Monthly Archives: May 2016

Preride Notes For Spring 2016 600 km

Pre-Pre-riders Rick, Peg, and Noel

This is not a flat ride – 14,000 feet of climbing, the bulk in the second day. It is a beautiful ride and ranges from bucolic roads through farms in the Chehalis River Valley to views of The Toutle River and the implied natural destruction of St. Helen’s.

We Start and end at La Quinta Motel – very modern and reach by going north on Capitol via the Trosper Exit from I-5. Motel on right as you go north from Trosper.

At 17.1 miles is a turn onto 185th. The main route is Marble so don’t stay on into the trailer park on 185th. We climb on two roads with Hill in the name.

Vader control is actually at Mt. St. Helens Grocery – Peggy had to call on her Social Work skills to wake up the old fellow tending store – He didn’t seem like the weekend guy but, if he’s there, remind him of his stamp so he doesn’t have to try and sign your card.

Pre-rider getting a break Bright green Thompson rando bike

Eric made a cue sheet remark about chip seal ending before Winlock – there is some on the route but it has either mellowed or been replaced with smoother asphalt.

We come out to Raymond to the south of all the usual spots to eat (Dairy Queen and downtown) but the grocery and Subway/MacDonald’s are on our route going toward South Bend. Sadly, it looked like the Bowling Alley was gone in SB?

Caution on the shoulderless roads before Willapa Bay – hopefully the RVs will have gone to ground and the logging trucks that we saw in abundance will take the holiday weekend.

The distance between Long Beach and Kelso is only 80 some miles but very lonely and serviceless – your last water is in Long Beach. A smart organizer would have a secret control along there. This is where my low training miles for the year were evidenced and I lost valuable time.

I have moved the overnight control to the Econo Lodge mainly for lower cost and that I had reserved months before the Memorial Day weekend – this puts you back and forth over a bridge on a busyish road – if you’re as fast as me there won’t even be drunks out by then. There will be beds and some breakfast and dinner selections – simple because no kitchen.

Eggs on toast for breakfast

I don’t think this breakfast is to be expected in Kelso… – Editor

US -12 is a way to get to Morton, wide shoulder and busy on a weekday. The Morton Country Market is a grocery store that affords a quick in and out and has a covered area right of the front door to hide bikes out of the weather.

The Alpha road is my favorite, certainly a few steep parts, but rolling in a way that you can play at keeping momentum and fly along. This is the dessert of the ride!

Coming out from Centralia on 507 seems long and the turn in Bucoda onto Wichman now has double yellow striping so crossing to the sidewalk on the west or going around the turn and picking a clear view is advised.

Keep moving on the first day – you may need the time in the bank for the hilly bits later.

Additional details on the SIR website.

Please pre-register by Thursday night (5/26).

5/28 – 5/29/2016 Start 6:00 AM
Bike inspection begins 5:30: lights, extra batteries and vest/sash and leg bands.

Note: bring a towel and change of clothes for the finish – the drive home will be better!

There will be parking updates to this post soon.

CUE SHEET: Now available on Google Drive, click here.

Route on RWGPS:

TCX file is available here.

Parking: We have permission to park at the Tumwater school district building at 621 Linwood Ave SW, Tumwater, WA 98512.

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Sinlahekin 1000 km Brevet

Wildflowers & old farm equipment.

Conconully Rd


1004. km; 10,500 m climbing
Seattle International Randonneurs
August 11, 2016
Organizer: Bill Gobie
RwGPS with controls, times, & resupply points: (Revised 5/30)
Route sheet (Google Sheets):

Expression of interest requested: If you are interested in riding this brevet please email the above address. Registering for the ride at this time is not required. A preliminary count of riders will help me reserve rooms.

I once remarked to a fellow rider on a tour, “Randonneuring is easy.” We were discussing route finding. On a self-designed tour you can never be certain the lesser roads are as mapped. On a brevet riders are assured the designer has verified the course is passable. One road I intended to put in this course, which the maps implied was a good secondary road, dwindled into a narrow Forest Service road with deep streams running across it. The portion I could drive passed through some beautiful country. Perhaps that road will appear in a future route. But not this year.

Water running across road with X.

Not this road.

The Sinlahekin 1000 makes a large loop from Monroe to Republic, traversing mountains with alpine climbing and descending, the dense wet forests of the western Cascade slope, the dry open forests and scrubland of the east slope and Eastern Washington, and a portion of the Washington Scablands. Grand Coulee Dam, the Columbia River, Lakes Wenatchee, Chelan, Diablo, and Ross are notable sights visited along the route.

This will be a minimally-supported brevet. Drop bags will be transported to the overnight controls. Registration includes accommodations at the overnight stops at the rando standard 2 riders per bed. Some food will be provided if riders are projected to arrive after nearby restaurants close. Riders are responsible for their own accommodations at the start/finish.

Some of Washington State’s prettiest country is only accessible from gravel roads. Beginning at kilometer 596 south of the village of Loomis, the road through the Sinlahekin Valley to Conconully is such a road. I chose to name the ride after this valley due to its remoteness and beauty. With 25 km of gravel, or 2.5% of the route, Sinlahekin Road should not present an enormous challenge. The photo below provides a small sample of its scenic appeal. I was relieved to see last year’s terrible wildfires did little damage to the valley. While you will pass through one burned-out area of dead trees, most of the valley was either untouched or the trees were singed yet not killed, such as the tree in this photo.

Tree and road.

Sinlahekin Valley near Blue Lake

The road surface varies from excellent hardpack to average gravel with moderate washboarding. I encountered one 50 yard patch of soft sand. Apart from the sand this road should be ridable on any road bike. Wider tires will improve your experience, of course.

At the south end of the Sinlahekin Valley the road climbs to Conconully Lake and the small resort town of Conconully. Most riders should pass through the Sinlahekin-Conconully area in the afternoon or evening of the second day.


Lake Conconully

What of the other 975 km? The route starts in Monroe and heads east over Stevens Pass on WA-2 or side roads where possible. Reiter Rd before Index gives an early taste of the forested roads ahead. The route climbs the pass on the Old Cascade Highway, impassible to cars, across the valley from noisy WA-2. Descending the east side of the pass the route leaves WA-2 for a glimpse of Lake Wenatchee, then descends on the Chumstick Highway. I could nudge the route into ersatz-Bayern Leavenworth if enough people express a desire for beer and brats. The route completes the descent to the Columbia River on side roads as much as possible.

The route runs upriver along the Columbia, taking a side trip over Navarre Coulee to Lake Chelan. The route returns to the river until Bridgeport, where it climbs over a large hump and finally descends to the first overnight at Electric City in the shadow of Grand Coulee Dam. With a little luck tailwinds will propel you through this section.

The second day opens with a stiff climb out of Electric City to views of Lake Roosevelt from Manilla Creek Road. Following a quick descent the road runs north climbing at river grade through open forest along the Sanpoil River to Republic. From Republic you turn west, climbing to Wauconda Pass. Forty-five kilometers of descending later you arrive in Tonasket. The final descent into Tonasket will make you glad I ran the route counterclockwise. After riding north a few miles you turn west to the Sinlahekin Valley.

After the Sinlahekin the taverns in Conconully may beckon but you must press on to refuel in Okanogan for the push over Loup Loup Pass. The east side of Loup Loup irritates with an 80 m drop forcing you to re-climb those 80 m. Crest the summit, then hang on the for the descent and you will reach the second overnight which will likely be in Winthrop.

The final day you can warm up gently, cruising through the lovely Methow Valley. However, you must summit Washington Pass, the highest on the route. With only a little luck the weather in August will be splendid and the scenery will distract you from the steepness of the final two miles. But wait! There’s more! The North Cascades challenge you with a final 100 m climb over Rainy Pass before rewarding you with the 60 km descent to Newhalem.

From Newhalem the route works west and south, climbing a bit to Darrington before descending to Arlington. En route it passes the site of the tragic landslide in Oso, where the road has been rebuilt through the landslide debris. In Arlington you pick up the Centennial Trail for 33 low-stress kilometers to Snohomish. Twelve unremarkable kilometers later you arrive at the finish, back in Monroe.


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400K brevet – 5/14 Le Tour d’Hood Canal

by Joe Llona


Pre-riders: Jan Acuff, Joe Llona, Rose Pantley, Greg Cox, Albert Meersceidt, and Anita Schiltz

First, the pre-ride team must apologize to all of you good people. Apparently we were overly gluttonous with the good weather and used it all up. We were so bad that we even ran out of good weather before we finished and wound up riding in the rain the last couple of dozen miles as we finished after dawn on Sunday morning.

I  want to be clear about something: this is not an easy ride. It took a fairly strong pre-ride team nearly (or in two cases, over) 23 hours to finish. Now pre-riding has its own logistical issues and maybe a couple of hours could have been shaved off that. But it would not have been enough to catch the last ferry out of Bremerton Saturday night. Besides the difficult course this ride has some difficult logistics, such as parking in Seattle for more than 24 hours and ferry timing.

Parking – I strongly suggest you figure that out now and not Saturday morning. I must admit that even though I work in downtown Seattle I know little about parking there as it is something I find easier to just avoid altogether. Here are some suggestions you might research for parking options:

I would suggest finding a spot on the outskirts of Seattle and riding a mile or two into the ferry.

Ferries – The last ferry for Seattle leaves at 11:40 pm (not 12:50 am as I incorrectly reported on the website). Few of you will make that. The first sailing out is 6:20 am Sunday morning. Some of you will arrive in Bremerton during that gap, but many of you will still be riding when the ferries start running again. For those of you fortunate enough to get in during the ferry gap we will have two rooms available at the Fairfield Inn. This will be a rack and roll flophouse operation though, so if you feel you want some more privacy or want to sleep in I would encourage you to make your own arrangements.

Dropbags – We will be able to take small dropbags. We will not pick them up until you get off of the ferry in Bremerton though, so they have to be something you can ride onto and off of the ferry with. Think toothbrush and a change of clothes. Toothpaste and deodorant too if you insist. Post-ride, the dropbags will be available at the Fairfield Inn only.

Ok, so with the course difficulty and the logistical issues, why do you want to do this ride anyway? Well because you love to ride your bike of course, and this gives you the opportunity to do it for a very long time. Oh yeah, and there’s a definite WOW factor for some of this course. I’ve ridden the Tahuya hills many times, but it’s usually towards the end of an otherwise challenging ride and occasionally in the dark. On this ride you get a whole new perspective on this area because you’ll still have fresh legs and it’s a definite eye pleaser.

Pre-riders Take In The View

A rare bit of flat road, says Jan Acuff

You’ll start at Bremerton, but instead of rolling past the shipyard you’ll go east across the Manette Bridge. Do take note of the grade of this bridge as you descend across Dyes Inlet. After some rollers you get to Silverdale where you’ll have to take a detour off of Bucklin Hill Road due to a bridge reconstruction project. This will be noted in the final versions of the cuesheet and RWGPS file.

After Silverdale the real fun begins. First Anderson Hill with what looks and feels like a wall. After Anderson Hill is Seabeck where your first control (info) will be. Make sure you replenish your water in Seabeck because you’ll be climbing up Seabeck Holly Road shortly thereafter. After an exhilarating descent from Holly you’ll be turning up Dewatto Road and into the Tahuya Hills.

After you descend from the Tahuya Hills you’ll get to the second control at Kay’s Corner. There you will be able to water up before heading to Belfair. As you get nearer to Belfair you’ll start encountering some denser traffic and probably some impatient motorists, so please be careful. After Belfair you’ll head south on SR 300 where some road construction has made the shoulder of little use, so again please be careful. After a few miles you’ll turn onto SR 106 where for a while you’ll still be encountering heavy and sometimes impatient traffic. This seems to calm down by the time you get to Twanoh State Park, where you can find restrooms and water. The shoulder on 106 is on again off again, with a few places where there are some pretty bad cracks. There’s also a lot of parking on 106 so watch out for residents and car doors.

When you get to US 101 you’ll turn north to Hoodsport. There are services along the way. Please make sure you have full water bottles for the Climb to Lake Cushman. At Hoodsport you turn up to Lake Cushman. This is the biggest climb of the ride. The first two miles of the climb are fairly steep running at over 6% but then it transitions to 1% to 3% with some rollers for the remainder. As in last year’s 400 at Baker Lake, we could not find a suitable location to station the third control at the far turnaround point, so that will be turned into an info control with support (snacks and beverages) available about 3 miles after the turn-around point. After this you will descend back to Hoodsport among some more impatient motorists and then continue north on US 101 over Walker Pass. Like the climb to Lake Cushman, Walker Pass starts out steep at about 6% the first 1.5 miles and then tapers off to more like 3% for the remainder.

Pre-riders at Lake Cushman

Lake Cushman. This beautiful spot will be the lunch/control location. Photo by Anita Schlitz

Another view of Lake Cushman. Photo by Jan Acuff

Another view of Lake Cushman. Photo by Jan Acuff

After descending Walker Pass you’ll go through Quilcene. Peninsula Food Market on the left and a couple of cafes on the right. Here you turn onto Center Road to the right for another climb up to Dabob Road. More climbing and rollers bring you to Coyle. Make sure you don’t miss the left turn onto Hazel Point Road. It’s easy to miss as you bomb down the descent towards Coyle, especially in the dark. Your fourth (and final staffed) control will be here to provision you with hot soup, and other snacks and beverages at the Laurel B. Johnson Community Center.

The Laurel B. Johnson Community Center fills several roles in the community, one of which is a food bank, which is utilized by a surprising number of the local residents. You’ll still have a lot of climbing ahead of you so you might want to lighten your wallet a bit at the collection jar we’ll have set up there.

With your wallet a bit lightened and your belly filled you’ll climb back out of Coyle and backtrack your route a way before turning onto Thorndyke Road which will take you to SR 104, then to SR 19 and into Port Townsend. The final control is at the Safeway on your left at the bottom of a big hill. Not much happening there, but at least it’s open, there are restrooms and groceries, but nothing hot at this hour.

Backtracking again from Port Townsend you’ll turn off of SR 19 onto Irondale, SR 116, Oak Bay Rd, and Paradise Bay Road. Please be careful on the final descent of Paradise Bay Road before SR 104. There are two sets of rather aggressive stop sign warning rumble strips that could cause you to lose control of your bicycle.

Also, please be careful crossing the Hood Canal Bridge. Stay to the right of the shoulder as you approach the metal grating sections as that’s where the solid plating is located. Watch for debris – glass, garbage, and usually enough car parts to get a complete build.

After the Hood Canal Bridge you go right onto SR 3 for Poulsbo. Then SR 308 and onto Brownsville Hwy NE. After a few miles on Brownsville Hwy you’ll turn onto Illahee Rd NE. The signage here is misleading (at least it is for me as I repeated the same mistake I made in 2013 on this course). Illahee Road is the second left as you roll into Brownsville. Don’t take the first left down into the Marina.

Following Illahee Road you’ll go south towards Bremerton. You’ll still two pretty good climbs ahead of you, particularly the one just before Illahee Road becomes Trenton Road. As you get into Bremerton you’ll be feeling that you’ve done that last climb, but remember that descent on the Manette Bridge right after you started?

This post wouldn’t be complete without a big Thank You to the pre-riders: Albert Meersceidt, Anita Schiltz, Jan Acuff, Rose Pantley, and Greg Cox.

Start:  May 14th at 7:15am Bremerton Starbucks at the ferry terminal. (Catch the 6am ferry from Seattle and finalize registration on board. We will also have registration at the Starbucks at the Bremerton ferry terminal. Note the control closes at 8:15am.)

Finish: Frairfield Inn & Suites 239 4th St. Bremerton

Register here:

Full ride details here:

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