400 kilometers is a long ways, and you can see a lot. This ride will keep you interested as it hits many highlights on local roads. With 12,500 ft of climbing, this 400K has a little more elevation per mile than PBP, but the sawtooth profile is similar with endless short climbs and descents.
Parking is pretty restricted in Mukilteo- most on-street parking is at most 4hrs with no parking 2-4am. Nobody wants to find their car towed after finishing the ride. Be sure to allow time to find parking and ride down to the ferry.
By far the most convenient parking is at the pay lot across the street from Silver Cloud Hotel. There are plenty of spots and it’s a couple minutes from the ferry. It’s not cheap at $28 for 24 hours. If you’re staying at the Silver Cloud, parking there will be just as easy- check with the hotel. I did see on-street parking 4 miles up the hill by the YMCA (10601 47th Pl W, Mukilteo, WA 98275).
We’ll check riders in beginning 05:15am at the Mukilteo ferry terminal, after the toll booth. Get your brevet card from a volunteer and get a sticker from another volunteer after passing the safety check (front and rear lights, reflective vest and ankle bands).
The ferry leaves at 06:00am. Once we arrive at Clinton, ride up the hill 1 kilometer to the P&R on the left at Deer Lake Rd behind the Post Office. We’ll finish checking in riders there, and start shortly afterwards for a 0630± start. The start will be open for an hour, in case you miss the 06:00 ferry.
We’ll start out on the leg- tenderizing hills of Whidbey Island with many water views. The Deception Pass bridge marks a change to the quiet roads of Swinomish Island to La Conner. It’s too early for the tulips on the Skagit Flats but there may be tailwinds to push you towards Chuckanut Drive on the way to Bellingham, the northern- most point of the route.
Riding south along Lake Whatcom on our way past Sedro Wooley, we’ll turn on to S Skagit Hwy for an 80K out-and-back to Concrete (wave to your fellow randonneurs going the other way!). We make our way to the Nakashima Barn and the Centennial Trail. Note: the gate at the Nakashima trailhead will be closed when most riders get there- you will need to go around it to access the trail. Exit the Centennial Trail on 60th St NE, 17km after the penultimate control in Arlington. The route through Ebey Slough beginning at km 388 can be confusing for riders who have not ridden it before- see this post for additional information. There’s one more hill on E Mukilteo Blvd before the finish at the Silver Cloud Hotel near the waterfront in Mukilteo.
The route passes through many towns, and finding food should not be a problem. The last two controls at Concrete (278K) and Arlington (359K) are 24hr convenience stores.