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Crowsnest 1000 KM Brevet – 9/15/2017

The Crowsnest 1000 km is not your ordinary 1000 km. It will climb over many mountain ranges in Washington, British Columbia, Idaho and Montana. This route includes mountainous highways through British Columbia as an alternate way to Whitefish, instead of riding the traditional Seattle or Portland Glacier 1000 km routes. After comparing the elevation profiles, Crowsnest route is obviously quite the contrast to the original, with many beautiful views of the Cascades, Okanagan Highlands, the Manashees Range and Selkirk Mountains. The route is named after the Crowsnest Highway BC-3, which is the shortest distant highway connecting the High Plains of Alberta with Hope, BC.

The portion of the Crowsnest Highway this 1000 km will cross over the 5 rugged mountain passess of south central BC all on Day 2, between Osoyoos and Creston.

This section will be some of the most rigorous randonneur mountain riding, but will be well supported on the climb up Kootenay Pass, on the way to Creston, BC. The entire 1000k will be very challenging with about 36,000 ft of climbing (according to Openrunner).

Day 1 will follow similar passes as in Cascade 1200 course (though reversed) over Rainy, Washington and Loup Loup Passes and head north to overnight in Osoyoos, BC. After the Day 2 mountainous day on the Crowsnest, Day 3 will be much less climbing through broader valleys of Kootenay River and Fisher River and one mountain pass over the Salish Range (Happy’s Inn Summit).

This will be a minimally-supported brevet. Drop bags will be transported to the overnight controls. Overnights: Osoyoos and Creston, BC and a control on the climb up Kootenay Pass.

Registration includes accommodations at the overnight stops at the SIR standard 2 riders per bed. Some food will be provided if riders are projected to arrive after nearby services close. Riders are responsible for their own accommodations at the start/finish as well as transportation to and from the start/finish.

To help with planning, please register early or email the organizer an expression of interest if you are seriously considering this ride. Rider limit of 25, due to limited rooms in Creston!

 

Day 1

Day 1 is 369 km with 13,500 feet, and starts over the North Cascades of Washington (Rainy Pass 4875ft/1486m and Washington Pass 5477ft./1669 m) and also over the Okanogan Range (Loup Loup Pass 4020ft./1225m ) on Highway 20. After following along the Okanogan River/ Osoyoos Lake and crossing the border into British Columbia, Canada the route will overnight in Osoyoos, BC.

 

Day 2

Day 2 is 336 km with 16,375 ft of climbing. From Osoyoos, the route will head east on Crowsnest BC-Hwy 3, and climb over Okanogan Highlands (Anarchist Pass [4045ft, 1233m], Eholt Summit [3458ft, 1054m] and Paulson Pass [5036ft,1535m]), The Monashees Range (Bombi Summit 4009ft/1221m) and The Selkirk Range (Kootenay Pass 5823 ft/ 1775m) before the overnight in Creston, BC. Kootenay Pass climbs 3800 ft in 24km, with grades at 8% in the top 16km!

 

Day 3

Day 3 will be much tamer with 5600 ft of climbing in 300k. After Creston, the route will go south back over into Idaho. The Porthill, Idaho Border crossing is open only from 7am to 11pm, but the unofficial pace time at the border is at 8:25am, so this should not be a problem for crossing the border. The border is also only 14k from Creston, which will allow enough time to get some sleep and breakfast to stay on pace. The route will follow along the Kootenay River to Libby, MT and then pass through the Salish Range, following up Libby Creek and Fisher River valleys (McKillop forest road), summiting at Happy’s Inn. Then descend into the Flathead basin into Kalispell, where there are some new bike trails to avoid the main highways, then head north to finish in Whitefish.

Please note that this 1000k route will require the following:

  • Passport or Enhanced Driver’s License (or other ID’s required to enter Canada/US)
  • Qualification: completed a 600k or greater in 2016 or 2017 or with organizers permission.

The start, where riders are responsible for their own accommodations, is:

Mt Vernon Best Western Plus
2300 Market St
Mt Vernon, WA 98273

Transportation to Mt Vernon: Amtrak available to Mt Vernon from Seattle/SEATAC.

The finish (riders responsible for accommodation again) is:

Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge

6510 Highway 93 S
Whitefish, Montana 59937

Transportation from the finish: Amtrak is available at Whitefish back to Mt Vernon/Seattle. Or arrange a shuttle to the Glacier Park International Airport, near Kalispell.

Overnight controls where shared beds and drop bag support will be provided:

Sept 15 Osoyoos, BC Canada

Avalon Inn 9106 Main St, PO Box 92, Osoyoos, BC, V0H 1V0 http://www.avaloninn.ca/

Sept 16 Creston, BC Canada

Magnuson Hotel 800 Northwest Blvd, Creston, BC V0B 1G2, Canada https://www.magnusonhotels.com/hotel/magnuson-hotel-creston/

Note: SIR will not reserve or pay for anyone wanting their own separate room. If you prefer to pay for your own room, please let us know in your registration comments.

We will make an effort to accommodate preferred roomates, so please indicate any preference in your registration comments.

The preliminary route is available on Ride With GPS: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17970809

We will provide a cue sheet after the pre-ride over Labor Day weekend.

Visit the Seattle Randonneurs website to register: http://seattlerando.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=626:brevet&catid=61:2017-brevets-and-populaires

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Permanent Change: High Impact Closure Union Hill Road

by Bill Gobie

Union Hill Road in Redmond is closed from July 31 to August 27, 2017 for replacement of a culvert. The closure is squarely in the middle of the climb between 238th Ave NE and 208th Ave NE. You can detour on NE Redmond-Fall City Rd (WA-202) or NE Novelty Hill Rd.

Map of the closure: http://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/mycommute/default.aspx?clid=915

Routes which may be affected include:

1355 Snohomish-Edison
2334 Redmond-Conway v 2.xlsx
2298 Woodinville-Snoqualmie
2651 Baked Goods 100
3119 Kirkland – Bakery – Sandy’s
0186 Snoqualmie Valley and Falls
2921 Snohomish-Trafton-Startup-Snohomish
1831 MI-1 B
2920-Kirkland-EchoLake-AmesLake
1755 1756 Two Lakes
0341 Leschi – North Bend – Leschi
2298 Woodinville-Snoqualmie 115km
0606 Redmond – North Bend – Leschi-Redmond
0517 – The Alps
0850 UW-Granite Falls-Fall City
1840 NEW SNOQUALMIE RIVER RUN
1075 LK FOREST PARK-INDEX

 

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2017 Summer 300K Pre-Ride Report – Four Volcanoes

Photo credit: Mitch Ishihara

By Bill Gobie

Pre-riders: Bill Gobie, Adam Glass, Mitch Ishihara

Support driver: Keith Moore

 

Important changes to the ride:

The start time is 0500.

The route has been shortened slightly and has less climbing: 306 km and 13,400 ft

Important highlights:

Expect hot conditions in the afternoon. Carry at least three water bottles and consume electrolytes. Staying hydrated is extremely important on this ride.

You must have night-riding equipment including: headlights and taillights; reflective clothing including ankle bands and a reflective vest or Sam Browne belt.

I strongly recommend running a tail light during the entire ride. From inside a car it is impossible to see into deep shade when the sun strikes a dirty windshield. During the day a blinking tail light is most effective. A tail light may alert a driver to  your presence.

Mountain weather can be very cold at night. Bring some warm clothes and a windbreaker. This will be important on the final descent from Elk Pass when the hour is late and you are tired. Bring raingear to Packwood; odds are you won’t need it but if the weather changes you will be glad you can bring it on the ride. I have descended from Elk Pass in heavy fog which my speed turned into rain.

Total distance on gravel is 47 km. Some is quite good, much is moderately challenging. A few hundred yards may inspire walking, depending on your ability and temperament. The pre-riders used 25, 28, and 40 mm tires.

Cell phone coverage is very limited. You will be out of communication on most of the route.

The Ride with GPS file has been revised. Its link is unchanged. The revised route sheet will be available soon.

Introduction

Trust me to create a route I could not finish! Turning my disappointment to your gain, the route has been made slightly easier by removing the furnace-like climb that DNF’d two of the pre-riders, and by selecting an easier gravel road for a small portion of the route without losing much scenery.

Getting to the start

This ride is a bit unusual by having the start at the Johnson Creek Sno-Park 16 km from the base/finish in Packwood. Being an ACP-sanctioned 300 km brevet, the time allowed is 20 hours, with no extra time allowed for any distance over 300 km. On an easier course an additional 16 km would not be a problem for most riders. On this course, you may need every minute. Therefore the start is at an easy-to-find location outside Packwood that brings the timed distance down to 306 km.

The route to the start is not easy! Removing its 1500 feet of climbing from the timed route was an additional factor in selecting the start location.

It took me 45 minutes to ride to the start location from Packwood. I advise allowing 30-60 minutes riding at moderate effort. This means you should leave Packwood between 0400 and 0430.

After turning off US-12, the gravel begins immediately on Forest Road 21. After a few pedal strokes you start a 2-mile-long granny gear climb with grades reaching 10%. After that, the climbing moderates, albeit with a few challenging pitches. The surface is generally hard. There is significant washboarding, generally on the uphill side of the road. It was usually possible to find a smooth line. The gravel roads on the course proper are similar.

Reducing vehicle traffic

We strongly want to reduce vehicle traffic on the gravel roads. When cars pass, dust can hang in the air for a long time. Some roads are one lane wide. General public traffic we cannot control. So we prefer that you ride to the start. If you feel you must drive, please leave Packwood at least an hour before the start for the safety and comfort of those who are riding to the start. The area is lonely and we can make no guarantees for your car’s safety. And you will have to retrieve it after the ride.

If you have a helper returning your car to Packwood, we insist the car stays at the start location until one hour after the start for the safety of any late riders.

Likewise if your helper is driving the course, we require that the car leaves at least fifteen minutes before the ride starts, or waits until two hours after the start. If the car is meeting you at the road 2329 control or Takhlakh Lake, we also require that it waits 30 minutes after the last rider passes.

Temperatures should be moderate for most of the gravel section of the course. SIR staff at the road 2329 and Takhlakh Lake controls can transport busted bikes and their riders back to Packwood. There is little reason for personal support on the gravel section of the ride. We recommend personal support vehicles meet riders much later on the course in Carson by driving via Randle and road 25.

The Ride

The route starts by crossing Johnson Creek on road 21, and immediately makes a four-mile-long granny gear climb. Then the road descends and you can make up a little time. 50°F temperatures made for pleasant climbing, but were a bit chilly on the descents. Climbing and descending alternate, so you have to pick layers for chilly downhills or roasting climbs and stick with it.

Mount Adams makes an early appearance above a straight segment of road 21. The volcano suddenly pops into sight at many other places on the route.

Photo credit: Mitch Ishihara and Bill Gobie

At the turn to road 2160 toward Walupt Lake, the surface switches to pavement. 2160 undulates along the valley floor, then climbs to the junction with road 56. The turn to road 56 is well signed. Gravel resumes. The pre-ride took road 56 only a short way to road 2329. The ride will stay on road 56. Road 56 is the preferred auto route, so it is anticipated to be in good condition, similar to road 21. (This variation was driven, but riding in a car is no substitute for assessing biking conditions.)

After about 11 km, the route turns onto road 5603 toward Orr Creek Sno-Park. After a flat trip across the valley floor, the road climbs steeply and becomes paved.

The turn to road 2329 is marked by a dilapidated sign. There will be an untimed SIR-staffed control here to help you find the turn and provide water. The control will remain open until an hour after a timed control would close. Road 2329 is gravel.

Road 2329 takes you through beautiful high country forest with the odd meadow here and there. The road was lined with fireweed and a few a Indian Paintbrush flowers. Mosquitoes are flourishing after the late, wet winter. They are not bothersome unless you stop. After Mitch hosed himself down with mosquito repellant, I found I was well protected if I stood in the plume emanating from him.

Photo credit: Bill Gobie

Larger wildlife exists in this area. A bear ran across road 2329 ahead of Adam and Mitch. Bears generally are afraid of humans and will run away if given a line of retreat. The significant exception is a mother bear protecting her cub. If you see a tiny bear stay the hell away from it, and do not cross the line it traveled until you know its mother’s location.

On road 2329 the morning sun cast dappled shadows that made it difficult to spot potholes and other hazards. Please ride conservatively. Stop when you take pictures.

Photo credit: Bill Gobie

The first summit, 4780 ft, occurs on road 2329 at Divide Camp. Sadly there are no views here, although there is a pretty meadow.

Photo credit: Bill Gobie

Immediately after the summit the road becomes hazardous enough to warrant a Danger instruction on the route sheet. The road plunges and becomes rocky and rutted. The road is rough all the way to Takhlakh Lake.

At Takhlakh Lake we will have a staffed control in the Day Use area, immediately on the left as you enter the campground. The control is untimed. It will remain open until 90 minutes after a timed control would close. There is a pit toilet here. Be sure to wander the few steps to the lake for the incredible view of Mt Adams, pictured below and at the top of this post.

Photo credit: Bill Gobie

After leaving the campground, the road is paved for a short distance until the junction with road 23. There is an enormous pothole at the junction, warranting another Danger instruction.

After a kilometer you reach Babyshoe Pass, marked by a small sign on the left adorned with baby shoes.

Most of the next six kilometers of gravel is a descent. Control your speed and ride safely.

At 53.1 km it is important to make the turn to stay on road 23 toward Trout Lake. This turn comes on a downhill and it could be easy to miss because the road going straight appears to be the mainline.

57.5 km marks the end of gravel for the route (except for a stretch too short to bother noting on the route sheet). After a short descent followed by a short climb, the road makes a 20 km alpine descent to Trout Lake. At times I reached 40 mph. Just before 59 km there is sharp right curve with a rut across the exit of the turn, noted with a Danger warning on the route sheet.

At roughly km 70 you will have a staggering view of Mt Adams. After merging onto Mt Adams Rd at the bottom of the descent, start looking back over your left shoulder. You will eventually be rewarded with another splendid view of Mt Adams.

In Trout Lake you can get a great meal, or just a milkshake, at the Bear Creek Cafe, regrettably staffed with inefficient teenagers. A quicker option is Trout Lake Grocery with pre-made sandwiches, a block off-route to the right on WA-141.

Conditions after Trout Lake will likely be hot and dry: have plenty of water on board for the run to Carson.

From Trout Lake you go south on WA-141 all the way to the Columbia River. This is a splendid downhill run; we averaged nearly 20 mph against a hot headwind. Mt Hood makes several appearances. En route at BZ Corner you will pass a Shell convenience store where you can pick up some more water. At the Columbia River there is a food truck or small restaurant where you should be able to replenish.

At the Columbia River the route goes west on WA-14. Traffic is heavy and shoulders are sometimes minimal. Please ride single file and be aware of approaching traffic. There will probably be a headwind.

The route originally went up Cook-Underhill Rd, renamed on the pre-ride Cooking Undertaker.  This forbidding furnace-like climb did in one of the pre-riders and materially contributed to the second abandon. The conditions drove the reluctant decision reroute onto highway 14, despite its heavy traffic.

On WA-14 we encountered a headwind all the way to Carson. While not strong, the wind was hot despite the proximity of the Columbia River. Traffic was heavy but surprisingly courteous.

Climbing into Carson you pass Carson Hot Springs Resort with its waterfall water feature tempting you drown yourself then and there. Carson is an open control. The Texaco convenience store is air-conditioned and has seating inside. There are several restaurant options for those with the time and stomach for a meal.

Cooked by the undertaker, I abandoned at Carson. Despite making a point of drinking copiously and taking electrolytes during the ride, two days later I am still dehydrated. I could tell I had little hope of riding the remaining climbing fast enough to finish in time. I was disappointed to miss the screaming descent from Elk Pass. I figured Mitch had a chance of making the finish if he did not wait for me. I wanted someone to finish to prove it could be done! After some consideration, Mitch accepted the challenge.

Photo credit: Bill Gobie

What followed was epic. After being cooked in 90ºF+ temps, Mitch rode the remaining 155 km with some 6000 ft of climbing in just over eight hours, finishing with eight minutes to spare.

From Carson, the route goes north on the Wind River Highway. Although temperatures moderated as the road climbed, the air was humid. After cresting Oldman Pass, don’t enjoy the descent too much, because you must watch for the left turn onto Curly Creek Rd. In a few more kilometers the route passes McClellan Overlook where we had a superb view of Mt St Helens silhouetted against the post-sunset sky.

At Northwoods, the Eagle Cliffs store was just closing when we arrived. The posted closing time is 8 pm, but Saturdays are busy so the owner keeps the store open until business drops off. If the store is closed when you arrive, riders have permission to get water from the spigot on the front of the laundromat/restroom building to the right of the store. Changing the start time to 0500 should help riders reach Northwoods while the store is open.

From Northwoods the route turns right onto road 25 toward Randle. Climb, climb, climb and you will reach the untimed SIR staffed support point before Elk Pass. In daylight you get a view of Mt St Helens. Our view of the Milky Way overhead was incredible while we waited for Mitch. The air was chilly; be prepared for cold conditions on the alpine descent from Elk Pass.

Photo credit: Bill Gobie

Between Carson and Elk Pass there are several campgrounds where we verified you can get water. These are noted on the route sheet.

From the support stop it is a few miles to the actual Elk Pass. After the pass the road immediately deteriorates, with sunken areas where the hillside is sloughing. The 35-kilometer descent has numerous sharp curves. Please ride with extreme caution, especially after dark.

After the fabulous descent, Mitch suddenly turned off on a tiny, rough dirt road. Mitch’s thoughts: “As I headed down, I thought this road was complete rubbish while pondering what Adam would say.” Fortunately we were in sight of him in Keith’s truck. We chased, and Mitch heeded Keith’s repeated honking and stopped. He was following the route! After some frantic map work we determined the route was in error and pointed Mitch back to road 25. This is why we pre-ride!

At Randle the route turns for Packwood on US-12. Late at night traffic is light and the road has easy grades. The shoulders are wide and clean. For most riders this should be a pleasant finish. Mitch had to keep the throttle open. Despite the climbing, heat, prudent descent from Elk Pass, and off-route misadventure, he finished within time in Packwood. That was an amazing ride to witness!

Photo credit: Bill Gobie

Communication

Cell phone service is sparse and highly dependant on provider. Verizon service was available at Trout Lake, Carson, and Packwood. AT&T coverage was very poor. In Trout Lake the cafe and grocery store have wifi.

Delorme InReach coverage and sat sms communication was predictably consistent on a 10-minute update interval.

SPOT tracking was surprisingly good. There was a notable dead zone south of Trout Lake on WA-141.

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2017 SIR Summer 200K Pre-Ride Report (7/15/17)

by Keith Moore

The 2017 SIR Summer 200K brevet features familiar roads and trails, as well as some roads rarely seen in SIR routes. This route is based largely on the 2015 “Great Lakes Hunt” 300K, without the super climby bits north of Arlington.

The pre-riders (Narayan Krishnamoorthy, Paul Murray, and myself) met at 6:30am at Peet’s Coffee in Redmond (near Whole Foods) for the traditional coffee, pastries, and paperwork. We departed at 7:00am sharp.

The first seven miles or so should be familiar to most SIR riders: an easy ride north on Avondale to Bear Creek, then to Mink and Woodinville-Duvall. Whereas most SIR routes turn west towards Paradise Lake, this route heads east. After a a couple of miles on Woo-Du, it turns into the quiet Aspenwood neighborhood. Way back in neighborhood is a little known dirt/gravel trail that connects Aspenwood to the Echo Lake area. Here we made our one and only navigational screw-up for the day.

Note: Follow the (updated/clarified) cuesheet instructions to stay on the trail and resist any temptation to divert left or right. In other words, go here:


NOT here:

The trail is well packed. I had no issues with my overloaded bike (and overloaded rider) on 28mm tires. After the trail we joined a gravel road for a few hundred yards. Again it was no problem on my 28mm tires.

After answering the info control question on Echo Lake Road we dropped down Welsh Road and joined High Bridge Road to Crescent Lake Road. A sublime ride through the Snoqualmie River Valley took us to WA-203 and Monroe. Numerous services are available in Monroe.

Crossing WA-2 we joined Old Owen Road then quickly turned onto Calhoun, the first notable climb of the day. It’s not long, but it does hit about 9.5% at one point, so it definitely gets your attention.

More quiet roads along sleepy farms took us to Lake Chaplain Road and (surprise!) Lake Chaplain. Unfortunately the lake is fenced off and not visible from the road. We answered the info control question, put on a fresh layer of sunscreen, and wondered what the people monitoring the security cameras thought of us.


Departing Lake Chaplain we doubled back then joined Old Pipeline Road to Bollenbaugh Hill Road, Woods Creek Road, and Lake Roesiger Road. Here again the route departs from SIR tradition — rather than riding north along the west side of Lake Roesiger, this route follows the east side of the lake. The east route is definitely “lumpier” than the west side, but it features a very nice park with real toilets, drinking water, picnic tables, and access to the lake for cooling overheated feet. Kasia & I will be manning this control on the day of the official ride, serving cold drinks, a few snacks, and control card signatures. About one mile north of the park is the Lake Roesiger Store if any additional supplies are needed.

Familiar roads continue to Granite Falls where numerous services and lunch opportunities abound.

The route departs Granite Falls on Jordan Road. Whereas most SIR routes take Jordan to Burns Road, this route continues on Jordan for about 13 miles or so to Arlington. Beware of broken glass on the shoulder.

In Arlington the route heads north briefly (~3 miles) on the Centennial Trail to the Bryant Coffee Co-Op. This is the one “merchant” control for the day. Cold drinks, ice cream, and snacks are available for purchase. Don’t forget to get your card signed! There’s no public restroom here, but there is a port-potty at the trailhead across the street, as well as “real” restrooms about 5 miles down the trail in town.

From Bryant the route doubles back on the Centennial Trail, then follows the trail all the way to Snohomish. Numerous services are available in Snohomish. Water and restrooms are available at Machias Station, about 5 miles north of Snohomish.

On ride day Snohomish will be celebrating their annual “Kla Ha Ya Days” summer festival. Expect a lot of traffic and other activity. Most importantly, expect 1st Street through town to be closed. Depart the trail on 2nd Street to D Avenue to continue heading south.

Traverse the lovely Snohomish valley to Springhetti Road and Broadway Ave, the last “big-ish” climb of the day. (It’s not that big of a climb, but it’s a bit of a grind, especially on a hot day.) Beware of glass on the shoulder.

After Broadway, the route crosses WA-522, joins Bostian Road and eventually reaches Woodinville-Duvall Road. Congratulations! The ride isn’t over yet, but it’s all downhill & flat for the remainder of the route.

Descend Woo-Du carefully — traffic can be heavy, and there are a number of drainage grates in the shoulder. The merge left at the traffic light (to stay on Woo-Du) is my least favorite part of the route. Be careful and keep an eye out for oblivious drivers. There is also a crosswalk available at the traffic light.

The route descends further into the town of Woodinville where many services are available. Turn left before the AM/PM (requiring another merge left across traffic), enter Wilmot-Gateway park and head south on the Sammamish River Trail.

The remainder is a piece-o-cake: just stay on the trail (be mindful of the cuesheet instructions for crossing over the bridge in Redmond), ride through Marymoor Park, and you’re practically to the finish.

Pop into Postdoc Brewing to get your card signed and have a beer if you’re so inclined. Soft drinks will also be available. The food truck scheduled for ride day is “Don Lucho’s Peruvian Sandwiches”. Vegetarian and carnivore options are available. See http://donluchosinseattle.com/#menu for details.

All in all I’d say it’s a fantastic route. Thanks to Narayan & Paul for a great pre-ride.

Please pre-register here.

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Summer Populaire (July 8, 2017) Pre-ride Report

The Summer Populaire (106 KM) kicks off the SIR Summer Series in style on July 8, 2017. It’s a lovely mix of familiar roads, trails, pavement, gravel, climbs, descents and even some flat stuff along the way. The ride starts in Columbia City at the Genessee Park and Playground and finishes at Super Six, part of theHawaiian-Korean fusion Marination empire. Cue sheet, map and pre-registration are all on the SIR website.

Organizers Ray Whitlock and Ben Rainbow gathered with pre-riders Hugh Kimball, BJ Moore, Fred Bladsel and Theo Roffe (that’s me) on July 1 to check the route and find questions for the several information controls.

The route avoids the I-90 bridge, passing instead through Renton on the south end of Lake Washington. This leads to a lovely descent (watch the rough pavement) into May Valley Park, past a dead end sign. At the bottom of the hill (where the many grates are), answer the info question and climb to the left. If you keep going straight, like I did, you’ll find a nice gravel trail that doesn’t go anywhere.

From May Valley Park it’s familiar roads with slightly higher traffic to Tiger Mountain Road and the biggest climb of the ride, just shy of 900 ft. It’s got a couple steep pitches, but it’s pretty scenic up there (see image at top of post). Answer the info question at the East Side Fire and Rescue, then enjoy the descent. But watch for cars from the left looking to park at the trailhead just before the T-intersection with Issaquah-Hobart Road.

The next phase of the ride is a bit gravely, but nothing very deep or technical. Just quiet sections of the Cedar River Trail, Cedar River Pipeline and Green River Trail. All of these provide a nice break from car traffic. Don’t get too distracted here, though, as we had to include a few more info controls. The last info is at mile 45, so you can stop messing with your brevet card from there until the finish.

From Maple Valley, it’s back to Renton where some construction interrupts our typical zig-zag back to Perimeter Road (around the airport). Be attentive to cars as construction always seems to make sharing more difficult. The route from Renton essentially backtracks to the start, but turns off on Genessee St (downshift!) and follows a backroads way to the finish.

It’s a fun route and the weather is looking to be most excellent this weekend! Hope to see you there.

And please remember to pre-register! It makes things a lot easier on the admin side.

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Permanent Change: Summer Festivals and Road Closures

by Bill Gobie

Every year two summer festivals close roads or trails in Seattle. Please keep these in mind when planning rides.

  • The Seafair hydroplane races close a section of Lake Washington Blvd at Genesee Park in late July or early August, typically Friday through Sunday. This year the dates are August 4-6.
  • The I-90 floating bridge closes during the Seafair air shows.
  • Hempfest closes the bike trail in Myrtle Edwards park for several days in August. This year the dates are August 18-20. Setup and teardown may obstruct the trail for several days on either side of the event.

Other towns have summer festivals which include street closures or parades. For example, Covington Days July 15 & 16 this year.

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Permanent Change: High Impact Detour Tolt Hill Bridge

by Bill Gobie

The Tolt Hill Rd Bridge over the Snoqualmie River is closed indefinitely. This bridge is southwest of Carnation. Many of our permanent routes cross it en route to Snoqualmie River Rd. The King County website for the bridge closure is here.

Fortunately for bicyclists, it is easy to detour across the nearby suspension footbridge in Tolt-McDonald Park. Please walk your bike across the bridge — besides being narrow, the bridge sways and bobs as people move on it.

To reach the footbridge when riding south in Carnation, turn left on NE 40th St.

When riding north on W Snoqualmie River Rd, continue straight across Tolt Hill Rd. Go around the gate to enter the park.

Eastbound on Tolt Hill Rd, turn left opposite W River Rd. Go around the gate to enter the park.

Ride with GPS map.

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Permanent Change: Summer Road Work

by Bill Gobie

Summer is coming and what does that mean? Road repair!

When planning to ride a permanent you should consult the relevant counties’ road conditions website. Regardless of closures you have to reach all the controls. You might want to ride a different route than you had in mind, or perhaps with some planning you will be able to map a reasonable detour. Links for King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Thurston Counties are listed on SIR’s Detours page at http://permanents.seattlerando.org/p/known-current-detours.html.

You can often find road closures on Google Maps by turning on the Traffic layer. Closures on secondary roads do not become visible until you have zoomed in several steps.

Some prominent restrictions and closures in King County affect:

  • Issaquah-Fall City Road: Single-lane traffic at various locations for repaving. During June 12-21 a portion of the road will be closed to all traffic for culvert replacement. (Thanks to Gary Prince for alerting me.)
  • May Valley Road: A segment is currently closed through June 16.

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600 km Spring (June 3, 2017) Pre-ride Report

by Noel Howes

Bainbridge ferry arrival

“Ferry – Beach – Ferry” (Accent on second syllable in Ferry – Rhymes with Paree)

Jeff Loomis and I met on the glorious Saturday AM last for the 6:10 ferry to Bainbridge to set off on our adventure.

We moved the start to the Blackbird Bakery so you will ride to the light and turn left on main street – Winslow Way. Folks driving to start from Olympia or west of water can have coffee and treat before ride (they open at 6:30 and were not busy). A vehicle parked there will take your drop bag.

We set out on the back road and only reach 305 close to the Agate Pass Bridge – this left turn has traffic but hopefully less on Sunday [the ride starts on Saturday] AM. We made our way up to Poulsbo to the usual entrance to Big Valley road though it is marked with signs on Little Valley – “No through” etc. There is a poorly viewable crossing and cars do go fast over the hill coming from your left but we were cautious and got through. Big Valley is pretty, avoids the Port Gamble Road with its traffic, and small shoulder.

Cross the Hood Canal Bridge and take the left turn to Shine then down the Toandos Peninsula to the Community Center in Coyle (there will be water for you) – in the daylight! This is the beginnings of Tour de Industrial Forest but low traffic and some hills.

Jeff in Quilcene

Back out to Quilcene where we stopped for Milkshakes. This is at the 101 Brewery. There is also Olympic Grocery and another Grill and a coffee stand.

There will be an uneventful ride down 101 with services, except for hair-raising encounters with amateurs pulling enormous boats. The shoulder can be narrow at times but I wear a mirror for just this reason and blinkys on (helmet?) would be safer.

Turn at the usual route to get to Matlock store [which closes at 19:00. We will have…]that will have SIR support after it closes small food items and fluids. Out then into the Wynoochie wilderness with the requisite gravel and inclines to Humptulips and on to “Steve’s Hideaway” near Ocean City. This is a very long stretch with no services, water or food – real adventure for some.

Mr. DeGroot was wonderful to us with food, water, etc.  He has a trailer and a small bunkhouse. It is off the road in a gated area and Steve asks that you just lift you tires over the tire destroying teeth at the gate. One could take a catnap there and use a bathroom. Drop bags will be further, in Elma.

From here we went back to Hoquiam on some roads that avoid the past curves and traffic of the main highway. The main difficulty is getting over the Hoquiam East to West, this involves jumping on the sidewalk going against traffic then crossing at a marked crosswalk to sidewalk on other side until you can get back on a quieter road. We found parts of a trail leading to here but because we were running late and it was just getting light, there was little traffic, so we are routing you on the main road. From here it is smooth sailing to Elma via Blue Slough and Monte Elma road.

We slept very little because of my delays (more on this later) but you will have Andy Speier and his competent crew to welcome you with your drop bag. You will have less than 200 km to go!

Going through Shelton you will discover, if you do not already know, the reason for the road name North Cliff.  There is a sidewalk to the left if you are not too stubborn and want to stay out of traffic.

From Elma our first food stop was Subway in Belfair, much needed (there was food at our hour in Shelton). You then take the truly ugly two lane highway shoulder for a bit towards Tahuya which eases as it turns into North Shore road.

Olympic Mountains from Tahuya

Next come the walls of Tahuya. Please consider purchasing my forthcoming E book “ A Walkers Guide to the Tahuya – Seabeck Alps”. In summary, it is possible to walk the first hill, preliminary elevation of Holly and Anderson Hill and still finish the ride in time.

Press on to Seabeck Pizza or if you arrive before 8 PM you can go to the General store there as Jeff did. I actually arrived around 7:30 PM and had a slice of pizza made for me. The serveuse suggested one might call ahead to order but be aware they close at 8:30 and oven closes at 8. Ice Cream and pop available 8-8:30. (360) 830-4839

You will descend Trigger Ave under Highway 3 and turn left on the Clear Creek trail– do not get off on lesser trails but continue on the main trial to an unmarked blacktop then up to the trail sign. You will see Silverdale road and head to that. I had not realized that Silverdale Road is the massif that it is but it will take you up and over on painted bike lane to your turn at Lundvig and Poulsbo.

We will have the finish at the Bainbridge Best Western and the next ferry after control closing is midnight.

I did start a list for myself of new items not to break in a 600 km including shoes and lubed but unchecked drivetrain.  Jeff commented, kindly, that I have always been willing to try and learn new things. Needless to say, Hot Foot, bending derailleurs and lack of support except at Steve’s, cut my time and ability to climb severely.

I am told that parts of this ride are too hard. I did finish despite my stupidity, walking and searching for at least one new control and detailing others. I did meet my goal, though, of climbing an equivalent altitude to my next 1200 km ride goal for August.  I had a great weekend with my riding partner and stole any possibility of nice weather you might have.

Additional details and pre-registration on the SIR website, here.

Coming home from ferry through Fremont.

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Chuckacamano Views 400k Pre-Ride Report

By Mitch Ishihara and Adam Glass

Continuing our islands and views theme from the past two years, we bring you more views from Camano Island, Chuckanut Drive, Bellingham, as well as other sensory infused opportunities from the northern interior of the Pacific Northwest.

Parking & Start

Ample parking at the start location awaits those wishing to get in a 400K.  Be advised though that there are no bathroom facilities.

Bear Creek Park & Ride
7760 178th Pl NE
Redmond, WA

The Pre-ride begins

Three opportunistic fair weather Randonneurs (Adam, Bill, and Mitch) set out to pre-ride the 5/20 Chuckacamano Views 400k route on an overcast and chilly 41°F morning.  All were bright eyed and bushy tails with smiles.  

Note: The start time on 5/20 will be 05:00 to make use of the increasing summer daylight hours.

The first 94K

After leaving the start at Bear Creek Park & Ride in Redmond, we headed north toward Paradise Lake.  Unfortunately, dense underbrush and trees block any views of the lake.  Apparently an artist decided carving wood sculptures from downed trees along Paradise Lake Road would do.

From Paradise Lake Road, we followed a common permanent route to Snohomish on Broadway Ave.  For the unfamiliar, lookout for the bad railroad track angle at the start of Broadway Ave.  After crossing the Snohomish River, the route headed west (left) on 1st Street to follow the river.  If you detour right on 1st, you find Snohomish downtown and a public bathroom on the right.

From Snohomish we took the same gently rolling hills and flatish route as last year’s Island Views 300K out to Marysville. By now, the dense marine cloud layer began to clear to blue skies for our randonneuring enjoyment. This year by popular request, we will take a slightly less traveled (slightly more hilly) route from Forty Five Road to McRae Road NW and Freestad Road south of Lake Ki before joining onto Lakewood Road for a glimpse of Lake Goodwin. As Lakewood Road begins to descend, stay alert for the right turn up onto Frank Waters Road.

In Stanwood there are numerous services, including an AM/PM before making the climb up the Stillaguamish River overpass.

Onto Camano Island

Once on the island, we left the busy HWY 532 on Good Road to take a scenic route along Utsalady Road.  This was recommended to us by our agents on the Island and well worth it.   Stunning views to the north (Skagit Bay).

Quiet roads…and more stunning views to the north (Skagit Bay and Whidbey Island).

A view from the Utsalady Point Park Info Control.

The views continued along Sunset Drive facing west as it dips down into the Sunset Beach neighborhood.  The terrain on Camano Island dips and climbs and repeats but lacks the duration of Whidbey.  At the south end of the Island(122.5 km), Elger Bay Grocery awaits to serve up some much needed calories and a control signature.

Continuing on with a few more dips and climbs, the route dips down with a view to the south (Triangle Cove).

Back on the flats

We eventually made our way off Camano Island to continue north along the flat farm lands with minimal trees.  As per usual there was a steady headwind from the North — use your energy wisely.

There’s an info control at the Shell station in Whitney before crossing HWY 20.  After finding the control answer however, we kept moving along capturing the scenery.

Barns, horses, farm land, …

More views along Bayview-Edison Road with abundant blue skies.  However, the sun was getting low now.

We parked our bikes with the others at Longhorn Saloon & Grill in Edison.  Longhorn allowed us to fill our bottles with water but wouldn’t do it for us.  Breadfarm (baked goods) is next door.

Note: that the Fairhaven control is only about +22.5 km from Edison — some more farmland and then Chuckanut Dr.

Let the Chuckanut adventure begin!

Of course paragliders were out and about enjoying the clear skies (and wind).

For those who desire a respite from possible car traffic on Chuckanut Drive, a stretch of compact dirt on the Whatcom County and Bellingham Interurban Trail parallels the road for 6.6 km.  Bill rode this on a recumbent highlighting the hard packed gravel and grade.  He did report two instances of sharp descents with loose gravel.

A bit beyond half way

We arrived in Fairhaven for the 215 km open control in time for a much needed dinner in hopes of surviving the second half through the cool night hours with enough energy reserves.

Fairhaven offers ample eating opportunities ranging from a Mambo Italiano, a pile of sandwich places, pizza, breweries, etc. You pass a grocery on the way in if you feel you can’t linger.  We strongly encourage you to stock up here on calories as the options beyond this point are limited and mostly of the gas station variety.

Into the night

As the sun set for the evening, so too did the photographers.  The temperature began to drop as the heat escaped into the clear night sky. We did manage to capture Jupiter next to the moon.  Other than this, there really isn’t much to see at night!  But brrr!

The Dodson’s IGA Market info control (243 km) in south Everson, WA marks the approximate northern most location on the route with services.  The folks at the Saloon next door seemed friendly enough as well.

The next services are at a Chevron in Deming at 249 km which lit up the dark sky off to the left of the route like the yard light in Poltergeist.

You know how there isn’t much to see at night?  Proceed with caution between 270 km and 280 km as HWY 9 has some pinch flat inducing potholes.  You can guess how we know.

Next services are at a friendly AM/PM in Sedro-Woolley at 286 km. They have some tasty hot chocolate out of a machine there.

The Safeway Arlington timed control is at 334 km.  Services in Snohomish begin at 368 km.  Woodinville AM/PM is at 389 km.  

The finish is at 407 km at the Redmond Inn.

Summary:

So that’s 407 km that you have to traverse in the 400K ACP Brevet maximum time of 27 hours along with 8000 feet of climbing.

The route can be thought of as four parts: 94 km of relative flatness out to Stanwood, 47 km of beautiful Camano Island views and a bunch of climbs and dips, 100 km of relative flatness north, and a cold return down the HWY 9 corridor.

Challenges:

  • It’s a 400k
  • It’ll be a cold night.  It’s also typically damp and foggy by the time you get to the Centennial.   Plan for mid-30°F at night.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast for 5/20 is absolutely fantastic!  It is looking to be better than the pre-ride.

Pre-registrations

Help the organizers by pre-registering for this brevet here:
http://brevets.seattlerando.org/register_for_event/397

 

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