by John Pearch
No 1000k is easy, regardless of the accumulative elevation gain. The SIR 2019 Fall 1000k has about 17,300 ft of climbing (according to Strava), but the hard part is really about navigation! Even if you are from Seattle, ask yourself, have you ever rode the Snohomish Interurban or other trails in the dark? Even if you are familiar with all the trails and turns in the dark, it is still highly suggested you have a GPS. But if you plan just using a cuesheet, reviewing the RWGPS links is essential before the ride!
Thanks to Geoff Swarts, a new route was created and approved by RUSA. Vinny and I pre-rode this past weekend and found many changes to the cuesheet. We made many changes to the route immediately after the pre-ride. We decided to take out on the 3rd day the Green River Trail and also the control in South Park. The alternative is to go up to Kapowsin before Orting. We also modified the course to go over Montlake Blvd Bridge instead of 24th, that will be closed this weekend
; this is on the 1st and 3rd days.
The Redmond Inn is very generous and a bike friendly atmosphere. They have a great breakfast during normal business hours and dry breakfast food after hours (before 6am).
The 1st Day is 407k that goes north of Redmond to essentially Bellingham and back. The route follows familiar back roads to Paradise Lake climb, however the route descends down the Snohomish a different way instead of Broadway, so watch for the right turn on Downs Rd! After getting to Snohomish you’ll take the Centennial Trail to Lake McMurray store for the first control. Then descend to Conway and follow the I5 corridor through Mt Vernon. Then eventually Chuckanut Dr to Fairhaven/ Bellingham for a control. After returning on Chuckanut you’ll go to LaConner open control…we chose Stompin Grounds Coffee, they have the best latte milkshakes!! You’ll then go back over the Skagit on Fir Island then further south to Stanwood. After getting through a few busy intersections, the route then goes through Marysville that has some quiet city streets. After turning right off Sunnyside onto WA-204, be cautious of crossing the on ramp for US-2! Immediately after this you’ll make a right on 20th (under the US-2 bridge) and get in the left shoulder. Bikes are OK in the left shoulder so ignore the Do Not Enter signs—just don’t ride on the right side of the the road as this is an off ramp!! You’ll be down under and between both US-2 bridges still staying in this left shoulder until the there is another Do Not Enter sign. Caution taking a right turn, as exiting traffic does not stop!
After you take a left on Home Acres Rd, you’ll go right on 43rd and go up the bike path ramp onto a the US-2 bridge and cross over the Snohomish River into Everett. There is an INFO control at McDonald’s in Everett at the Colby/41st intersection. Kitty-corner to the McDonald’s is the Interurban Trail where you will continue on for the next 18 miles. The Snohomish Interurban Trail is full of adjoining feeder trails and also follow along city streets. We did our best to get as many details or landmarks as possible. But if your using a cuesheet and get off course, I would try and pull up Google Maps and find your way to Lake Ballinger station (info control).
After the info you’ll make a left a left on 76th and go over the I-5 pedestrian bridge and eventually descend to Lake Forest Park, where you will then get on the Burke Gilman Trail. This is a lot more straight forward trail that takes you all the way into Seattle and UW. I didn’t want to waste time in U Village so I went to the 76/Circle K on 25th. You’ll need to go over the Montlake Blvd pedestrian bridge at Husky Stadium then take the sidewalk along Montlake until you cross over 520, as the 24th Ave bridge will be closed starting this weekend!
You’ll start finding some climbing gears through the next few miles through the Montlake and Madrona ‘hoods. This has a lot of quiet city street turns that will keep you awake, watching for the signs or diligently following your GPS track for the next turn! After a short cruise on Lake Washington Blvd, you’ll climb up 50th Ave hill into the Seward Park neighborhood and eventually to Renton. There are services in Renton, so it is advised to stock up here as there may not be anything open in until Issaquah. The Shell was closed for me in Maple Valley when I got there long past midnight. The Cedar River Trail is a nice grade up to the Info at Maxwell Rd. A few rollers on Maxwell and you’ll be descending all the way back to Issaquah. In Issaquah, you’ll get on the East Lake Sammamish Trail that has a compact gravel section for a few miles then turns back to pavement. The ELST goes straight to the Redmond Inn.
Day 2 is 352k and the most scenic day. This has some rolling hills after Snohomish, including the DuBuque Rd (aka 2 Pukes Rd;), on the way to Granite Falls. Granite Falls is an open control (you can choose any location to get your card signed), but we always go to the McDonalds/Chevron on the far side of town as it’s a traditional control on Cascade 1200. If you are lucky you might get a tailwind on Hwy 530 to Darrington. Stock up in Darrington as there are no services on route for 95k until Mt Vernon. But if you are desperate, at the turn S Skagit Hwy turnoff, you can go over the Skagit River into Concrete that is about 1.3 miles one way (off route). There are a couple steel grate bridges going over the Sauk River. There is also an Info on the South Skagit Hwy at the Day Creek Fire Station. The 600k mark is somewhere on the S Skagit Hwy, so you will start to gain additional time and have time to get some dinner in Mt Vernon. There is a 24 hr Denny’s and Safeway on the east side of I-5 on E College Way. Rexville (Info control) closes at 6pm but only few more miles, there is a 76 station open 24 hrs in Conway (on east side of I-5). The last part of the day 3 are the climbs up to Lake McMurray and Centennial Trail and also up Broadway. There is a 7-11 in Arlington and Snohomish open 24 hrs. Once you climb up Broadway you’ll descend back similar roads as on the 1st day into Redmond.
Day 3 is about 247k starts off on East Lake Samamish Trail to Issaquah. You’ll climb about 1400 ft in 20 miles up Issaquah Hobart Rd and up Kent Kangley Rd to the Info on Kanasket Kangley Rd. The store in Cumberland is an SIR classic control. Once you get south to Enumclaw and Buckley, the route starts descending. At South Prairie you’ll get on the Foothills trail for a few miles then will exit the trail (just after the Carbon River bridge) onto Hwy 162 and up to Kapowsin Control on Orville Rd then return back down to Orting. Kapowin store or tavern are open until 10pm. Orting McDonald’s is open until midnight and Safeway is open until 1am. After Orting you’ll continue on the Foothills trail into Sumner and eventually onto the Sumner Link Trail. Although, you will exit the Sumner Link Trail at 16th and follow city streets in Pacific until you get to the Interurban Trail. For those not from the area, this is King County Interurban and not associated with the one you were on in the 1st day. You’ll take the Interurban all the way to Renton. There are some 24 hr services along the Interurban in Kent and Tukwilla.
You’ll eventually go north along Lake Washington Blvd and find the Seahawks training building at an info. There is an unpaved trail just beyond the Info that will eventually join the Lake Washington Loop (paved) trail, that you take to I-90. The I-90 trail for those that haven’t been on it starts immediately beneath the I-90 bridge. There is a steep bridge you’ll need to climb up and over (aka “THE CHILD”). Then eventually loop down and up over the Lake Washington to Mercer Island. There is an Info on Mercer Island at N Mercer Way. There is also a QFC open 24hr slightly off course on 80th Ave SE. You’ll eventually cross over the I-90 bridge over Lake Washington. On the far side Irving St is extremely steep to get up to Lake Washington Blvd. You’ll find similar roads as the 1st day up over to UW and will take the Burke Gilman Trail all the way to Lake Forest Park (Info). Then eventually get on the Sammamish River Trail all the way back to Redmond Inn.
The big thunderstorm of the century hit me right when I was having dinner in Mt Vernon. So I just went next door and got a room in the Quality Inn and got a couple hours of sleep, until the storm passed over. I was so glad I made good time in the first 650k, which gave me 4 hours to spare in Mt Vernon. Thank you to everyone offering me a ride, but it was good to keep going and finish this ride since the storm had completely passed over by midnight. The storm actually allowed me to get some sleep a lot earlier, otherwise I would have had to ride all night, a 100k further in Redmond. This was my 16th 1000k finish!
Thanks to Geoff,Vinny, and Mark for developing this great route.
Good luck to everyone riding! See you all at the overnight control in Redmond!