2022 Spring 600 km Brevet Pre-ride Report

Hood Canal

Pre-DNF’r: Bill Gobie

This is undoubtedly one of SIR’s most scenic routes. Even with the weekend’s damp forecast this should be a very enjoyable ride.

Susan Otcenas generously shared her Cascade 1400 pre-pre-ride intelligence, specifically regarding hazards.

The most dangerous spot on the course is at 327.9 km / 203.8 mi where you will find the Danger cue: “STOP FOR STOP SIGN.” This is on a downhill 7 miles from the overnight in Forks. The entire right side of the road is washed out. The washout is surrounded by concrete barricades. At night the glare from the stop sign may prevent you from seeing beyond the stop sign. If you blow past the stop sign you will crash headlong into the concrete barricade. Stop and orient yourself before proceeding!

The gravel portions of the route are in terrific shape. The surfaces are very hard with generally little loose gravel. They resemble rough pavement with a few potholes. The steep climbs on North Shore road may be slippery with the weekend’s rain, but they are short and quick to walk. I have never seen Cougar-Smith Road in such good shape. The large potholes that frequently lurk in the shade after the bridge at the beginning of the gravel section are filled. It is a good idea to slow down for the bridge regardless since the tall joints on the bridge could pinch-flat your tires.

Please familiarize yourself with the parking directions if you are joining the ride via the Fauntleroy (West Seattle) ferry. https://blog.seattlerando.org/?p=2100

The prehistoric glaciers that carved Pugetlandia’s topography did cyclists no favors, nor did the road engineers who built strait up and over every ridge. Don’t expect to make good time on the initial leg to Belfair. The first timed control is 340 km away in Forks, plenty of distance to build up time in the bank. At the left turn onto WA-3 before Belfair please wait for a safe break in traffic on highway 3.

After Belfair your speed should pick up as you roll along on WA-108 beside the Hood Canal. If the Canal’s cold saltwater makes you chilly, you should find relief on the stiff climb up Dalby and McCready Roads past the first info control at a gas station. After another climb on US-101 we turn west on rolling relatively flat roads past the Dayton store (no restroom) and onward to another info control at the Matlock store (good restroom).

From Matlock the roads undulate downwards through beautiful forest, finishing with a screaming descent to the bridge before the gravel section of Cougar-Smith Rd. Take it easy on the bridge. I can confirm Cougar-Smith’s climbing remains steep.

A road not taken along Cougar-Smith

After Cougar-Smith Rd we generally descend through Aberdeen Gardens and climb only slightly to Humptulips at 167 km. Gentle climbing continues until the route tips into the Quinault Valley and you zoom to the small resort settlement. For resupply skip the Chevron station, it has almost nothing. The Quinault Mercantile store is open although its restaurant is not. Slightly ahead the Rainforest Resort store is also open but with less selection.

The route continues up the Quinault Valley on South Shore Road. I believe this is the first time we have run a ride up the valley. This is one of the prettiest portions of the route in my opinion. After passing through open farm and pastureland you will cycle into dense forest where the ferns and moss suggest old growth. The trees are too small, however. The easy terrain probably allowed logging the original forest long ago. Nevertheless the regrown forest is marvelously lush. Watch and listen for Merriman Falls on the right.

Both my Wahoo and phone gps lost navigation lock in the narrow valley under the dense trees. If yours does too, carry on anyway. There is only one bridge across the Quinault River, and one road out on the other side. You will find them. From the bridge you can gaze upriver into the interior of the Olympic National Park.

Quinault River Bridge

North Shore Road feels more wild than South Shore. It is narrower and considerably steeper in places. Take care if the forecast rain makes it slippery.

North Shore Grocery at the intersection with US-101 is an important resupply point: It is the last supply for the remaining 100 km to Forks. The store closes at 10 PM. This is roughly the same time a person riding at the minimum pace would arrive, so it behooves you to beat this time. This is a good location to don your night riding gear if sunset is at hand.

Turning north on US-101, the shoulders are often poor or nonexistent. You should ensure you are highly visible for this portion.

At 266 km the route turns onto Clearwater Rd, becoming Hoh Mainline Rd. After passing through the bucolic hamlet of Clearwater, where you may sight elk in the fields, the road begins a relentless climb punctuated by small descents. There are four patches of gravel, 20-50 yards long, along here. They are noted in the cues. They may be difficult to see in the dark. After passing the brightly lit Olympic Corrections Center (don’t stop!) you will crest a second summit on Hoh Mainline and then speedily descend to US-101.

After crossing the Hoh River you have to climb out of its valley until cresting at about 324 km. On the descent beware of the dangerous barricade at the washout at 328 km. Finally some minor climbing that felt Everest-like will bring you to Forks and the overnight. Be sure to check in at the Forks Motel control even if you are not staying there. Fast riders may want to continue to the First Beach control, then return to their lodging in Forks for the night.

For many people the second day will begin with the plunge to sea level at scenic First Beach. From there the longest climb on the route takes you to the rim above Crescent Lake. Along the way the route turns onto a relatively new portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail at Mary Clark Rd. This quiet road and trail winding through dense forest also is one of the route’s gems.

Olympic Discovery Trail

The trail crosses US-101 and twists upward and then down through more forest on its way to the junction with the Spruce Railroad Trail. A long, easy descent ensues to the shore of scenic Lake Crescent.

The sojourn along Lake Crescent ends too soon and you have to climb a low pass over to Joyce, where a meal at the Blackberry Cafe is highly recommended.

After a run along WA-112 the route turns off to cross the Elwha River on a unique cycle bridge slung underneath the road bridge. Do not miss the turnoff for the bridge! The Olympic Discovery Trail resumes and you follow it into Port Angeles.

Once through Port Angeles, where there are numerous resupply and dining options, you leave town alongside salt water on the Olympic Discovery Trail, where you may get hit with salt spray if the weather is rough.

Next comes — can you guess — another climb, albeit short. The route gets on US-101 to avoid a hazardous, slippery portion of the ODT. A “Landmark” cue alerts you to the impending poorly signed left turn onto Old Olympic Highway. Avoiding construction on the ODT, we continue on roads all the way into Sequim, where there is a Safeway and numerous fast food options.

Once out of Sequim the route takes the ODT through Sequim Bay State Park, past Blyn, and almost all the way to Discovery Bay. For many riders this will be the first time on the very new portions of the ODT from Blyn to Discovery Bay.

There is little choice but to tolerate noisy, busy US-101 all the way to the Hood Canal Bridge. At least the shoulders are generally good. On the Hood Canal Bridge stay right on the solid panels on the grated bridge decks.

From the Hood Canal bridge turn left and pass through storybook-pretty Port Gamble. The Port Gamble General Store and Cafe is open until 6PM. Find it by turning left off-route where WA-104 makes a sharp right.

From there the route makes a beeline to the finish at the Quality Inn & Suites Bainbridge. To reach the ferry for Seattle continue south on Hildebrand Ln, continue on the walking path onto Erikson and finally turn left on Winslow Way E. The last ferry on Sunday sails at midnight.

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Parking for 2022 Spring 600k Brevet – Olympic Peninsula Spin

Historically this route has been based in Kingston or Bremerton. The only motel in Kingston burned down. The Seattle-Bremerton ferry is hobbled by crew shortages – with the reduced schedule the ride could not start before 9 AM, wasting almost four hours of daylight. Consequently this year the ride starts in Southworth and ends in Bainbridge. Starting in Southworth lets us begin at 6:15AM, almost an hour earlier than we used to start from other locations. Riders should spend less time in the dark reaching the overnight at Forks. All riders who finish in time will be able to catch a ferry from Bainbridge back to Seattle.

Separating the start and finish adds some logistical challenges. Recommended parking is at the West Seattle Park and Ride, aka Southwest Spokane St Park and Ride, under the west end of the West Seattle high bridge. Drop bags will be collected at the P&R. Riders will need to ride to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, about 3 miles away including a climb up Avalon Way. Upon returning to Seattle you will need to ride about four miles from the Seattle ferry terminal to the Park and Ride, including a climb up the West Seattle low bridge.

Driving to the Park and Ride is not complicated. Unfortunately, online mapping services may not get you to the Park and Ride. Google Maps does not know how to drive the final 200 yards to the P&R entrance.

Please follow these written directions

For everyone: The P&R is only accessible from westbound SW Spokane St!

Once you reach the 5-way intersection at the west end of the low bridge:

  • Get onto westbound Chelan Ave SW.
  • The street turns slightly right and becomes SW Spokane St.
  • Get in the left lane
  • Go under the sign for Admiral Way
  • As the street starts going uphill look for the P&R sign and entrance on the left

Here is a video of driving from the 5-way intersection to the Park & Ride. Note that most of you will enter the intersection from the low bridge, which is on the right at the beginning of the video.

If you do not need to cross the lower West Seattle bridge: Use Google for directions to the Chelan Cafe. Then proceed as described above.

If you are coming from I-5, I-90, WA-99, or Beacon Hill/SODO: You cannot rely on Google Maps to give you an efficient route. It does not dependably account for the low bridge’s unrestricted hours. The low bridge is open to all users Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 9PM to 8AM. Follow these directions:

  • From:
    • I-5 freeway take the exit for West Seattle Bridge. Driving southbound use exit 163A. Northbound take exit 163.
    • From 99 southbound take the exit for Harbor Island.
    • From Beacon Hill/SODO get on the West Seattle viaduct.
  • Once on the viaduct you will be forced down the exit for Harbor Island.
  • Proceed across the lower West Seattle Bridge
  • After the Port of Seattle Terminal 5 traffic light get in the middle lane
  • At the 5-way intersection make a wide left onto Chelan Ave SW and proceed as described above.

Bike routes

These are also linked on the 600k route.

From the Park & Ride to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39250052

After the ride from the Seattle ferry terminal to the Park & Ride: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39250201

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Brevet Electronic Proof of Passage Trial

SIR is going to offer a form of Electronic Proof of Passage (EPP) for this weekend’s Spring 200 km brevet. This is a trial of the system. Anyone is free to participate or to continue using a brevet card instead.

The EPP method we will use relies on checking a gps track against the control locations. This is the only form of EPP that will be accepted.

If you choose to participate, you must upload your ride track to Ride with GPS. Then provide the link to the track on a Google Form. The form will be linked on the ride page on the SIR site. The deadline for submitting your track will be 5:00 PM Sunday. We will not send reminders to provide your track.

Everyone will be provided a brevet card at the start. At the finish you may choose whether to hand it in or inform the control staff you will be submitting a ride track. Failure to submit a track, or submitting an unusable track, will result in a DNF equivalent to losing your brevet card. While we are trialing the system we will work with riders to fix problems. You may use both methods if you like.

The system has been tested by roughly ten riders on two events with no problems. Feedback and testing with tracks from a wider variety of gps devices should help us improve the system, and decide whether to offer brevet EPP in the future.

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Permanent Route Updates

Route 01234 Wayne’s Choice is reinstated with new routing on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail in place of the closed bridge on Fish Hatchery Rd.

Longing for warm dry weather? Try the new Death Valley routes (be careful what you wish for!). Both start in Furnace Creek 180 ft below sea level:

Closures

Middle Fork Rd is closed due to a slide. No other information is available at present.

The usual roads are flooded in the Duvall-Carnation-Fall City area. https://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/mycommute/

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Permanent Route Updates

Catching up on newly added & reactivated routes

Mitch Ishihara reactivated 02577 Sultan Sandy Coffee Run, 129 km. Many of us have already ridden this route as the 125-149 km Rouleur series route.

Geoff Swarts contributed three new routes:

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2022 February 5 Winter 200 km Pre-Ride Report

Pre-riders: Mitch Ishihara, John Nguyen

RUSA Brevet #2134 Redmond, Lakes, Falls, and Trails – features Peet’s Coffee, Granite Falls (multiple bakery, food, and coffee options), Postdoc Brewing Company

The route features low elevation (below 240 meters/790 feet) on rural roads. 

From the start in Redmond, make a gradual climb up to Echo Lake passing through a short gravel/dirt trail. Descend down to Tualco Valley and Monroe. Climb up rolling hills to Lake Chaplain. Follow it up with a rolling climb up to Lake Roesiger. Continue with a rolling descent down to Granite Falls with multiple food options (roughly the half-way point). Make a net descent across additional rolling hills out to Arlington. Take a short out and back to Bryant followed by the gradual railroad trail grades on the Centennial Trail to Snohomish. Make one more lumpy climb before finishing on the Sammamish River Trail back to Postdoc Brewing Company in Redmond. All of this packed in against a few scenic peeks of mountains in the distance.

The Route

Ride with GPS: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/22218260 

Plenty of lumpy rolling hills before gradual 1-2% railroad grades on the Centennial Trail and flat Sammamish River Trail.

Parking

There’s parking near the finish at Postdoc Brewing Company on NE 65th Street in Redmond.

And parking near the start at Peet’s Coffee at Lake Sammamish Trail Parking off of NE 70th Street in Redmond.

Start location @ Peet’s Coffee

We’ll gather in front of Peet’s Coffee.

Compact Gravel/Dirt Trail to Echo Lake

Entrance to trail – do not go through the arch on the left.

Fresh composting foliage covers the trail.

We removed the small fallen tree.

But that’s about all we would do…

Hello Mr. Ed

Oh deer!

Info Control – Echo Lake and Aspen Way

11.4 miles / 18.3 km

Monroe

23.2 miles / 36.5 km 

Water and restroom at Lewis Street Park on right. 7-11 on Main Street.

Lake Chaplain Service Road

During a temperature inversion, go higher to get out of the cold lowland fog!

Info Control – Lake Chaplain

34.9 miles / 56.1 km

Fog billows over mountain peaks

Our last glimpse of warm sunshine for the day

Back down into the fog

Info Control – Lake Roesiger Park

48.9 miles / 78.6 km

The fog cleared briefly as we climbed up to the park.

Lake Roesiger Store

50.0 miles / 80.4 km

Last services until Granite Falls.

Granite Falls

58.1 miles / 93.5 km – almost half-way!

The place formerly known as Hanky Pies

First course…

Second course…

Centennial Trail to Bryant

Info Control – Bryant

75.7 miles / 121.8 km

“Uhm. John, we’re going to need a new info control.” Talked to the friendly new owners.

Arlington

79.4 miles / 127.8 km

Legion Memorial Park

Water and Restrooms on right

Who’s idea was this to ride in the fog?🥶

Machias Station Park

96.3 miles / 155.0 km

Water and Restrooms (dusk to dawn)

…on Broadway

They say there’s always magic in the air

Finish – Postdoc Brewing Company

125.0 miles / 201 km

Hazy IPA for a hazy day!

Was bone chilling!

Your weather forecast

In Redmond

Epic Ride Weather

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2022 January 29 Rouleur 150-199 km Ride Report: Snohomish – La Conner Out & Back 159K

Advance scouting: Mitch Ishihara, John Nguyen, Andy Sapuntzakis, Kevin Smith

Pre-Riders: Mark Thomas, Jan Acuff

RUSA Brevet #2887 Snohomish – La Conner Out & Back – features Looking Glass Coffee (closed for remodel) outside Spada Farmhouse Brewery, La Conner (multiple bakery and coffee options), Spada Farmhouse Brewery

The route features low elevation (below 110 meters/360 feet), gradual railroad trail grades with flat farm pastures, on rural roads against a scenic backdrop of the Cascade foothills and maybe a peek of Mt. Baker.

From the start in Snohomish, make a gentle climb on the Centennial Trail until passing under the HWY 9 overpass. Descend down into Arlington for a restroom pit stop, coffee (off-route one block), or baked goods. Make another gradual climb past Lake McMurray before descending down HWY 534 to Conway. Meander across the flats out to La Conner, with a chance to see Bald Eagles perched in trees. Grab some baked goods (or breakfast/lunch) at La Conner (multiple options). Return back to Snohomish for a finish at Spada Farmhouse Brewery.

The Route

Ride with GPS: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38225344 

Long, gradual 1-2% railroad grades on the Centennial Trail itself and Skagit flats.

Start location @ Spada Farmhouse Brewery

We’ll try to gather in front, on the sidewalk/adjacent lot. There’s also an empty field of green grass across the street (Snohomish Farmers Market) in case we need a larger space.

Centennial Trail

Frequently featured in SIR routes and well-traveled, Centennial Trail provides a shared-use refuge for cyclists and pedestrians. Make note of the bollards though.

Arlington

Restrooms at Legion Memorial Park at around 22 miles / 36 km

The Lounge at Moe’s is off-route one block on Olympic Ave. Take West 5th Street from the Centennial Trail and turn right onto Olympic Ave.

Skagit Flats

Up in the trees and on power poles, you may see Bald Eagles.

Down low in the fields flocks of geese honk.

Out far across the Skagit flats, snow capped mountains hide behind clouds.

La Conner

48.9 miles / 78.7 km – about half-way there!

Wikipedia

Gilkey Square – La Conner Info Control

49.3 miles / 79.4 km at the end of Morris Street, you’ll arrive at Gilkey Square where the info control can be found. Mark read my mind on a reasonable landmark question. HINT: we won’t be asking you to find a yellow fire hydrant with numbers on it but the actual sign with the info control question will be nearby.

Soak in the view of the Swinomish Channel.

Refuel & Rest

After the info control, there are numerous options in La Conner to refuel, caffeinate, and grab a pint if you like.

Search on Google Maps: 

Highlighting a few…

North: 

  • The Scone Lady Bakery, 109 N 1st St, La Conner, WA 98257

South:

  • La Conner Coffee Company, 602 1st St, La Conner, WA 98257
  • Calico Cupboard Old Town Cafe, 720 1st St, La Conner, WA 98257

East: 

  • Public Restrooms, 302 Morris St, La Conner, WA 98257
  • NW Fuel Cafe, 313 Morris St #4, La Conner, WA 98257
  • Pioneer Market, 416 Morris St, La Conner, WA 98257
  • Stompin Grounds Coffee Co, 603 Morris St, La Conner, WA 98257

And back…

Kevin stashed and encouraged us to Lake McMurray with a hand pie on the return!

CAUTION: Arlington, Centennial Trail is on the sidewalk along 67th AVE NE against the flow of traffic. Automobiles cross trail from side streets. Take note of stop signs. Drivers may not see you.

Weather Forecast

For Snohomish

For La Conner

Epic Ride Weather

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Event Registration Changes

Beginning with the Winter 200K on Feb 5, we’ve made some changes to the event registration process to (hopefully) make it easier for people to register. These are listed below.


1. Email verification: This requirement has been dropped (yay!!), so people will no longer need to respond to the verification email from SmartWaiver. The waiver already includes the event name and date so riders will not need to add this information, but but you will need to include all other required information 

2. Riders need to initial the waiver to confirm that they understand its terms. 

waiverInitial.png

3. You will need to click the ‘Register Now’ button twice. The first click will open the waiver in a new window or tab (you may need to allow your browser to open popup windows).

registerNow.png

Once you have completed the waiver, close the tab containing the waiver and click the ‘Register Now’ button again to proceed with the registration process.

The ClubExpress platform used by the club and the SmartWaiver product required by RUSA don’t always play well together, but we’ve added some programmatic duct tape to make the process a little easier. If you have any questions or problems with your registration, please send an email to webm…@seattlerando.org. Include as much information as possible (screenshot, device, browser) to help us understand the situation.

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2022 January 22 Rouleur 125-149 km Pre-Ride Report

Pre-riders: Mitch Ishihara and John Nguyen

Distance: 130K (0.1 km gravel), 81 miles
[The finishing time of 8h 40m is based on the official distance of 130 km. Detours may make the actual route longer. You will still have to finish in 8h 40m.]

Elevation (max / accumulative): 173 m / 1090 m, 567 feet / 3576 feet

Brevet #: 2876 

Name: Sultan Bakery Sandy Coffee Sumerian Beer

Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38225020
[The route may be updated Thursday night/Friday morning depending on the status of flooded roads.]

Features: Sultan Bakery, Sandy’s Espresso, Sumerian Brewing Company

SIR Event Listing

There is a perpetually flooded road through a wetland. Detour required.

These people did not make it through.

Tualco Valley had barns and farm stubble.

There were water-over-roadway signs (but not closed).

Automobiles successfully crossed.

So did we. Too much fun.

Snow decorated the mountain backdrops.

Snow decorated the side of the road too… but melting.

We ate lunch at a bakery.

There were a enough tough hills.

More roads were closed. Detours required.

Rivers ran full.

Sandy’s Espresso was open.

We climbed up Tolt Hill Road above the flooded River Road.

There were nice views from up high.

We rode through a fancy neighborhood.

We saw blue skies and sunsets.

We drank beer.

Good times!

The weather forecast for January 22nd looks promising.

For Woodinville, WA

And for the route…

Aerial view of the route with some photos on Relive.

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January 15 Rouleur 100-125k Pre-Ride Report

Preriders: Bill Gobie and Bradley Hawkins

SIR Event Listing

There was a landslide.

There were flooded roads. Curiously there were more flooded roads the higher we went.

There was snow. The route is “low elevation (below 300 meters/1000 feet)” they said.

We had a good time.

Conditions should be much better on the 15th.

It will be fun!

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