Thursday, February 16, 2017

More Mount Vernon (2017-02-11)

A simple ride with a little climbing to get my legs used to the saddle being high enough.

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More after the break…

Part 1: To Bus

Before leaving, I checked the bus schedule, and mistakenly chose a timepoint earlier on the route. After rushing out at 04:45, I had to wait for quite a while at the freeway station and got pretty chilled as a result. Thankfully, I was able to warm up on the bus.

Part 2: Outbound

After putting on another sweater at Everett Station, I climbed up to downtown Everett and headed for Starbucks for a mostly-decaf americano to warm up.

I then used my typical route to leave Everett using bits of US 99 and parallel roads, then the Pioneer Highway.

After turning left onto Norman Road, I noticed that the riverbank rebuilding had been largely completed.

Only a little while later, I saw some flooding on the road. Rather than getting soaked by the muddy water, I simply walked around it.

It wasn't the only evidence of flooding, though, as a lot of the farm fields were flooded in places.

Heading north along Marine Drive, I noticed that I was holding my line on the fog line of the edge of the road without too much effort. Back when I was riding high-trail bikes, I'd have to tense up and focus in order to do that!

While passing through Stanwood, I saw a bunch of railway maintenance equipment on the branch line that dead-ends in town.

To leave Stanwood, I used old US 99 again, taking it all the way to Conway, where I stopped for Gatorade and a chance to eat before leaving via Dike Road. I wasn't the only cyclist on Dike Road, either, as there was a young woman riding a mountain bike in the same direction I was headed.

By the time I had gotten to the edge of Mount Vernon, she was already riding back the other way.

After passing through outer Mount Vernon, I stopped at the co-op for some largely-decaf coffee.

Part 3: Inbound

I was greeted by a familiar steep climb as I started on my way out of lower Mount Vernon. Unfortunately, someone else decided decided to use the bike lane on the bridge in the wrong direction.

It wasn't long until I left the road before the Kulshan Trail, which I used to get into the eastern Mount Vernon suburbs before proceeding further east along SR-536.

There was even a very short trail on the climb up that highway out there.

Once I got to SR-9, I started my southbound journey. Unlike earlier, I was greeted with rolling hills, which were surprisingly easier than I'd remembered!

I did stop at Big Lake for some straight water, as the Nuun water wasn't sitting well. I got the idea after remembering last time, where water was the only thing that helped my stomach in the end.

Shortly south of Big Lake, the chipseal began. It felt slower than I'd expected, but I felt a lot better after a food break closer to Lake McMurray.

I got onto the Centennial Trail a few miles south of Lake McMurray and zipped along to Arlington, where I stopped for coffee before having to climb Culpeper Hill.

The hill itself wasn't hard, as I was able to demand more from my legs without mashing nor letting my cadence fall with my saddle at the height it was.

When I got to Lake Stevens, I started getting unwelcome surprises in the form of roped-off bits of trail with pavement cut out. Turns out the trail is under reconstruction due to buckling caused by tree roots. As I always say, "If you'd built it properly the first time around, this wouldn't be a problem." I had to stop and walk around many of them because both sides of the trail were mud from the recent rains.

It was slow going all the way to Snohomish. Once I did enter Snohomish, I didn't see much trail reconstruction, but I did ride through a lot of wood smoke. When I talked to someone who grew up there a few days later, she said that it was all the wood-fired stoves people use for heating.

My pace was much better along the road between Snohomish and Everett. I didn't even get chilled even though it was dark out!

Part 4: Return Home

Despite fearing the cold I feel after getting off the bus, I stayed warm enough while reassembling my bike for riding, and didn't get particularly cold on the ride home.

As mentioned in my later tweets above, I did bring the shoes to a cobbler, who's going to replace the fat padding with thinner padding. That should solve the abrasion and blister problem

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