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Native Planet Classic 2006 - Ride report by Shan Perera

For the past few years, I have observed an annual ritual that always begins with my eager anticipation and has never once disappointed me. I love driving along the North Cascades Scenic Highway (Hwy 20), arguably the most scenic road in Washington State. This northernmost route across the heart of the Cascade Range contains some of America’s most breathtaking mountain scenery—jagged snow-capped peaks laced with glaciers, sheer granite cliffs, expansive valleys, blanketing forests and thunderous waterfalls that flow into jade-colored lakes—all accessible within a few hours of Seattle. Due to the heavy winter snowfall in “America’s Alps,” this highway is always closed until spring; I look forward to its opening each year so that I can hike among old-growth forests of western hemlocks and silver firs and enjoy the magnificent views of Davis, Colonial and Pyramid Peaks, Sourdough Mountain and Liberty Bell.

This time around, my journey was drastically different from years past. In 2006, I chose to ride my bicycle as a participant in the June 11th inaugural “Native Planet Classic”– a fully-supported, fund-raising cycling event along the North Cascades Scenic Highway. Native Planet is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the worldwide preservation of threatened indigenous cultures and was founded in 2001 by French-born US photojournalist, humanitarian and avid cyclist Jean-Philippe Soule, after his experiences living with the Mentawai people in the Indonesian rainforest. Native Planet’s goal is to facilitate the self-empowerment of those cultures, helping them protect their own unique heritage, lands and lifestyles, by raising global awareness through humanitarian projects, photo documentaries and cultural ecotourism.

Over the years, I’ve learned a good bit about Native Planet and the amazing work they accomplish with so few resources. When they decided to organize this event to raise much-needed funds and increase awareness, I felt compelled to participate and to seek pledges.

The “Native Planet Classic 2006” offered several round-trip options and there was a route for every skill level: an easy (28 miles) route from Winthrop to Mazama, a challenging metric century (61 miles) from Winthrop to Washington Pass with 4000’ elevation gain and, most difficult of all, a super-century (126 miles) from Winthrop to Ross Lake with 10,000’ of elevation gain.

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NP CLASSIC SPONSOR

Welcome Clifbar as the official sport nutrition sponsor of the first Native Planet Classic—and check out their brand new products, too.

NP CLASSIC SPONSOR

Welcome Sun Mountain Lodge as a sponsor of the first Native Planet Classic—and check out their lodging facilities for your next stay in the beautiful Methow Valley!

WHO BENEFITS?

Mentawai Cultural Photo Documentary

Visit the amazing, unassimilated, traditional Mentawai people as they live, work and worship in their own way-in their own world.

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