Sunday, July 2, 2017

Truncated Foothills Loop: New Trail and Heat Exhaustion (2017-06-24)

It was a good day until the effects of caffeine combined with the unseasonably high temperatures took their toll on my body.

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More after the break…

Part 1: Outbound

Like usual, I started at about 05:00, and headed south out of Seattle. It was such a nice morning, and the sky was already light out when I left. When I rode through Allentown, the glassy surface of the Green River caught my eye.

I took the Green River Trail and Interurban Trail to get to Auburn, then stopped for coffee at the small shop I enjoy the most in the area. Unlike previous rides, the Interurban Trail was no longer partially closed.

I then left via C Street, the C Street Trail, and Sumner Link trail like usual, then took the eastern route option to leave Sumner in order to avoid a nasty SR-410 interchange.

And then I rode along the Foothills Trail to Orting, where I hung out at the Trailside Cyclery for a while.

The owner there was fascinated by the custom Davidson I was riding, even though I'd shown it to him before.

Part 2: Inbound

I left the shop after the better part of an hour and headed further east along the trail to its current end at South Prairie.

Then I started the climb up SR-162, but rather than taking it all the way to its junction with SR-165, I left it at the same road I remembered from my first time exploring expansion of the trail. When I did get to where the "Missing Link" used to end, I saw new construction on the other side of the road. Unfortunately, the "Missing Link" itself was still closed due to a bridge outage.

Of course, a fence like that wouldn't stop me, so I portaged my bike around it, then proceeded up the fresh asphalt.

I was surprised at how well-built it was, with bridges here and there. The only thing that would've reasonably constituted a closure was a single power shovel.

A long segment of it was actually built on a trestle, which would make it impervious to tree roots and running water. While I did know about the trestle, I had no idea they had paved it with asphalt!

(Check out the Checking out the Foothils Trail 'Missing Link' album to see how this exact segment used to look.

It wasn't long after the trestle that I finally got to the other end of this new trail segment. When I moved my bike around the fence at that end, a cyclist rode up and I responded with a "Shh…" He was pretty curious, so I told him about how nice the new segment was anyway.

I was starting to suffer from the heat at this point, which was at over 35°C, but I pressed forward, taking the trail route all the way until it ended in Buckley. There was a carnival going on, so I had to enter SR-410 earlier than I would've typically done, but what was really annoying was all the construction signs on it. There was no construction actually going on at the time, though.

Once I got to downtown Enumclaw, I stopped for a smoothie, some water, and a break from the horrible heat.

While there, I exchanged numbers with a guy who seemed interested in touring sometime.

I stuck to my planned route through Franklin still, but after riding it some and continuing to suffer, I decided to switch to a shortcut route back home once I'd gotten to Black Diamond. I talked to some other cyclists about SR-169 and they said it was pretty flat, so I made that my goal. I also saw a huge group of roadies climbing up from the Green River while I was descending to it. Around this time, I was sick to my stomach, which I thought was just because of the heat and caffeine, but drinking Nuun instead of water fixed it. Considering how I'd had upset stomachs from too much Nuun and not enough water, this was a real change of pace. I guess I just need to find a happy medium.

I had to pace myself on the road from Franklin to Black Diamond because of the grade and the heat, but was relieved to finally hit the descent into town. I made a pledge to make sure I would stay away from caffeine at this point, since it's been causing me trouble for too long on recent rides.

SR-169 was plenty fine between Black Diamond and Maple Valley, though there were some short sections without shoulders. Once in Maple Valley, I made my way to the Green to Cedar Rivers Trail.

And then I took the trail all the way to the Cedar River Trail. One really nice bit about this trail is how it's largely shaded, so I finally got the relief I'd been needing for hours.

At the Cedar River Trail, I hung a left and headed towards Renton.

I did have to stop a couple of times due to overheating, unfortunately. I got water at one of the stops using a faucet I hadn't been expecting at a local park.

It was thankfully pretty uneventful from Renton to Rainier Beach aside from needing to stop to recover from the heat. Unlike a past ride, there wasn't a light rail crash that forced a long wait at the station, either. I did have to hold my bike up inside the car, though, because there was luggage in the area where the bicycle hook is.

Part 3: Return Home

From the University District Station to home was a straight shot. It was definitely cooler in Seattle than it was where I'd been earlier, which I really needed.

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