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.


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.


  • 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.


Help the organizers by pre-registering for this brevet here:


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Summer 300 km – Four Volcanoes – July 29, 2017

Summer 300 km Brevet:
Four Volcanoes

310 km

14,000 ft climbing

July 29, 2017

Start time: 0630

Packwood, Washington

Organizer: Bill Gobie

My intention for this event was to run the popular Three Volcanos 300. The Cispus River had other ideas, however. The route is impassable. The Forest Service plans to complete repairs to Road 23 in the fall of 2017.

Photo credit: US Forest Service

There are two more washouts on road 23 like the one pictured.

We will ride a new route featuring an additional volcano!

From Packwood, we will go south all the way to the Columbia River, west to Carson, north to Randle, and return to Packwood. There will be an untimed control at Takhlakh Lake (photo at the top). Much of the 40 km to Takhlakh is gravel (the pre-ride will determine the exact amount). The gravel continues over Babyshoe Pass and five km down the descent. Once on pavement you will make a screaming descent to Trout Lake, where you can get a bite to eat at Bear Creek Cafe and reflect on what it takes to hike the Pacific Crest Trail if you share a table with a through hiker. Continue downhill to the Columbia River and more eating at the timed control in Carson. Heading north you can nosh again at the Eagle Cliff store. An untimed support stop before Elk Summit will boost you to the incredible winding descent to the Cispus River and the final gentle miles to Randle and Packwood. Veterans of the Three Volcanoes will be relieved to know the final miles are on flat US-12 instead of lumpy Cline Rd (although there will not be a secret control so you may ride Cline Rd if you’ve not had your fill of climbing).


The official start is from Johnson Creek Sno-park 16 km from Packwood

Moving the start 16 km from Packwood makes the brevet’s timed distance 310 km, and eliminates some difficult gravel climbing from the timed ride. With this adjustment most riders will have have a realistic prospect of finishing successfully.

Riders are encouraged to ride to the start. You may drive if you wish and leave your car at the sno-park. No permit is required. You will have to retrieve your car after the ride! There are no facilities at the snopark so overnight camping will be rough. See the special rules for cars below.

Be sure to leave Packwood early enough to reach the start on time! This is not a ride to start late!

The route to the start is simple:


We will have water available at Johnson Creek Snopark. The Takhlakh Lake control will have water and the usual rando goodies. Ditto at Elk Summit.

The pre-ride will check water availability at campgrounds.

The Takhlakh Lake crew will leave the snopark before the start, and will not be aware of riders who check in after the start. The Takhlakh Lake support vehicle will remain at the lake until four hours after the start or until the last rider who checked in before the start passes, whichever is earlier. Four hours is one hour longer than the maximum time to reach this control if it were timed. The car will drive back to Packwood to aid any riders who have come to grief on the gravel climb. Late check-ins might not find support at the lake.

The Elk Summit support location is actually a wide spot in the road a few kilometers before Elk Summit. The car will remain there until 22:30.


Cell service is spotty or nonexistent on much of the route. Text messages can often be sent when cell signals are too weak for voice calls. Riders must be prepared to fend for themselves in case of a mishap. You cannot depend on being able to contact the volunteers.

Using a SPOT or other personal locator is encouraged, although the mountainous, forested terrain may interfere with its signal. Please provide your tracking link in the comment box when you register.

In case of DNF please contact the organizer so the volunteers do not wait pointlessly for you to appear.

Rider Expectations

You must be prepared for night riding with reflective gear and lights. It is strongly recommended to carry a space blanket and warm clothes. Nighttime mountain temperatures can be very cold, and the weather can change rapidly. Many veterans of the 2010 Three Volcanoes remember the dark, wet, foggy descent from Elk Summit.

Special rules for cars

(Subject to change after the pre-ride): Since we will be riding the only route over Babyshoe Pass usable by ordinary vehicles, it is desirable to minimize the number of cars for the safety of riders and minimize dust. Therefore, support cars must leave Packwood by 0500. If you have a driver who will return your car to Packwood, the car must remain at the sno-park until one hour after the start for the safety of late riders. If your driver is going to drive the route, the car must leave the sno-park at least ten minutes before the start, or remain at the sno-park until three hours after the last rider starts. A 30-minute penalty will be imposed for each violation of these rules.

Check-in and finish

Check-in and finish will be at Hotel Packwood. Early check-in will be available at the hotel Friday evening. Check-in Saturday morning will be open at the hotel from 0430 to 0500, after which check-in will move to the sno-park.

The entire Hotel Packwood has been reserved for Friday and Saturday nights. To make a reservation, tell them you are with Seattle Randonneurs. Unreserved rooms will be released July 14. (If you cancel a reservation please announce it on the SIR email so someone else can take the room.) There are other motels in Packwood as well, plus a campground in town and an RV park a few miles west.
(360) 494-5431

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Brevet Week: Olympic Peninsula 600k Pre-Ride Report

By John Pearch

Theo Roffe and I pre-rode the Brevet Week Olympic 600k last Saturday and experienced some of the heaviest rains on the Olympic Coast!  This 600k route follows a similar route I created in 2011, however I am very glad I took out the Joyce-Piedmont hill and the Little River hill climbs as the Highway 112 has its fair share of hills. The weather looks promising this weekend – much better than what Theo and I experienced.

The 600k follows the same route as the first 600k of the 1000k, starting at the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Tumwater. We decided to finish the 600k and 1000k Tumwater Control at the Pints Barn tavern, only 500m away from the La Quinta.  There’s great food and beer to celebrate and to tell all the stories of the Olympic Peninsula.  We have uploaded all the revised cuesheets and RWGPS on the SIR’s RWGPS account, based on the preride of the 600k.  Mark Thomas and Rick Blacker also pre-rode the 400k and had some revisions; thanks Mark and Rick for all your help!

Starting off through Tumwater, the route goes through city streets of Tumwater and west Olympia.  The climb up Old 410 and Highway 8 is one of the bigger climbs, but there is long descent into Elma along Elma-McCleary Road.  After Montesano the route takes the backway into Cosmopolis.  From the Chevron Station, the route takes the bike path that leads to the US101 bridge over the Chehalis River.  Be advised, just after the top of the bridge, stay left and follow signs for 101, and don’t exit right!  The route takes you quickly through Aberdeen, up the beautiful Wishkah River valley, and along the back way to Humptullips onto 101; totally missing Hoquiam.

Theo and I skipped the re-supply at Humptullips since we had enough food to get to Amanda Park store.  But just after Amanda Park, we were getting drenched. It was pretty darn cold once we got to Kalaloch.  The Kalaloch Lodge are very used to wet riders and put us in the back room. It’s the perfect place for a control!  They have best clam chowder bread bowl too!  It was very cold getting going again along the coast to Ruby Beach, with wind coming off the ocean and through the cedars. The climbs out of the small streams and Hoh River valley were a relief as they warmed us up. There was a tailwind all the way to Forks and beyond.  The descent down the Bogachiel River reminded us of previous years, riding and volunteering on the “Watery Olympic 600k.” In Forks, the Thriftway has a good deli and large outdoor gear clothing department that Theo and I took advantage of getting dry rag wool gloves and socks! You should stock up on water, food and any caffeine as after 10pm there is only Clallam Bay Inn tavern that is open until 2am.  However, bars sometimes don’t let you take any water or other beverages, so carry extra water and food from Forks.

After Forks, we had a sweet tailwind almost to the Highway 113 turnoff.  The climb up Hwy 113 Burnt Mtn is a pleasant climb with a nice view of Beaver Falls and Beaver Lake, if you get there during the light. It was just getting dark for us, but it still was quite peaceful.  Once you crest Burnt Mtn on 113, it’s a pretty steep descent down to Clallam Bay.  There was a surprising amount of traffic by the time we got onto Hwy 112.  We stopped in the Clallam Bay Inn tavern where there was a big crowd for a local charity fund raiser and raffle.  Clallam Bay Inn have a variety burgers and deep fried food and they said they are open until 2am on Saturdays.  After Clallam Bay, you will continue west to Sekiu.  Just look for Curley’s Resort, on your left, for the info control.  There’s no time limit in Sekiu, but if you feel you need a place to sleep there are a couple motels.  Be sure to call in advance and book ahead – nothing looked open at night.  Although this is the 300k mark, there is about 3,000 feet in 90 km’s to Port Angeles, with four big hills on highway 112. So plan leaving Sekiu in time to make Port Angeles by 7:12am!  It took us about 6 hours to ride from Sekiu to PA! [Theo’s note: I usually find that riding while cold and tired is very slow. Sleeping, even for a short time, in Sekiu would have been good for me, despite the longer second day. Consider choosing your sleep stop based on your riding style and experience!]

Climbing back out of Clallam Bay, you’ll take a left onto Highway 112 which then follows the Pysht River valley.  You eventually start to climb out of the Pysht valley.  It was still misty for us, but after a while the stars came out along this stretch and we could see lights over on Vancouver Island!  The first two climbs are about 200 to 300 ft in 2 miles.  But the third climb, about 12 miles from the turnoff, is about 400 ft in a mile, and the fourth climb, about 17 miles from the turnoff, is about 600 feet in 3 miles.  This was the toughest part of the ride since it was so late into the night.  At the top of the last climb, I looked at the profile and noticed we were just as high as the next climb which is Walker Pass (beyond PA).  Getting to Joyce is a relief. Most of the climbing is behind you!  Just after Joyce, you will take the Elwha River Road.  However, be ready to stop just before you cross the Elwha Bridge.  You need go right and go around a gate, and take a gravel road for about 40 feet and at a lit building, you’ll take a sharp left onto an asphalt path that will take you back, and go on the pedestrian bridge, that is suspended about 20 feet beneath car bridge.  This will eventually turn left onto the Olympic Discovery Trail and leads all the way into Port Angeles.  However, there is no place to access the trail on the east side of the Elwha Bridge!  The Olympic Discovery Trail also tends to share access with Milwaukee Drive.

Once Milwaukee Dr comes to South N Street, the route will take 6th Street, which is a nice quiet neighborhood street through Port Angeles.  The Safeway is supposedly open 24 hours, however for us they were closed for waxing the floors when we arrived at 0400! [Theo’s note: I hope they got it right and won’t be waxing the floors again for the brevet weekend!] So we stopped in the drive-in at the Jack in the Box along 101, further east of downtown.  Usually they don’t allow bikers at drive thru’s though, so it’s best to stock up on food you need at Safeway.  We eventually arrived at the Super 8 Motel on the east side of PA.  Remember, the 600k and 1000k are not supported so you’ll want to carry extra gear for the last 200k.  I carried an extra pair of shorts and socks and other warm clothing.  The Super 8 also has continental breakfast at 6am with waffles, boiled eggs, cereal etc. Or Joshua’s Restaurant that is right next door, also opens up at 6am.

The route goes on Highway 101 toward Sequim, and takes Old Olympic Highway. Just look for the Applebee’s build board sign to turn left! The Old Olympic Highway eventually turns north on Cay’s and goes to the overlook of the Dungeness Spit and Cline Spit along Marine Drive.  You’ll eventually head back to 101, via West Sequim Bay, but we did are best to avoid busier sections of 101 around Sequim.

At Blyn, Chevron Longhouse Market & Deli has some of the best hot food and lots to restock.  For those  riding through, this is the last after hours store open until Shelton, about 75 miles!

101 south to Olympia is full of climbs, particularly the Walker Pass!  We got to Walker Pass and started to rain hard as the mountain had trapped a cloud and was wringing it out over the road. After we escaped the trapped cloud, it was mostly sunny and we had a tailwind all the way back to Olympia!  Remember, you’ll need to take the Wallace Kneeland exit off 101 to get to the AM/PM or Open.  There’s only 26 miles to the finish and hopefully it will be a tailwind!

The route then takes the Steamboat Island Rd exit and avoids the busy 101/8 intersection by taking Madrona Beach.  Once you get back to Mud Bay, it’s the same route back to Tumwater as you started except a small difference in the last mile to get to the Pints Barn tavern.  One thing to note: when you descend down 4th/Desoto, it’s a free right turn at the bottom of the hill, immediately get into the far left lane to take another left onto Custer Way.

For those riding in the 1000k, Pints Barn is also a control and their food usually comes pretty quickly.  The last 400k of the 1000k has many scenic views of the Cascades and there is plenty of options for services.  We recommend overnight in Kelso Econo Lodge as it is about 720k into the ride, about 117k from Tumwater.  There is also no support there but you can pickup more gear from your car at the La Quinta when you pass by.

For those riding the 600k and 1000k, remember to reserve your own rooms at the suggested towns (or in another town of your choice).

An important note for 1000k and 400k: we changed the last 400k of the 1000k and the 400k to avoid Chehalis.  The route instead goes on Scheuber Rd on the west side of the Chehalis Valley.  So, please update your Garmin’s if you already downloaded the RWGPS file.  We plan to have staff control in Kapowsin (at 933k and 330k of 400) for anyone arriving after the store or bar closes.  We’ll have some food and beverages to get you in the final 44 miles!  Mark and Rick got about 10,000 ft on their Garmin’s on the 400k preride, so plenty of climbs out of the Cowlitz, Toutle, Highway 7, Nisqually and Ohop Valleys.

Stay tuned for an updated cuesheet, as Ward and Hugh are planning on pre-riding the Brevet Week 300k this Sunday. Thanks Ward and Hugh!  The 300k, 400k will start/finish at the La Quinta.  The 200k will start at the La Quinta and finish at the Pints Barn since it will still be open before the closing time.

Also, please let me know if you have a spot tracker.

Hope this is helpful and we are hoping for sunny weather and lots of tailwinds!!

Hope to see you Saturday or any of the Brevet Week rides here in Tumwater next week!


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SIR Jerseys – Final Offering of White and Blue Coffee Bean Design

sir-white-coffee-jersey SIR Jersey Teaser ImageThis will be our final order for the coffee bean design. After this year we will have something new and totally different. So get your beans stuff now or never. We need a minimum of 15 for each item category or that part of the order will be canceled/ condensed- see #4 below.

You can also order dark style SIR coffee bean caps which make great and relatively inexpensive gifts.

The ordering deadline is Monday June 12 (@23:59). Items will ship directly to you around August 4.

The colors in the image are only a rough guide. The true white version colors are pretty close but the dark version blues on the actual items are a purplish blue. Most of you already know this but some might not.

Please note:

1) Because these are custom orders Voler is not able to do exchanges or returns due to sizing errors. It’s best to call them at 800 488 6537 if you have fit questions.

2)The long sleeve FS Pro fit is the same as short sleeve jerseys. However, the other long sleeve jerseys are sized about 1/2 size larger than the short sleeve ones. Vest and jacket sizing is the same as short sleeve jerseys.

3) I highly recommend the reflective pocket option.

4) If we don’t reach our 15 item minimum for each of the two color categories, I’m going to try to condense them into one with a strong bias in favor of the white jersey category.
Don’t worry though- I’ll contact individuals to get the ok – or not- before changing your order.

5) Design details can be found in the PDF below. I don’t have images for the blue long sleeve items but they look nice.

FWIW, the FS Pro is my all time favorite jersey and I’m picky about such things. I’ve used the Voler FS Pro model on six events over 2000 km since 2014 and it’s been really great. The short sleeve white version FS Pro jerseys are particularly good in hot weather but perform equally well in cooler temps.

– Doug

Click on this link to access your team order site:

Additional details about ordering below.

Continue reading

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Brevet Week 2017 – May 6-14

It’s not too late to sign up for Brevet Week!  This year’s series offers a number of fantastic, previously-run Brevets in the Olympia area, all starting and finishing at the La Quinta in Tumwater.  The 600k and 400k follow same couse as the 1000K, with the 600k going clockwise around the Olympic Penninsula (that includes Sekiu, the Elwha River and the Dungeness).  The 400K goes to Kelso, Glenoma, and Kapowsin. The 200k and 300k primarily in Olympia and Centralia area, that are previously-run Brevets by Paul Johnson in 2011. Overnight for the 600k and 1000k is in Port Angeles  (and 2nd overnight for 1000k in Kelso) so be ready to be self-sufficient!  Hotel reservations are also on your own and there is no drop bag support.

Note: all of the brevets are self-supported. We will send you off with your control card and cue sheet, the rest is up to you!

Please register early and sign up for each individual Brevet you are interested.

Saturday May 6 600k and 1000k:
Tuesday May 9 300k:
Wednesday May 10 400K:
Sunday May 14 200K:

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Pre Ride for 200/300K on April 15,2017

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.

The 200:

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.

The 300:

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:

See you Saturday morning at Bertolino’s.


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Permanent Change: The Arboretum Trail

by Bill Gobie

1801 Club Car Populaire

2596 Luck O’ the Drawbridges

The first portion of the UW Arboretum Trail opened in the last week of March. The trail parallels Lake Washington Blvd from E Madison St to Arboretum Drive. The two permanents listed above have been moved onto the trail. Southbound in particular, the trail allows riders to avoid the steep climb to E Madison St on Lake Washington Blvd. This location often carries heavy car traffic.

Currently the south end of the trail near E Madison St is not safely connected to Madison or Lake Washington Blvd. The maps below illustrate ways to access the trail. (Note the trail is not mapped yet in Google Maps.)

Accessing the trail when northbound on Lake Washington Blvd is relatively easy. Immediately after crossing E Madison St take the “soft right” onto 31st Ave E. Then turn left onto the trail. Be cautious of cars making the free right from Madison.

Southbound is a little more complicated. Turning left from 31st Ave E onto Lake Washington Blvd is difficult because of the free right from Madison and often heavy traffic on Lake Washington Blvd. The following method has been tested and works well:

From the trail cross 31st Ave E and go left through the gas station. Go to the farthest driveway. Turn right on E Madison St. To go south on Lake Washington Blvd immediately get into the left turn lane.

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Olympia 200K – March 25, 2017 – Pre-ride Report

“On three, we’re going to stand, right foot first. One. Two. Three!” Corey and I (Theo) stood up and pedaled in synch, making short work of the hill. It was my first time as stoker (riding on the back seat) of a tandem, but my second time on the Top Rung 200K course. Most of the climbing is in the first half of the route, so don’t get discouraged if you’re going up slowly, or figuring out how to share a bike! There’s still the second half to make up time.

For the first several hours of our pre-ride, it rained heavily. We felt for our friends riding the Spring 200K brevet in the Snoqualmie Valley. They had the same rain forecast for the entire day. In Yelm, we stopped to eat… and ring out our socks. I bought a pair of dish gloves in a desperate bid for dry hands (they worked).

After our break, we resumed the rolling hills and lovely back roads past Harts Lake and Lake Lawrence. Corey captained the tandem around each turn with confidence and experience, but it’s a strange feeling to give up control and not steer the bike! As a few experienced stokers had suggested, I tried closing my eyes on the descents. But that was too much! It felt better to see the road ahead, trusting Corey’s skill, than to keep my eyes shut. And if you close your eyes, you’ll miss out on the natural beauty of this part of the ride.

We kept up a steady conversation, slowing our words only to pedal harder up the hills. The rain lightened up as we checked out the first three info controls and the sun started to come out. I hoped that the morning’s rain was enough to appease the fates and ensure good weather for brevet-day riders!

From Tenino to the course’s only timed control, in Oakville, navigation is fairly simple: Highway 12 to 183rd, back to Highway 12. It’s not my favorite set of roads in the area, but the shoulder is decent and navigation is easy. To be honest, I tuned out quite a bit of this stretch, looking down at my feet and watching the cranks turn. Corey attended to the road, and took the brunt of our headwind. I enjoyed my simple role as motor and turn signal!

The End of the Trail Shell station has plenty of snacking options, so don’t worry if you’re running low on fuel for the final 50k of the ride. Load up here and you’ll be fine. From the gas station, it’s only a short return on Highway 12 before getting onto more appealing roads: Moon, Mima Gate and Mima. Even their names are appealing! Down to the right of these winding roads, the Black River and Mima Creek overflowed their banks, swollen with heavy spring rain. The tiny trees of Weyerhaeuser’s Mima Nursery looked like a vast, green shag carpet as we rolled by. We passed by the famous Mima mounds. With the wind now mostly at our back, we sped along, making up time.

As we passed the failed logging town of Bordeaux, the sun began to descend towards Capitol State Forest in the west. Then we rode through Little Rock, where the post office and taco truck are the same size. It’s a straight shot from Little Rock to Tumwater. But the route’s zig-zags through Olympia will have you carefully watching your cue sheet all the way to the Woodland Trail. There, be sure to cross two bridges to get past I-5, but not the third bridge over Martin way. And take care when merging across Martin to the protected left turn lane. If traffic is heavy, you can skip the merge and stay right all the way to the intersection, using the crosswalks to get on Sleater Kinney Road. Shortly thereafter, Britton Parkway throws in a few more hills because you’ve got to earn those Top Rung beers at the finish!

This is a fun ride and last year’s edition saw a number of personal record finish times. If you, like many of us, have spent much of the winter off the bike, this route is a great opportunity to get riding again. It’s just hard enough to make you sore, but not so tough that you should doubt your ability to finish.

Please pre-register online. It helps the organizers a lot!

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Permanent Change: Portland

by Bill Gobie

[This is a new series of posts called Permanent Change which will describe significant changes to a permanent route. The first post in the series is about the popular, and reversible, route connecting Seattle, Olympia and Portland.]

0918 Seattle to Portland (reversible)

1124 Olympia to Portland (reversible)

The new route in Portland finishes near many places to control, eat and drink.

These permanent routes recently received a makeover at the Portland end. Susan Otcenas pointed out the old routes had several drawbacks: The numerous railroad crossings on NW Front Ave, and the unappealing atmosphere and lack of services at the terminus, Union Station (Amtrak). Susan suggested moving the terminus to somewhere in the Pearl District.

Portland’s Pearl District is infested with trolley tracks and confounded by one-way streets, making bicycle routing challenging, particularly remotely from Seattle! With input from Theo Roffe, the terminus has been moved to the Safeway at NW Lovejoy St & NW 13th Ave. Within one block of the Safeway there are several coffee shops, restaurants, and a brewpub, providing choices for riders wishing to take advantage of the open control. The Amtrak station is an easy 0.8 km from the Safeway on trolley-free streets. The route sheets are supplemented with directions to the station.

Also with Theo’s advice, a route to Highway 30 was laid out that avoids streets with parallel trolley tracks.

James Walsh rode revised the Portland to Olympia route in January 2017 and pronounced it great!
Theo rode the Seattle to Portland route in February 2017, so both directions have been checked.

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Spring 200K – March 18, 2017

The 2017 Seattle Spring 200k is Saturday, March 18, starting at 07:00 am.

This is an early season ride starting at the Northshore Athletic Fields in Woodinville (14735 NE 145th St) and wandering around Lake Sammamish and Carnation before finishing up at the Redhook Brewery (14300 NE 145th St).

We ride south on the Sammamish river trail, down the east side of Lake Sammamish before climbing to the Issaquah Highlands. After a quick decent into the valley we go right by Sandy’s in Carnation on our way to Snohomish. From there we head north on the Centennial trail to the Bryant store, our northern most point. On the way back we go back through Snohomish before climbing Broadway on our way back to Woodinville and the finish at the Redhook Brewery.

Pre-registration and additional details on the SIR website.

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