Finishing what I'd started, without the influence of caffeine.
Since this is essentially a continuation of last week's ride, a map that shows how the two rides relate is helpful.
The green line is this week's ride, while the black line is last week's ride. The red line was my plan for last week until the heat became too much for me.
More after the break…
Part 1: Outbound
As usual, I left home at about 05:00. I hadn't had any caffeine for nearly a week, so I was hoping for a much better ride than last time. I followed the same route south out of Seattle, breaking from it when I got to Tukwila. Instead, I rode through Renton and got onto the Cedar River Trail.
Doing pretty well so far on this ride without any caffeine at all. I can really take in my surroundings now, too.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
One thing I like about these wide tires is that the transition from asphalt to gravel doesn't slow me down at all. I was really booking it for a guy on a loaded touring bike!
The trail riding for a while ended when I got to Landsburg.
At that point, I got onto the road and started to continue what I started last weekend. Since the saddle was still a bit high, the hills were pretty difficult! I wasn't the only one riding out there, either, with lots of folks obviously training.
Lots of folks clad in spandex out riding. Many big groups, too. #bikestp is definitely soon.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
Not enjoying the mist, but it could be worse.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
When I got to Hobart, I found a couple of guys who were similarly out riding, but they weren't training for the STP.
From Hobart, it was largely a descent down into Issaquah, with more cyclists heading in both directions along the road.
I got onto the Rainier Trail as soon as I could, since it's a nice break from the traffic. While on it, I realized that I could take a shortcut to the Issaquah–Preston Trail that would remove having to cross a busy road without a crosswalk.
Once on the Issaquah–Preston Trail, I was treated with a nice gravel climb surrounded by beautiful scenery.
No mist up here, and the gravel climb here is still as fun as I remember. #seabikes— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
This bike handles really well, which is why I enjoy riding it so much.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
I took the trail's paved segment to avoid the I-90 exit, then stopped by a local cafe for an Italian soda. The barista commented that her father used to ride a ton and trained for the STP previously.
Getting an Italian soda. (@ Preston in WA) https://t.co/8xHwZCBCD6— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
I zipped down the western half of the Preston–Snoqualmie Trail, took the highway for a short bit, then started my way up the set of several gravel switchbacks up to the other half of the trail.
Since this section of the trail dead-ends, traffic was especially light.
Once at the end, I went around the fence and continued along the right-of-way, walking my bike until I got to an impassible obstacle and had to leave it until I returned.
Part 2: Inbound
Once I'd gotten the photos I wanted, I headed back, realizing that I'd been getting tons of mosquito bites and wading through poisonous plants.
Something that I thought was strange was how all of the porta-potties that used to be at the other trailheads were now at the end here, and locked.
It was a pretty fast ride back towards Preston.
Rather than taking the highway once back at the bottom of the gravel switchbacks, I took the official trail route, including the old highway.
As well as the old bridge.
I still stuck to the trail as I made my way back to Preston
And subsequently bombed down the gravel Issaquah–Preston Trail at high speed as I love to do.
Once finally in Issaquah, I started seeing pedestrian/cyclist detour signs and had no idea what they were about until I got to the East Lake Sammamish Trail. Looking online, I couldn't find any information, but a couple who were riding along the trail had to turn back 150 feet or so down it. I told them about the detour signs I saw, as well as the detour I already knew about, and pointed them in the right direction.
I don't recall reading anything about the trail being closed this far south. #seabikes— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
I even tried to find information about it online, but there wasn't any. Nice job, guys. #seabikes— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
I followed the same route, then stuck to the road until right after the construction ended that caused the latter detour, then rode along the trail. I'm going to miss when this is turned into asphalt.
I kind of prefer the gravel incarnation of the East Lake Sammamish Trail.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
At the north end of the trail, I found a Peet's Coffee & Tea and got an herbal iced tea drink. While relaxing, I saw the same couple from earlier, who had a much longer time on the road.
Saw a couple who were trying to use the ELST, and I told them the detour I saw when coming down to Issaquah.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
Met them again here, and they told me they couldn't find the way to get back to the trail. Nice signage, guys. #seabikes— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 1, 2017
Once done there, I got back on the trail, then headed to the Sammamish River Trail and took it all the way to Bothell.
At Wilmot Gateway Park, I found someone else who was really into touring and had a similar mindset around it to mine, so we exchange phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Exchanged contact information with another person who tours while stopped at Wilmot Gateway Park.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
At Bothell, I switched to the Burke–Gilman Trail and took it home.
My cruising speed with these 2" tires and a 7-speed cassette is 1-2 MPH less than usual while hunting between gears.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
I think I've unintentionally trained my back to be more flexible. The bars felt too low this morning, but they aren't bothering me now.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
I got home before sunset, which is always a nice part of Summer. I was pretty worn out, though less so than I would've been with caffeine.
Ended up pushing myself a little too hard at the end since I felt so good.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
I think I now know what I need to target for my pedal stroke. Still, no knee pain today!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
Way too many bug bites yesterday. That's what I get for going off the beaten path.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
I don't know if I'll end up benefiting from that or not. My back isn't sore this morning, though, which is a good sign.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 2, 2017
Dropping caffeine ended up being really beneficial, which is what I'd been hoping for.