On Sunday, March 6th, an intrepid crew of volunteers braved the rainy forecast to scout the course for the upcoming 200k brevet (March 12th). With Mitch in charge of managing the micro-climate around us, however, we had almost no rain and a few glorious helping of blue skies. Flats were a different story as Ricky and Andy were cursed by the flat gods. The cue sheet was in pretty good shape, but the eagle eyes of Andy, Ricky, and Mark caught a few “opportunities for improvement.” (The RideWithGPS route has been updated and a revised cue sheet will be published shortly). All in all, it was a lovely day on the bike with good friends on a really nice route. Some notes about the route follow.
By and large, the route was on low-traffic roads. A couple of places to watch out:
(1) 1.5 miles of Woodinville-Duvall road early in the ride have a good shoulder, but please be cautious making the left onto 222nd Way noting that the road ahead is coming around a curve.
(2) Airport Way into Snohomish at the beginning and out of Snohomish near the end can be busy and it has no shoulder. (They can’t make a trail out of the train tracks from Snohomish to Woodinville soon enough for me. Maybe in my lifetime.)
(3) A half-mile on Machias Road after leaving the Centennial Trail outbound was a bit unpleasant.
(4) A little bit of uphill on Broadway after Snohomish on the way home can be unpleasant, but then the route turns left onto Connelly for a very nice back-road alternative to climbing the rest of Broadway.
(5) Caution also is advisable on the last part of Yew Way and the crossing of WA-522 near the end of the ride.
The route has a pretty decent amount of climbing – about 6000 feet of elevation gain. The route has a few steep pitches but no sustained double digit grades. We may have happened on the climb-iest way to get to Granite Falls on pavement, but the nice climb rewards you with views of Lake Bosworth before descending down towards Pilchuck Creek before Granite Falls. Save some of your climbing mojo for the end – more than 20% of the elevation gain in the ride comes in the last 17 miles. I’d say the climbing is all quite manageable unless you have Bob and Dr. Doug goading you into sprinting up all the hills. But we took one for the team and brought them with us on the pre-ride, so the regular ride should be quite ok.
Please note that there is nearly a mile of the route that is not paved (at mile 9). Two thirds of that is hard packed gravel, but there is about a quarter of a mile of dirt horse track. It was muddy and pocked with puddles on the pre-ride, but rideable on road bikes without issue. Be prepared, however, to walk some of it, depending on conditions, next Saturday. It’s a single file ride for all but the most skilled (and trusting) of randos.
Some notes on services:
(1) Don’t know if bathrooms will be open at the start. You are welcome to use the facilities at the house and then come down to start. Public restrooms (and bakeries) are available in Snohomish at 22 miles.
(2) There is a store at the Machias Road / OK Mill Road intersection (28 miles) before the climb up to Lake Bosworth.
(3) Mark’s Country Store (the Granite Falls control at mile 38) has good food options, tables, and nice people.
(4) The Bryant store where the Centennial Trail crosses WA-9 (mile 54 and again at mile 79) has the usual convenience store fare and offers growler fills if you happen to bring some along and need to take some beer home. A Mocha Death from the brewery that makes Irish Death looked quite interesting. But we forgot our growlers.
(5) We will have a manned control at a fire station near Big Lake (mile 68) with snacks and lunch-y sort of food. Andy has worked his fireman’s magic to get us access to the bathroom in the firehouse.
(6) The control at the Lake Stevens Mini-Mart (mile 98) does not have public restrooms. You can find facilities right afterwards – where you turn right onto the trail, look left instead and there is a sani-can in the trailhead parking lot. (The Machias Station on the trail three miles later has nice bathrooms. They were open when we came through, but no guarantees.) Also, this is an “open control” so feel free to stop at one of the other restaurants or markets near the Lake Stevens control for food or supplies and ask them to mark your card.
(7) The route follows 2nd Street through Snohomish (mile 106) to pass by two convenience stores (on left – Shell and 7-11). If you’d rather have a sit-down dinner, feel free to go down 1st Street instead and have a burger and beer with the weekend revelers.
(8) Convenience stores are also available at mile 117 and 121 if you need that one last Red Bull to get it done.
We will have food and drink at the house after the ride. It’s 2 miles downhill from the house to the start – https://goo.gl/maps/zp4QqzuEiaJ2 – you are welcome to leave your car in the neighborhood in the morning or drop off a bag of clothes at the house in the morning if you’d like to change after the ride. Or you can turn in your card and ride down and bring car back at the end. But please plan to spend some time after the ride. Tales of the day’s triumphs and old faded glories will be freely traded. Along with big talk about plans for the year.
Click here to register now for the ride on March 12th, starting at 7:30 AM. This will save you time at the start and helps the organizers stay organized.