Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cedar and Green Rivers II (2017-02-25)

A fairly easy ride to further retrain my legs. I had some nice conversations with cyclists that were starting to ride again as the cold season ends.

More after the break…

Part 1: Outbound

I started at about 05:00 like usual, then took my normal route south through Seattle and Tukwila.

However, when I got to the Renton area, I took a new route via Monster Rd SW, which involved a bit of climbing that I hadn't expected. I was trying my saddle a couple mm up from last time just to check, and had a pretty hard time.

I then passed through Renton to the Cedar River Trail, which I took to Maple Valley before I got some hot coffee to warm up against the cold. As I approached Maple Valley, snow started to fall. While there, it came down a bit harder, but it cleared up shortly before I left.

At the transition between the paved an unpaved section of the trail, I realize that I might know how the old Milwaukee Road got from the ROW of the Cedar River Trail to the ROW of the Green to Cedar Rivers Trail. There's an abandoned ROW on an embankment that gradually makes its way up the side of the hill below SR-169 and above the former trail.

It was rather nice being on the unpaved section of the trail without rain for once.

At the end of the trail, I started my climb out of the valley. Like before, it was really hard on my legs, and I had to stop to lower the saddle those couple mm after my hamstrings started to burn. Despite slightly lifting with every pedal stroke, it looks like the saddle couldn't go any higher. It also can't go back with the current seatpost.

When I approached the main road again, I saw a couple of roadies making their way up it, so I joined them. I didn't have much trouble climbing anymore, and started a conversation with them. They eventually dropped me after the second hill south of Ravensdale.

I did end up chatting with them a short while later, as they'd also stopped at the Black Diamond Bakery. The older of the two talked about how he'd done a Bikecentennial ride when he was younger, and I told them about some of my rides. As they left, they talked about how inspired they felt to continue long rides like the one they were on.

Part 2: Inbound

I started leaving Black Diamond via SR-169 to get to Green Valley Rd, but it turned out that there was a closure on the road between SR-169 and Flaming Geyser State Park, so I had to turn back toward Black Diamond.

Fortunately, I found another route to Flaming Geyser State Park, which involved a steep descent that got me to nearly 35 MPH! Indeed, there were also warning signs for the closure on the other side.

I then made my way into the park, hoping to actually see the geyser this time.

Unfortunately, the geyser had run out of methane to burn in 2016, so it wasn't really a sight anymore.

While I'd stopped to eat, a woman rolled in on a touring bike looking for directions around the closure I'd just gone around. I told her about it, but didn't think to warn her about the 9% grade she'd be climbing up for a while. We also exchanged contact information before parting ways, as we'd both been looking for folks to do "long, slow" rides with for a while.

After leaving the park, I headed west along Green Valley Rd toward Auburn. I did also try to find an interesting sight from a previous ride, but it appears to have been demolished since I was last in the area. I was fortunate enough to get daylights picture of Green Valley Meats, though.

Once in Auburn, I went to Zola's Coffee for a little boost to get me back home, then headed back to the Green River to follow it into Kent.

Once I got to the outermost trailhead of the Green River Trail, I switched over to it. Aside from having to walk some sections, it was fine for a while.

That is, until it turned into mud and gates.

After a short bit of road riding until crossing the Interurban Trail, I followed the Green River Trail and Frager Road all the way back to the Seattle city limits.

And then I took my usual route through Georgetown, SoDo, Downtown, and so on all the way home.

The funny thing is that we both live in the same neighborhood of Seattle, but she took a different route to get there so we didn't get to talk for too long.

I got home at about 19:00, and it had only been dark for a short while. Can't wait for longer daylight hours as Spring and Summer come.

I also was glad to have solved two major issues that had been plaguing me.

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