Sunday, January 12, 2014

Snoquamie Valley Storm (2014-01-11)

A ride during a wind advisory and an areal flood watch.

My biggest concerns on this ride were were:

  1. Not being blown into cars or off the road.
  2. Keeping warm in the rain, which means not stopping.

Thus, I didn't take quite as many photos as usual. When starting from a stop at an intersection, for example, I sometimes had to wait for the gusting to pass before starting off.

To North Bend

I started this ride at about 05:00, with some fairly typical Seattle rain falling. I started with the fairly normal route a cyclist would take to Issaquah.

The below table and chart illustrate the conditions throughout the day in the Seattle area. You can see this page for more details about how the rain intensity worsened and lessened throughout the day.

Actual Average Record
Mean Temperature 52 °F -
Max Temperature 59 °F 44 °F 59 °F (1987)
Min Temperature 45 °F 35 °F 12 °F (1963)
Degree Days
Heating Degree Days 12
Growing Degree Days 2 (Base 50)
Dew Point 41 °F
Average Humidity 74
Maximum Humidity 82
Minimum Humidity 62
Precipitation 0.91 in
Sea Level Pressure
Sea Level Pressure 29.49 in
Wind Speed 16 mph (South)
Max Wind Speed 24 mph
Max Gust Speed 41 mph
Visibility 9 miles
Events Rain

Even Cliff Mass had a post about the weather events this weekend.

However, after hitting red light after red light despite not going very slowly, the light timing irked me more than any rain at the time.

Rather than taking the I-90 Trail, I kept going south on 12th, eventually hitting Beacon Avenue. While on it, I got a really nasty wind from the right that I barely managed to fight. Despite my effort, I nearly ended up in the opposing traffic lane, but there were no cars so it wasn't so bad.

I did eventually make it to Rainier Avenue, the normal route around the southern edge of Lake Washington. The rain was absolutely pouring at this point, to where one could see it bouncing off of the ground rather than simply splattering. However, it did die off as I joined the Cedar River Trail for a while.

The winds still continued, however, and I was riding the drops even more than usual to reduce the impact.

Rather than taking the Cedar River Trail all the way out to Hobart, I went north via the East Renton Highlands and Issaquah Highlands to get to Issaquah. This was a lot steeper than I had been expecting, but that just means it took more time.

What was really funny about that area was how the stoplights at at SR-900 and SE May Valley Road went out just as I was in the middle of the intersection, right beneath the pole carrying them. Some motorists treated it like a stop sign as they should, but others just blew through the intersection as though there was nothing there at all. These people scare me.

I went right through Issaquah to the shoulder of I-90 and headed east along it, pulling off at an exit to eat something. At this point, it wasn't raining and blue skies were actually making themselves known!

But due to the downhill speed run to North Bend, my fingers 'protected' by soaked gloves weren't responding normally, so I warmed them up with some hot chocolate.

Snoqualmie Valley

When I started on my way from North Bend, the winds were quite fierce. These continued, along with the varying rain, for pretty much the rest of my ride. Below is the data from the weather station in Everett.

Actual Average Record
Mean Temperature 46 °F -
Max Temperature 51 °F 43 °F 57 °F (1953)
Min Temperature 42 °F 33 °F 15 °F (1963)
Degree Days
Heating Degree Days 18
Dew Point 40 °F
Average Humidity 82
Maximum Humidity 93
Minimum Humidity 66
Precipitation 1.02 in
Sea Level Pressure
Sea Level Pressure 29.45 in
Wind Speed 21 mph (SSW)
Max Wind Speed 38 mph
Max Gust Speed 51 mph
Visibility 8 miles
Events Rain

The first town I hit was Snoqualmie. While I've known of the city for quite some time, I had never seen the this older part of the city before.

To exit the developed area, I crossed an old one lane bridge. Thankfully, the sensors picked up my bicycle without any special effort.

As the weather had become pleasant enough, I stopped when I came across an old railroad trestle, likely built by the Milwaukee Road.

The road was pretty much dead. There was so little traffic that I had feared I might run into a flooded section.

I was surprised when I hit SR-203 again right next to the resort, which meant that I had to go down another downhill speed run. Boy, it was fast!

I would then pass through Fall City with a powerful tailwind pushing me along at higher than typical speeds.

Something in my mind in this area was the bus situation in the Snoqualmie River Valley: King County Metro had recently contacted out the service to Snoqualmie Valley Transportation, and I saw a number of new bus stop signs mentioning it.

Dealing with the rain as it came and went, I kept pushing forward through Carnation, where I saw the farm belonging my typical supplier of leafy greens at the local farmers' market, as well as the downtown.

I stopped for the restroom at a Safeway in Duvall, but didn't want to stop again so soon when I saw the rebuilt downtown. The last time I had been here, it was before the big construction project in 2008-2009. I'll have to stop again later.

However, I stopped to eat something only a few miles outside of town.

I kept pushing on after that, passing through Monroe without stopping at all, and eventually came to Snohomish and familiar coffee stop with the very hospitable owner at the register.

I had a triple mocha there while I reformulated my route home due to the weather.

As shown in the map, I just took the low route to Everett, and went all the way to downtown to make sure I wouldn't lose any distance. I noticed that my brakes weren't responding as well once I got to Everett, so I tightened them a couple notches and they worked as good as new.

Return Home via Everett

From downtown Everett, I took Colby all the way to the Interurban Trail, which itself has been apparently significantly upgraded recently. The winds were annoying, but not quite as bad as before. The rain was barely present at this point.

I didn't stick with the Interurban Trail past the SR-526 underpass and took the reverse version of the bypass I've taken before.

As I kept going south, I started to gain speed as the wind impacted me less. There was no rain at all eventually.

South of Lynnwood, the ride was pretty uneventful for quite some time. I had a much easier time climbing up 76th Ave W/Meridian Ave North than usual.

Rather than taking 8th all the way home, since the winds were gusting a bit more as I approached Seattle, I made my way to 15th Ave NW so I could use a wide traffic lane on reasonable pavement rather than a narrow bicycle lane on settled pavement riddled with cracks. It was a very fast ride down 15th, too.

As you can imagine, my bike was rather dirty after all that.

I was doing all of this riding through the storm with a Brooks B17 saddle, which showed no signs of stress or wear throughout the onslaught. I guess some people can't be bothered to properly maintain things!

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