Headed out into the mountains again, just like old times.
More after the break…
Part 1: To Bus
Remembering my past mistakes, I left home at 05:10 and headed to the freeway station to for the bus ride up north. It was so warm out that I had to take my sweater off after the climb to the station!
Here we go! (@ University District North Bound Freeway Bus Station) https://t.co/GpyU8GqAGw— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
Part 2: Outbound
It was already light out when the bus got to Everett Station, and warm enough to still not need a sweater. I was in awe of the vivid colors after such a bad Winter.
The weather is so nice already!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
It really is amazing out.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
Since Proper Joe (the replacement of the Rock City Cafe) was not yet open when I got to Snohomish, I asked a couple of roadies who were riding through about coffee, and they said that a place next to the local hardware store was open. It was indeed open, so I stopped there for coffee.
I'm at Java Haus in Snohomish, WA https://t.co/C7IAmiiwOp— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
@SheRidesABike Nope. As far as I know, the trail is still closed for construction.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
I'm heading out on US 2.
@SheRidesABike Yep. First 512 of the day!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
@SheRidesABike Glad to hear they're going to deck the bridges and clear out all the bush.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
Now energized, I started my ride in earnest, heading east along US 2 out of Snohomish. Traffic was pretty heavy when I got to Monroe, likely due to the fairgrounds, but my route took me away from the busy highway near SR-522, before bringing me back to the highway near the edge of town.
A common theme of this ride was having to wait for breaks in traffic before crossing bridges without shoulders, which started immediately as I left Monroe.
Riding the shoulder of this rural highway on a hot day brings back memories of past rides. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
When I got to the westernmost extent of Sultan, I saw that there was repaving work going on.
Wow, more road construction. Just like most of my rides over the past few months.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
This is getting tiresome.
Thankfully, it was mainly the general purpose lanes receiving the work rather than the shoulders. I just had to carefully ride around signs and cones that were needlessly in the shoulder.
For this ride, I bought a four-pack of muffins instead of granola to see how they'd work, since I've had a history of becoming dehydrated with granola. They worked pretty darn well!
These muffins are working pretty well as fuel.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
Gettin' pretty sweaty! #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
The first noticeable climbing started past Gold Bar. It wasn't bad at all, though.
Somewhere around here, I started noticing a sort of "thok" once per wheel rotation while braking. It wasn't particularly bad, so I just kept going.
When I got to the Espresso Chalet, I stopped for some coffee, just like last time.
From there, I kept continuing west along the highway.
A few miles before Skykomish, I hung a right onto Money Creek Road so I could check out the washout from 2011.
After going past the "ROAD CLOSED" sign, I did indeed find out that the road was gone.
It's a bit of a funny situation, since there's a bridge just past the washout where the river used to run. There's a river without a bridge and a bridge without a river!
Since I obviously couldn't continue on the old highway here, I turned back to the new one and headed to Skykomish that way.
There was an old guy on a mountain bike with a Burley trailer who was getting going near the Money Creek campground. He didn't know where he was going in the long run, but he was pretty unhappy about the washout on the old highway.
One of the most prominent hotels is the Skykomish Hotel, which is undergoing renovation and restoration into a hotel again.
After getting a photo in front of a city sign while a BNSF train passed by, I went to the Cascadian Inn & Restaurant for a pastry and water.
I decided to turn back here rather than 10 miles further on because time was tight. I'll have to stay at the inn someday so I can do a two-day ride, with the first day having a longer ride.
Turning back here. (@ Skykomish, WA in WA) https://t.co/inwAVvwyZZ— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
Part 3: Inbound
Before starting on my actual ride back, I called my bike shop about the "thok" while braking. The guy who worked on it said it should be fine for the return trip, but I should bring it in ASAP. I was still a bit worried, so I made a note to be careful while braking.
Pretty sure I need a new front rim. Called LBS when I was in Skykomish, and the mechanic who worked on it last week said it should be fine.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
I wasn't looking forward to the ride back, mainly due to a couple of pinch points where the road narrows, but I still had to get home!
I feel like I've been spending all day focusing on hugging guard rails without touching them.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
Has anyone mentioned to WSDOT that foot-wide sidewalks aren't suitable for narrow 60 MPH roads?— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
It'd probably be safer to just have a shoulder with no sidewalk at that point.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
I'm glad I brought the bike I did. The low-trail geometry made holding difficult lines much easier.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
While the narrow bits of the highway weren't so bad, I was definitely relieved when I finally got back to Gold Bar, which is past the worst of it. I definitely needed some coffee to keep my spirits up.
I'm at Woodshed Espresso in Gold Bar, WA https://t.co/yCo13SMoLV— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 20, 2017
I had to deal with a few of narrow bridges again on the way back, with more traffic, but they weren't as long or as hilly as the bits before.
A woman in Sultan apologized for someone who rolled coal past me.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
There was bad traffic in Monroe when I was outbound, but there was INSANE traffic in Monroe when I was inbound— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
There was also bad traffic in Sultan when I was inbound, due to a head-on collision.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
I did end up having to walk quite a bit due to solid traffic in Monroe, probably leftover from the collision and the fairgrounds. I ended up passing the same people over and over on the shoulder because it was so slow.
Between Monroe and Everett, I felt my blood sugar get pretty low, so I stopped twice to eat. I guess that coffee really causes me to burn energy! The constant headwinds from Gold Bar all the way to Everett didn't help, either.
Nutrition definitely was pretty of my problem on past rides. The muffins worked great!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
By the time I'd gotten to Everett, it was still light, and I only had to wait 15 minutes for a bus.
It's nice having long daylight hours again.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
Part 4: Return Home
From the freeway station, I took the less steep of the route options to get to the Burke–Gilman Trail. I also noticed that the "thok" was getting worse and caused braking to become jarring each time, so I was even more cautious on that section. Thankfully, the route from there to home was pretty flat.
Pretty sure my bike's saddle broke in enough today for me to need to raise it.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
Pretty beat.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
GPS said 139.5 miles when I got home. Not sure that's right, but I'll find out soon enough.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 21, 2017
I was glad to be home, since I didn't have to worry about that rim anymore.