by Millison Fambles
The 200k and 300k rides will be run concurrently for the first 80 miles starting at Bertolino Coffee Bar 2421 S Union Tacoma 98405.
The ride starts along the Scott Pierson Trail. This trail has lots of turns and uses crosswalks and sidewalks as it follows along Hwy 16 to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The view from the bridge is spectacular and is a great photo opportunity. Four miles later, you will be zooming down the hill into old town Gig Harbor. There is a bit of road construction along the water but it should not slow anyone down on a Saturday morning. The congestion and number of turns decreases once you have left Purdy, just in time for the Kitsap climbing to begin. Pine Rd starts the fun and it continues pretty much until WA-3.
The first control is in Belfair and there are a wide variety of food options: Safeway, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc. There is road construction for a short stretch through town. The route follows Hood Canal for a few miles before it makes a sharp and steep climb up E. Trails Rd to Mason Lake. Keep your eyes peeled through the clearcuts for glimpses of the Olympics and Mt Rainier. The next control is at the Airport Grocery outside of Shelton. Please be extra courteous and clean. We were scolded last year for leaving trash outside. If you are going to leave water for the following riders, please leave it neatly next to the trash can.
Follow US-101 south to Steamboat Island Rd. where we escape the business of the highway for the quiet lap along Madrona Beach. Shortly after the climb up and out of the Delphi Valley, the route splits and the 200k cuts through south Olympia and the 300k continues south the explore the hills and valleys of the Doty Hills.
Off Delphi, there are a few new roads to an info control. Congestion increases as the route goes through South Olympia and Tumwater. There are lots of services through this area. Cleveland Rd becomes Yelm Hwy and is busy but has a wide bike lane. Watch for merging and turning traffic. There is an info control then a fast descent into the Nisqually River Valley. Fort Lewis limits our road options for heading north so there will be a 1.5 mile stretch on I-5. Use caution if there are trucks merging to use the scales. There are plenty of food options in Dupont and only 28k to go. Continue past the Amazon fulfillment center, the Ft Lewis firing range, the Jack Nicklaus designed VA golf course and across Steilacoom Lake as you wind north through Lakewood. The final 10k follows city streets to the finish.
Continues down the valley to Littlerock (services) and Mima Gate to the “End of the Trail” control in Rochester. Stock up on food and water here, there are no services for 50km. After a short stretch on US-12, the route turns into the hills and meanders through quiet, rural hills ending with a beautiful descent down the Lincoln Creek Valley. There is a control at Safeway in Centralia and then easy riding on 507 to Bucoda, Tenino and then on the trail to Rainier. Then, head north to East Olympia and then follow the 200k route to the finish.
Almost half of the elevation gain is in the first 50K, so the Belfair control is well timed for a break. The 200 route has services along the whole route. The 300 has a 50k gap from Rochester to Centralia without anything.
The weather forecast is looking good, but is has been and wet spring.
It helps if you preregister: http://seattlerando.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=608
See you Saturday morning at Bertolino’s.