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SIR Spring Populaire 2017

Monday, March 13th, 2017
SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - A wet section of the BGT

A typical stretch of Spring Populaire 2017

This was the third Populaire I’ve done with the Seattle International Randonneurs and the third one where it rained. This was the rainiest of the bunch though.  The ride started 9am at Woodland Park in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.  It started drizzling a few minutes before the start and was a good steady rain by the time we reached the Burke-Gillman Trail (BGT) heading toward Golden Gardens State Park.  By around mile 15 my cue sheet had completely disintegrated. By mile 21 my bicycle computer konked out.  I pretty much relied on the fact that the route was mostly a there and back to Redmond on the BGT and trying to stick with a group of riders.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Pre-ride announcements

Pre-ride announcements

The downside of that though was that most of the ride was on rail trails.  We rode a stretch of the BGT to Golden Gardens, did the climb up to Loyal Heights, cut across to the Interurban which we rode north to the BGT Connecter.  The Connecter – which is a newly “signed route” – was one of the routes I’d worked out back when I lived on the eastside.  It features a long descent down to Lake Washington in Lake Forest Park.  A soaking wet descent on this day. Then it was pretty much the trail to the Redmond Whole Food Plaza which was a control and place for food/coffee/drying out.  I changed my socks there and grabbed some produce bags to try to keep them dry for the ride back. I also downloaded the route to my phone, but it being so wet I wasn’t sure I could really rely on the phone.  But since it was 11 miles back on the BGT I knew I was set for a while.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Randos disppearing ahead

Randos disappearing ahead on the BGT

It was a slog back on the BGT, though there was a good 20 minutes without rain.  The fresh pair of socks in their shopping bags did a good job keeping my feet dry.  I was alone most of the time, once passed by about 8 randos who’s pace was definitely outstripping mine.  The next group that overtook me, I made a point of sticking with and was able to take advantage of their surviving cue sheets and GPS to get to the finish. This last bit climbed up into Ravenna, made it’s way under I-5 and then the final climb to Phinny Ridge.  As always the ride ended at Zeek’s Pizza where I had my usual Veggie Thai pizza and a couple of pints.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Pumpkin Orange XO-1 at the finish

Pumpkin Orange XO-1 at the finish.

The rain had stopped when I left but a brutal wind out of the south (the direction home of course) had picked up. So I rode to UW and took the Light Rail to Beacon Hill. So good times all in all. Character was built.

Spring Populaire 2017 Route on RideWithGPS

Spring Populaire 2017 Route on RideWithGPS

My Photos here: SIR 2017 Spring Populaire
Ride info here: Spring Populaire
Map here: Ride with GPS map

Posted from Seattle, Washington, United States.

WTS #6 – a Rainy Ramble

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
WTS #6 - NFE at Brown Point

NFE at Brown Point

I missed out on three of the Winter Training Series rides since the last one I did, but made it to Number Six last weekend. I can only make it to the rides that I can ride to, or conveniently take public transit and for this years WTS quite a few of the rides do not fall within that criteria. That included this one, but when I mentioned that to some friends they suggested I use their car while they were in Europe.  I took them up on this offer and on a cloudy Saturday morning found myself driving to Kent. It was predicted to be overcast in the AM and cloudy in the afternoon but as I drove out there, Mount Rainier peeked out beneath the clouds. It is in it’s great late winter cloak, all soft and white with fresh snow. It was obscured but the cloud by the time I reached the starting point at the Soos Creek trailhead so I never was able to capture a photograph.

WTS #6

WTS #6 route on RideWithGPS

It was recommended that you park at a school about a half mile away as the trailhead had only a tiny parking lot. I did so and rode down to the trailhead where there turned out to be plenty of parking. There was probably fifteen or so people there, all bedecked out in their Showers Pass Jackets. As per the last time it was a mix of the Rando and Roadie crowd.  I’d arrived just a few minutes before the roll out so I checked in, used the facilities returning as the ride leader was giving the route overview. Minutes later we left right at 9:01.

WTS #6 - At the start

Sign in

The route wended it’s way through suburban Kent, working it’s way over I-5 and then to the coast just below Des Moines.   Once again not being much of a group rider I kept toward the back. After a couple of unfortunate red lights I’d lost sight of most of the group.  Of course since I use these rides as motivation to get out early and do a pre-planned route I don’t tend to worry much about. Also stopping to take photos doesn’t help you keep up with the never-leave-the-saddle crowd. So it pretty quickly was a solo ride for me and I was really pleased to do this one as it pretty much continued on with a route I’ve followed a few times from West Seattle to Des Moines.  That route I always figured continued to follow the coast to Dash Point and then turned eastward to cross the I-5 and hook up with the Green River Trail to SoDo.  Well this route more or less interested that route just a bit south of where I’ve ended it. And indeed the Dan Henry’s were on the ground and we often were following that route.

WTS #6 - Redondo Beach coastline

Redondo Beach coastline

So this route had a bunch of new territory for me which is always a major selling point.  Once we hit the coast of the Puget Sound it was a screaming descent down winding roads to Redondo Beach. Here I began stopping to take more photographs thus insuring I’d never catch up with the group.  I’d last seem them a ways ahead of me just before this descent. I also passed a roadie changing a tire, but he didn’t require any assistance so I rode on.  It was pretty much all clouded up now and one could see darker rain clouds rolling in from the south.  The route hugged the coast and there was several really stiff climbs followed by curvy descents. Great riding.

WTS #6 - Lighthouse

Brown Point Lighthouse

I took a slight detour off the route, caused by a rather unclear direction, but it actually was a better choice as it stayed on the coast and intersected the busy road that the route used a bit further on. This busy road took me to Dash Point and while it was pretty trafficked there was a terrific section that was all winding and mostly down hill.  Back in the woods, with peekaboo views of the coast I passed Dash Point State Park. I stopped for a photo and while I did so the roadie who’d had the flat passed me by. Taking my time!  Anyway I didn’t really check out the State Park but noted it had camping – I’ll have to do an overnighter here sometime. From Dash Point it was more ups and downs to Browns Point where I again had to leave the route to check out the Browns Point Lighthouse.

WTS #6 - Port of Tacoma across the sound

Port of Tacoma across the Sound

Browns Point is in Tacoma, the first time I’ve ridden into that city (though only on the margins here). However at this point the route climbed up from this coast and turned eastward into Federal Way. The highlight here was riding on the BPA Trail which I hadn’t been on before. This was no flat rail trail; no it is a power line trail that cut due east following whatever the terrain did. Unlike most power line trails it was fully paved, though there were lots of dirt and gravel “cut-offs” throughout. 

WTS #6 - On the BPA trail

On the BPA trail

At the end of the trail it was just a little bit though edge city until I made my way under I-5.  Here I was right by the old Weyerhaeuser Headquarters which is a famously green building (even if the company isn’t) and is another place I’ve seen only from the road and have long been curious about. It had began to drizzle around the time I exited the BPA trail and at this point was a fairly steady rain. Pretty good gusts of wind from the Southeast too as that flag demonstrates.

WTS #6 - Old Weyerhouse building

Old Weyerhouse building

After working my way around the Weyerhaeuser campus and there was some bits through far exurbia and then a long descent back down to the Rainier Valley and shortly into Auburn. I stopped at the Auburn transit center and ate some lunch that I had brought with me.  Now I was back into rather familiar territory. The Interurban (South) trail runs through Auburn and you turn off here for many rides in Southeast King County. WTS #6 followed the route to Flaming Geyser State Park which I’ve ridden to two or three times. The bulk of this time is spent on Green Valley Road and it was steady rain and wind that whole time.  Out here in the valleys and foothills there is a lot of signs of spring’s imminent arrival. The Green River (and later Soos Creek) was swollen and pushing outside it’s banks, there was standing water in many a farmers fields. Today’s rain wasn’t slowing that process down.

Exiting the Green River valley involves some quality climbing, the last real climbing of this ride.  Once I finally crested the valley walls it was a pretty short stint to Black Diamond where I stopped at the bakery. I ingested some calories, changed to a dry pair of socks and pretty shortly continued on my way. From Black Diamond it pretty much is all down hill / rolling hills to Kent. This was mostly on the Kent-Black Diamond road, which has a good should but is pretty busy.  But it was fast riding, though again raining the while time.  Finally I popped onto the Soos Creek Trail which I rode back to the trailhead where it all started. Another first time on a trail for me, this one is a real gem. In wooded green space the whole route, with the (flooding) Soos Creek and wetlands among the trees and fields it went through.  Not a really long trail but a great one. Still I was happy to reach the end and ride the short distance to where I was parked.

Total distance ridden: 109km
All my photos from this ride are here: WTS #6 Album.

Posted from Kent, Washington, United States.

Rainy February Ride

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Rainy Ride - Trees

Trees on Lake Washington

It’s been quite some time since my last point and while there is a backlog of things I should have put some work into there hasn’t been much of interest going on.  The winter doldrums perhaps, hindering rides and blogging past glories.  There are a couple of events that happened at the tail end of 2013 that I should revisit: we shall see.  Anyway the weather this winter has been pretty… variable, running from sub-freezing, clear days in January, to a couple of days of light snow to the more recent couple of weeks of rain and wind. The general malaise and this weather has kept me indoors even when I’ve been aching for ride.  So this weekend I finally just bit bullet and headed out on Sunday a bit after noon (happy that the days are getting long enough that one can leave 12:30-ish, put in a 4-5 hour ride and be home before dark). Since it was close to lunch time I’d packed a lunch and rode to Luther-Burbank Park on Mercer Island for a winter picnic.

Rainy Ride - Luther Burbank Park

View from my picnic table

It had rained a bit early, but when I set out it was just a fine mist. That didn’t last and by the time I reached the park it was drizzling. I found a picnic table with one end under a tree and had my lunch. I then took pictures of the lake and my bicycle before I set out. These pictures were the only ones I took on this ride.  I had decided that I wanted to ride on May Valley Road which heads east through suburbia and then farmland around Cougar Mountain. It intersects with the Issaquah-Hobart Road which rides between Cougar and Tiger Mountain into Issaquah. From there it is the I-90 “trail” (mostly on roads at this juncture) back to the I-90 Bridge where it returns to being a trail and I close my loop. This map is pretty much my route except that I started/ended a a couple miles west of Leschi.

Leschi-May Valley-Issaquah Loop

More or less my route

It was raining pretty steadily when I left the park and it pretty much rained for the rest of my ride. It increased and decreased in intensity but it was pretty much steady rain the whole time.  I got pretty soaked due to waiting overly long before putting on my rain gear.  May Valley Road is really beautiful in the summer as it descends out of the Newport hills into farmland but was pretty bleak in the winter.  It was really flooded in the farmland in the valley center and while there are signs of spring everywhere (cherry trees, bulbs sprouting up and so on) it was pretty dreary. Interestingly all the various parks and trailheads I passed were packed with people – it’s reached that part of winter when people long to be out of doors.  The roads were a lot more trafficked than I expected. I guess it’s used as a way to get from around Issaquah to around Renton bypassing I-90. But kind of unfortunate.  Anyway what with the rain and such I pretty much only stopped once post-lunch and I never did take out my camera again.

Rainy Ride - Atlantis

Atlantis in the rain

One last thing worth noting is the updates to the Atlantis since I last posted. At the front of the bicycle you can see my new Busch & Muller Luxus-U LED light.  I completely redid the wiring when I put this on, running the heavy duty Schmidt cable to my rear light.  I have to say the light lives up to the hype and while I haven’t tested out the recharging aspect I expect that to work well. Thus this will be the third and hopefully the last charging system I’ve set up. The light is nice and bright and it’s integrated battery really is a nice feature. The light and taillight turn right on with even minimal movement and the stand light is of course appreciated. The only downside is that the wire on the attached switch/USB port is too short to reach from the front of the rack to the h’bars. I’ve got it mounted on my front basket which is okay, but really that should have been something one could get in different lengths.

On the rear of the bicycle is a new saddlebag courtesy of Rivendell: a medium Sackville SaddleSack. My previous saddlebag is in need of some repair and since I need it for commuting I picked up this one.  This is the third saddlebag I’ve gotten from Rivendell in this size range and I have to say it’s gotten better each time.  Their bags are improved in every iteration based on the usage of a group of riders who use them daily.  I’ve only had this a couple of weeks now but I’m pretty pleased with it.

A few more pics from this ride can be found here: Rainy Ride

Posted from Mercer Island, Washington, United States.

Autumn leaves

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Autumn Leaves

 

only reflections –
walking in the rain

Posted from Bainbridge Island, Washington, United States.

Flowers in the rain

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Autumn Macro Flowers

 

dripping wet flowers,
shine out
under grey autumn skies

Autumn Bicycle Camping Day 4

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Autumn Bicycle Camping Day 4 - Atlantis in the fog

Atlantis in the wind and rain

 
October 12th: In which the weather turns for the ride home
I was awoken before dawn by wind and rain buffeting the tent. I’d been pretty closely watching the weather for this trip and while it was forecasted to rain on this day it wasn’t supposed to start until later. So I figured I’d be able to pack up, make breakfast and such before it really got started. Not the case it turned out. In fact the weather forecast was pretty much wrong for every day after the first (not a huge shock that). It was supposed to be sunny or partially sunny every day and then clouds move in Thursday night and rain Friday morning. Instead it was cloudy pretty much after the first night and started raining maybe 4am.
 
Autumn Bicycle Camping Day 4 - View from camp

View from camp

 
After packing up my wet gear and making breakfast in the rain I retreated to the campground bathroom to change into foul weather gear. I set off right around 9am in a steady rain with wind off the ocean blowing me home. The route was the same that I used riding in all the way to way to hwy 107. I did ride the trails that I’d seen in Aberdeen both along the dike and then behind playfields and into suburban woods to Cosmopolis. These were nice, flat, pretty new trails. It rained steadily this whole time and was pretty chilly. However in my rain coat and pants I was comfortable enough. The route back diverged on hwy 107 – I rode north-ish into Montesano just past where my previous route had joined 107 from those backroads post the gravel section. I’d reached Montesano around noon and stopped for lunch at the ever popular Subway.
 
Autumn Bicycle Camping Day 4 - Bicycle Path to Cosmopolis

Bicycle Path to Cosmopolis

 
After lunch I struck off eastward on roads that paralleled hwy 12 for a fair piece. I’ve ridden this stretch a couple of times before but it turned northeastward after a dozen miles or so and from here it was new routes until  I finally intersected hwy 101. I’d cooled down during the lunch break and it seemed that the wind had shifted and I was riding into it a bit. This caused me to become quite cold for maybe an hour or so.  It’d been pretty flat so far but as I rode beyond Elma on backroads it began to climb a bit. This helped warm me up and I was comfortable enough for the rest of the ride.  There are a lot of low density housing out here – farms but also just houses on large lots.
 
Autumn Bicycle Camping Day 4 - silo

Silo

 
The houses thinned out and there was more farms for a spell and then I was in some hillier forestland. The rain was not just a heavy mist and as I came out of the trees into the valleys these hills were hidden behind tendrils of fog. I rode up a long valley going pretty directly north and then southeastwards on the other side of the valley! I was now quite near hwy 101 and had been on some of these backroads before. A familiar Dan Henry that marks a route that wends all around Olympia and it’s surrounding enviorns appeared and I knew I was nearing home.
 
Autumn Bicycle Camping Day 4 - fog in the valley

Foggy valleys near Mud Bay

 
The frontage roads ran out and I rode a few miles on hwy 101. I’ve ridden this stretch before and with it’s big shoulders it’s no big deal. Still I was happy to exit onto Steamboat Island Road and take backways down into Mud Bay. From there its a long, long climb up to West Olympia – a route I’ve now ridden many times. Drizzle was picking up again as I rode into town a bit after 4pm. I stopped at a grocery store to get some soup and then down into Olympia and back up toward the capitol where I live. I made it home around 4:45 and unloaded under grey, drizzly skies. I was happy to take a bath and eat some hot soup!
 
Autumn Bicycle Camping Day 4 - Riding down to Mud Bay

Backroads to Mud Bay

 
So a pretty long days ride in the rain, but mostly fine and I do enjoy how fresh it is to ride in the rain and the mysterious layer that fog adds to everything. It’s pretty steadily rained since I got back so I’m glad I got in this last trip. This year I camped in April and October – the earliest and latest camping trips I’ve done.
 
I ended up riding 73.2 miles today.
The total distance ridden for this trip was 172.2 miles
All my photos of this trip can be found on Flickr: Autumn Bicycle Camping

Posted from Olympia, Washington, United States.