Mark Thomas, Jan Acuff and John Nguyen pre-rode the Brevet Week 400k. Here is their report of the ride:
Starting in Redmond again, the 400k takes a standard route to Snohomish via Paradise Lake Road (with its one deadly little stinger of a hill) and Broadway. The route then follows the river towards Everett before veering north to Marysville. At 59km in Marysville, the pre-riders stopped at a Starbucks (there is also a convenience store) to fuel up for the sturdy climb to Lakes Ki and Goodwin.
With a Marysville stop, we headed straight through Stanwood and then over the bridge to Camano. Although busy and annoying, the bridge has a decent shoulder and should be fine. We definitely encountered some ups and downs on the north and west sides of Camano Island before refueling again at the Elger Bay store (123km).
There may be nice views as you head up the east side of Camano and than back over to Stanwood. The 55 kilometer or so stretch from Stanwood to the base of Chuckanut is the flattest part of the ride. We stopped for convenience store sustenance at the Whitney control at 178km partway through this stretch. Chuckanut Drive is terrific and a couple of the overlooks on the left would be worth a picture stop.
We had pizza (and maybe a beer) at the Fairhaven control a bit past halfway (212km). In addition to the pizza place, there is a grocery store just beyond and then a few more restaurants past that.
The upcoming climb from Fairhaven to Lake Padden and beyond is a leg buster with occasional double digit grades. We sort of knew it was coming, but it was a doozy nonetheless. A bit of an inconsistent descent took us to Lake Whatcom. Plenty of nice scenery along the Lake, but unfortunately, this was, for us, the busiest section of the ride for traffic. Once we left the lake, it was pretty quiet to Sedro-Woolley. (Note that the 600k takes a bit of an alternate route to Sedro-Wooley, featuring Lake Samish instead of Lake Whatcom, but not depriving its riders of the nasty climb out of Fairhaven).
Services are available in Sedro-Woolley after about 55km of nothing from Fairhaven, but with only another 18km to Mount Vernon, we opted not to stop. The route goes west on Cook and south on Gardner instead of following WA-20 from Sedro-Woolley to Burlington. When the route reaches 20, cross over to the other side and use the trail, which is paved to about a block before the turn south through Burlington. To cross the Skagit River, the route goes under the bridge and then up the ramp onto the bridge over the river. On the other side, there are a few blocks of fairly convoluted routing that kept us from having to cross lanes of traffic to make left turns and otherwise avoid the worst of the traffic.
We stopped at the McDonalds/convenience store across the street from the control in Mount Vernon. I believe that they are both open 24 hours. If you expect to be there late (reference control closure is about 1:30am), you might want to call ahead and confirm the hours. From the control, bike lanes and then nice quiet roads brought us to Conway. It may not be the absolute flattest way out of Mount Vernon, but it’s pretty nice. It got dark for us in that stretch.
After Conway, the second to last significant climb goes up to Lake McMurray and shortly thereafter, we found ourselves on the Centennial Trail for about a 50km jaunt to Snohomish. If needed, services can be found about a block west of the trail in Arlington at a 7-11 visible from the route. We didn’t stop there and indeed pushed on to the finish without any further refuel stops (about 110km from Mount Vernon to finish). Additional services are available in Snohomish before the final climb up Springhetti and Broadway to Matlby. A quick downhill into Woodinville and trail riding back to Marymoor make for a quick(ish) last bit.