Monday, August 29, 2016

Foothills Loop with Heat Exhaustion (2016-08-20)

My first century ride on the Davidson touring bike I recently picked up, it was very difficult as the temperatures approached 100°F.

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More after the break…

Part 1: Valley

As usual, I started at about 05:00. I rode south and used Alaskan Way to avoid downtown Seattle, then went through SoDo, Georgetown, and Tukwila.

In Tukwila, I jumped over to the Green River Trail, then the Interurban Trail. Once I got to Kent, I got a mostly-decaf drink.

I was enjoying the way that the low-trail handled: rather than feeling like I'm going to fall over when banking, it wants to instead right itself. I can fight against that without fearing going down!

Before I was about to cross SR-410, I waited by some bollards in the road for traffic to clear, then proceeded on the through traffic lane. To my right was a lane marked with "RIGHT LANE MUST TURN RIGHT" that is the entrance to westbound SR-410, and then a sidewalk without any form of shoulder. Several seconds later, a guy in an SUV started blasting his horn at me as I climbed while pointing at the sign. He didn't get the message, and when I got into the shoulder, he came alongside me, cursed at me, and told me to get out of the road. I interrupted him before he finished, telling him to read the sign.

My mood was soured for a while, but subsided as I rode along the Foothills Trail. Freeway entrances are never fun, especially when shoulders aren't provided.

In Orting, I stopped at the Trailside Cyclery to see the store owner (Brian), but he wasn't there, so I went over to the park across the street to eat. A few minutes later, he showed up on his bike and opened the shop up.

While admiring the Davidson I'd been telling him about, he told me that the festivals going on in the park usually kill his business for their durations, largely because all of the parking on the street in front of his shop always ends up full of festival-goers' cars. However, business was pretty consistent while I was there, including a mother and her kids.


From there, I continued along the Foothills Trail to South Prairie, where I stopped again to get an iced coffee drink to help me cool off.

While consuming my beverage, there was a guy who was working for REI resting before heading back down the trail. He told me how the Novara brand was being rebranded as something like "Bicycle Co-op," and a number of bikes would be unavailable for a year while their branding was changed.

Part 2: Foothills

The climb up to Buckley, and then again up from the White River crossing on SR-410, got me overheated again and I stopped for a smoothie in Enumclaw. It was nearly 95°F out there!

I then took SR-169 for a couple miles, leaving it for Enumclaw–Franklin Road, which had been significantly improved with fresh pavement in spots.

As I crossed the bridge across the Green River, I chatted with a couple locals.

And then I continued on my way. I was definitely fighting heat exhaustion at that point, and had to rest periodically to recover. What really hurt my resolve was when I was climbing after crossing the Cedar River: my chain jammed front derailleur halfway up the hill when I shifted to the granny ring while there was traffic to my left. I put my feet down after moving further to the right, then walked back down in the dirt shoulder before trying again. It didn't jam the second time.

I eventually made my way through the last of the hills, and descended from Hobart to Issaquah.

I definitely needed a rest after all that!

I bought a gallon jug of water for my bottles, myself, and to have in my bag until I'd later empty it. I also got a bottled coffee drink and some potato chips to help me recover.

Part 3: Return Home

Riding along the gravel East Lake Sammamish Trail was quite the pleasure: my front wheel wasn't deflected much by uneven and shifting surface, and the wide tires didn't dig into it.

As the Sun was lowering in the sky, the temperatures were also much more bearable than earlier.

By the time I'd gotten to Bothell, it was starting to get dark. There were also clouds of gnats everywhere, which I frequently coughed up after riding through.

Once I got into Lake City, there were spiderwebs all over instead.

I got home at about 23:00, largely because of all the resting I'd done during the hotter part of the day.

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