Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Second Half Foothills Loop (2017-07-01)

Finishing what I'd started, without the influence of caffeine.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A few hundred feet later, I finally got to the trestle I remembered from last time.

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 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.

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.

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.

At Bothell, I switched to the Burke–Gilman Trail and took it home.

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.

Dropping caffeine ended up being really beneficial, which is what I'd been hoping for.

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