps thatís why a 35-mph (55-kmh)
restriction, more appropriate to water-skiing, blankets the circuit. And why,
out of a deep concern for your safety, course marshals from nearby Chelan
speed tax this route on a regular basis, especially between town and the Lake
Chelan SP. One final caveat: the heavy concentration of holiday homes along
some of the tour means spectator pylons can pop up out of driveways as readily
as, well, orange balls on the water. Ready, Andy? Okay, hit it!
few people on four wheels that understand the attraction of a road that goes
nowhere. But DH5, which hugs Lake Chelan and dead-ends at 25-Mile Creek (one
of the last places to catch the daily Lady of the Lake up to Stehekin), is a
road that calls many lucky local motorcyclists with nothing better to do with
a fine morning than lean into turn after turn -- and then turn around and do
it all over again. Just watch out for random tourists on foot and bicycle when
you crack that throttle. Sweet!"--Sara