Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Carbon and Green Rivers (2014-05-17)

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.

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.

I saw large clumps of cottonwood seeds on the ground in places throughout the day.

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.

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.

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.

Even though there was the threat of rain in the forecast, it was beautiful out for the whole ride.

I got more water when I got to South Prairie. I couldn't recall my route out of there, but my GPS led me up SR-162/SR-165 to Buckley.

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.

This brought me through Bonney Lake, which I found to be distasteful.

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.

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 recall having a bit of a tough time getting up SR-164 on an earlier ride, but the route I took this time was significantly easier than I had originally expected.

You didn't think I was done with my adventure already, did you?

Sat May 17 15:03:03 2014@Forest Villa Manor Mobile Home Park, United States

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.

Sat May 17 15:03:24 2014@Forest Villa Manor Mobile Home Park, United States

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 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!

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.

The mocha wasn't as watery as most of the ones I've had.

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.

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.

I still managed to keep it up pretty well until I got closer to Seward Park, then reverted to the 'limping'.

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.

Like last time, I took the Boren Avenue route through Montlake to avoid the mess around the light rail construction.

I continued to 'limp' all the way home, getting a very tiny boost as I got closer.

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.

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