I probably should've turned the difficulty down after first switching to clipless pedals.
Due to the pain from last week, I converted to clipless pedals, making this the first long ride with them.
More after the break…
Part 1: To Sumner
I started a bit late, at about 05:20 or so, and headed generally south to start. My shoes were a bit uncomfortable, so I tried rearranging the insoles, which seemed to help.
Every time I've had to deal with the mess around the First Avenue S Bridge, it takes a lot longer than it should. Plus, the sensors don't pick me up half the time. The worst of it is when making a left on First Avenue S onto East Marginal Way S, then continuing along the latter.
It takes something like ten minutes to get past the First Avenue S bridge due to poor light timing and long durations for SR-99.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
I was starting to feel the wind push me back while riding through Tukwila, and it lasted all the way into my route along the valley from Kent to Sumner. I took the same route as last time through Allentown and along the Green River Trail.
Stupid southerly headwind.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
I saw large clumps of cottonwood seeds on the ground in places throughout the day.
Cottonwood seeds all over the ground in patches.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
I made the mistake of not correcting Google Maps's poor routing to get from Sumner to the Foothills Trail, but knew to follow the right route over the railroad tracks anyway.
Pierce County is working on extending the Foothills Trail a block to a major road in Puyallup.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
Since different muscles were being used thanks to the clipless pedals, my legs felt weaker than I remember them typically being. I had to take ibuprofen a few times in order to keep going.
Part 2: Foothills and Valleys
Along the trail, I saw a large number of people who obviously ride maybe a few times a year.
Why do people put knobby tires on their bikes when they only ride on pavement?— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
It's funny how so many people think meager effort put into a miniscule exercise routine once or twice a week actually helps much.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
I passed through Orting as usual, hitting an espresso stand for water. There was a group of folks riding motorcycles, who parked in some motorcycle parking in the middle of the a street there.
The trail turns north after Orting, which was very good for me.
Finally getting a chance to use that southerly wind to my advantage.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
Even though there was the threat of rain in the forecast, it was beautiful out for the whole ride.
#Clipless pedals make climbing hills lot easier because my feet don't slide, but the extra pressure on such small points hurts.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
@takeshita_kenji Yeah I think they're best for stabilizing you on the bike rather than the marginally small increase in power.— Zach Shaner (@zachshan) May 17, 2014
@zachshan They also enforce a proper pedaling style, which has always been a problem for me.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
@zachshan Proper AND consistent, specifically.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
At this point, my legs really felt the burn once I got to Buckley, even though I was able to make it up the hill much more easily.
I then made a left onto SR-410 to head towards Sumner, noting how straight it was.
Wow, SR-410 sure has some long straight sections.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
This brought me through Bonney Lake, which I found to be distasteful.
Bonney Lake is basically nothing but soulless strip malls and tasteless housing developments.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
There were long hills leading to traffic lights, which had me paranoid due to the time required to unclip from my pedals.
From Bonney Lake, there was a bit of an uphill, followed by a huge downhill speedrun all the way down to the first exit in Sumner where I got off. I headed north along the eastern edge of the valley, eventually meeting up with the East Valley Highway, which I've used a number of times.
Wow, SR-410 is a HUGE hill.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
This route brought me past the old Lake Tapps powerhouse.
And just like last time, I left the highway for the White River Trail, passing through Roegner Park.
I'm at Roegner Park (Auburn, WA) http://t.co/P7P4qgc5x7— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 17, 2014
You didn't think I was done with my adventure already, did you?
I stopped to eat near a rural bus stop, and a driver of the infrequent 915 thought I was waiting for the bus. I was surprised to see any service out here, but that route only has no service on Sundays and certain holidays.
I saw the 915 go by. Not bad.
The ride was pretty pleasant through the farmlands of the Muckleshoot reservation and surrounding areas..
I came across a little library out in the middle of nowhere.
My eventual descent into the Green Valley struck me as very familiar, as I had done it uphill in the other direction on an earlier ride. It certainly was a lot faster downhill! Also, much less rainy.
My legs were really killing me at this point, and I had to 'limp' (stop for a couple minutes every few miles) to Auburn. Even so, it didn't seem as far as last time.
I've been having a pretty hard time.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
I recall my previous times through the valley involving some seriously ratty pavement near the Auburn city limits, but it was all fresh concrete this time!
Fresh concrete on Auburn–Black Diamond road.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
I stopped at a small coffee shop in Auburn for a rest, and both a triple mocha and a small americano.
I talked to the folks running the shop: two parents banding with one of two of their adult children in able to afford a residence. They, similar to me, were unhappy with how the job market has turned out in the US.
This mocha is really good.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
The mocha wasn't as watery as most of the ones I've had.
The folks at the coffee shop were good people. That shop is now on my go-to list.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
Inner Auburn is pretty nice, to be honest.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
Some cities that have developed some before sprawl do have pretty good areas around downtown.
Part 3: Return Home
From the coffee shop, I headed straight onto the Interurban Trail, plowing ahead as best I could. The coffee managed to take the pain from my legs for at least a while.
I do feel better now, though.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
The trail is pretty cool because it passes right through all sorts of rail infrastructure.
The wind started to become unfavorable, unfortunately, which wore me down. By the time I got to Renton, my legs weren't doing so well.
Considering how going #clipless changed my pedaling style, I should've chosen a shorter route for my first long ride.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
Useful new skill gained today: the ability to clip in while pedaling. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
I still managed to keep it up pretty well until I got closer to Seward Park, then reverted to the 'limping'.
I'm at Seward Park Loop (Seattle, WA) http://t.co/jjVn31fFqv— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
Something I've always dreaded about Lake Washington Boulevard was how awful the pavement is, but it looks like SDOT finally took notice. It was always worse nearer to the edge, so I always rode toward the middle of the lane whenever there weren't any cars coming, and would be indignant when the presence of cars forced me toward the edge.
SDOT repaved some of the trouble spot that is Lake Washington Boulevard.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
@MAndersson1968 I'm fairly confident I won't.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
Way too much lactic acid. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
I continued to 'limp' all the way home, getting a very tiny boost as I got closer.
Having persevered through the one of the Great Pains, I am safely at home. Now to deal with the overnight cold sweats.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
The soreness completely nullified the ibuprofen I took a number of hours ago while I was riding, but the ibuprofen is helping now.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
Oh yeah, I didn't see any rain today despite the forecast.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 18, 2014
And the next morning, my legs weren't sore at all. I've since scheduled bike fit appointments to get everything 'dialed in,' since clipless pedals do involve a lot of change.