I skirted both sides of the Snoqualmie Valley, finding some odd things.
I finally figured out the needed tactic for getting the fit right! I spent most of the ride figuring out what I needed to do and made the correct adjustments.
More after the break…
I started at about 05:00 like always and headed east along the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Fremont was already getting ready for the parade when I headed through it, and some of the streets were blocked off.
When I eventually got to Woodinville, I left the Sammamish River Trail at Wilmot Gateway Park and headed up the reverse of my most frequent route, but left it at SR-522 to climb it up the hill. I wasn't the only one, either!
I thought I was the only one crazy enough to use SR-522, but a couple roadies heading up to US 2 passed me on the climb! #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
The last time I headed up this way, I went all the way to Monroe, and the shoulders were gone for a good deal of it. Hopefully those guys didn't have much trouble>
In my case, I left at Echo Lake Road and started heading south.
Even though I was using 1L bottles, my first one was already empty so I tried to seek out more, without much luck.
I stopped at a general store near Echo Lake here to seek out either water or a bathroom, and the owner said they had neither for customers.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
I went to the espresso stand on the property to see if either were nearby, and she said the restroom in the store was public.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
When I told the owner, he got angry, yelled at me, and eventually went out to talk to the barista at the stand.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
When I picked something up to buy so I could use the restroom, he took it from me and put it back on the shelf. I left before the confrontation since I was a bit freaked out.
Heading further south around the lake itself, I realized that I missed my turn and backtracked a bit. After going down the right road for a bit, it turned into course gravel so I ended up walking to the end of the road.
I found the trail in my directions and hoofed it, so to speak, until the other side.
I ended up in an equestrian area after that and had to walk my bike on a trail to the next road. Huge houses there!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
The area I rode through on the other side of the trail had wide streets without sidewalks (hard shoulders only) and the houses were big and stretched out. It all honesty, it seemed kind of foreign and creepy. Luckily, it wasn't far until I made it to the familiar Woodinville-Duvall Road for my left turn down into the valley.
This is where people live if they don't like being near people all the time.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
Once down in the valley, I made a right onto another familiar road and headed south.
The repaved the W Snoqualmie Highway but didn't bother to give it a hard shoulder (only gravel)? Weak sauce. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
And then I crossed the Snoqualmie River at Novelty Hill Road.
From there, I headed south along SR-203, stopping once to eat next to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
And stopping again for a little caffeine boost at the base of Stillwater Hill, watching some road cyclists making their way up the hill every now and then.
From the Stillwater Store, I started my own big climb up the hill, which was pretty steep at the base but much easier once a little bit up. It was mainly uphill for quite some time, until I got to the Stillwater Hill Community Church.
However, my turn was actually a bit before the church, but I didn't realize it until I had gone further along the road.
Once on the correct road, it was pretty obvious that I was slowly exiting civilization.
The hills became steeper and steeper as I continued, and I had to climb out of the saddle in my lowest few gears a couple times. At the most extreme point, I started getting a bit spooked and walked 100 feet on one climb before getting on the bike again.
Finally, I found my turn off this road….onto very course gravel. I pushed my bike up that, dogs barking at me as I went, and made it to the end of the public road.
Looks like I ran out of road. Better turn back!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
Turning back and pushing my bike down the hill a bit, a middle-aged couple stopped their car as I waited for them to ask what was going on. When I told them I was trying to find a way through to the other side, the man talked about a dirt path he would go riding on his motorcycle and how to get to it, mentioning an abandoned shale pit and a lake along the way. He also said that someone blocked it off with "NO TRESPASSING" signs, and that the person who did that didn't actually own the land and had to right to do so. Feeling reassured, I returned to the pavement, then continued past where it ended to a fork in the road.
I first tried the dirt driveway to the left, which didn't lead anywhere.
After getting back to the fork, I tried going straight, which kept going. The surface eventually turned to stable dirt, which I rode for maybe a few hundred feet before it started becoming packed with large rocks.
It wasn't too difficult to get around the gate, either.
Walking along that bumpy trail made me wish for my mountain bike.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
There were other paths leading off here and there, but I kept going straight. At times, there were other folks doing stuff off on one of those, and their sounds spooked me into heading straight.
I did find the old shale pit.
And the lake.
And my way out!
After a little climbing, I found myself going down steep grades for quite some time.
I did have to slow down a bit for a collision where one car rear-ended the other while going up the hill. I saw a police officer heading up that way a while after I had passed it.
There was a collision on the road down from the ridge.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
Once at the highway, I simply took it to Monroe, which wasn't very far. My original plan was to go along the farm roads, but the wide shoulder in Snohomish County convinced me other wise. Also, the northerly wind was cut by cars heading north to my left.
I tried two different shops in Monroe to find water, before simply hitting a gas station near SR-522.
After that, I headed straight for Snohomish, along the old road, skirting downtown by heading out along the Centennial Trail for some more miles. The winds weren't too kind, but I didn't have too much trouble.
Climbing out of the saddle isn't about pushing down; it's about repeatedly dropping one's weight onto the alternating pedals. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
Also, one of my panniers did something I hate again.
Awesome: one of my Ortlieb panniers decided to pop a bolt again. Plastic nuts are universally a bad sign. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 21, 2015
In the meantime, I used a Surly Junk Strap to hold it together.
I turned back before descending into Arlington. The winds now pushed me most of the time, so I made great time back to Snohomish. Once there, I stopped for some coffee and doughnut holes.
I'm at Rock City Cafe in Snohomish, WA https://t.co/xX2tIVd9QA— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
Admittedly, I probably shouldn't have eaten those, as I felt a bit ill for the rest of the ride.
@WAbikes Hey, I'm doing that right now!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 20, 2015
I left Snohomish along the road north of the Snohomish River, hammering really hard as my legs felt awesome!
@WAbikes Out on a double metric. I'll take a look at the route when I have access to a real computer, though.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 21, 2015
I crossed the river using the Hewitt Avenue bridge, then climbed out of the saddle to get to Colby Avenue.
Heading south from Everett really easy with that tailwind. I took my normal route generally near (and sometimes incorporating) the Interurban Trail to Lynnwood, stopping in the Ash Way area for some water and teriyaki.
In search of salt. (@ Best Sushi & Teriyaki in Lynnwood, WA) https://t.co/xXP3FTNS4l— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 21, 2015
I felt a bit stuffed even though I packed up the last bit in a box to take home.
My knees started having little aches that indicated some issues that had been masked earlier by the caffeine around that area, so I kept following the same methodology.
Once I got to the place where the new Lynnwood Costco was being built, I switched over to the Interurban Trail proper and took that all the way until I entered the Seattle city limits. After that, I stuck to familiar streets until where I would normally cross 15th Ave NW, making the left onto it instead. Boy, that was a rush!
With that northerly tailwind, today was the perfect day to ride down 15th! #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 21, 2015
I got home before dark, too!
I don't know if I got the fit perfect or not, as my legs were pretty beat in the end anyway.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 21, 2015
On the following morning, I replaced the lost bolt and plastic nut assembly with another one of my stainless creations, as I had seen it happen before.
Also, I noticed that I had rashes around my lower calves, likely from hiking along one of those paths.