Sunday, November 6, 2011

You know it's Thrilla, Thrilla Ride

Date: Nov. 6th, 2011
Distance: 21 Miles
Song of the Day: Thriller - Michael Jackson

I finally got a Sunday free. It seems like I have had plans for every weekend for the last two months. I finally got some free time to head out with some friends to go mountain biking. The plan was to go head out to Woodinville and roll the Thrilla route.

I somehow missed everyone else though. It could have been the daylight savings change, or my mistake expecting that people would be faster to get going on a Sunday morning. Either way, I was on my own.

I had a good time though. The trail was about a 20 mile loop. Mostly on dirt or gravel. It was sunny too, cold but bright. When I left there was even a bunch of shady spots that had a dusting of white frost.

The route listed on the website is complicated to say the least. At its core however are just 5 simple trails. The first is the Sammamish River Trail. It is paved, but there is a dirt and grass horse trail on the landward side of the trail.

From there you head up into the hills on the Powerline Trail, and I do mean hills. Even in my lowest gears I was spinning my tires on a few of them. Going down isn't always better either. On steep grades, you can wipe out pretty good, but I am getting better at controlling the bike without squeezing the breaks.

At the top of the hills, in the area of the Redmond watershed, were a bunch of trail runners out having a race. I had realized by this point that I was probably way out in front of anyone else I was supposed to meet with. So I stopped to wait for them and also get my bearings.

This is where the route heads onto it's third trail, the Pipeline trail. But it wasn't all that clear how to accomplish that. There were a ton of little trails that wound all over the hilltop. Eventually though reading the trail description, looking at my map, the little trail signs, and yes, a fair bit of trial and error, I found my way.

Then it was to the next trail. This is the Collins Creek trail. This was mostly a gravel horse trail through a housing development. Mostly pea gravel. Not anything that my fat tired mountain bike couldn't handle, but probably nasty on a skinny wheeled CX bike.

Then it was onto the Tolt Pipeline trail. It is basically a wide dirt road made to service and check the natural gas pipeline there. Cyclists, hikers and horse riders are also allowed on it. Cars are kept out with gates. And it is straight, but not flat. The pipeline trail rolls up and down over a couple fairly large hills. Finally dropping precipitously back down to Woodinville. That last bit is actually a bit scary. It isn't made any better by the fact there are gates set at the bottom and halfway down. Not something you want to try to navigate at full speed.

Once at the bottom, you get back to the Sammamish River Trail and finish up the loop. Not bad for a Sunday morning.


Blood and Miles

Date: November 3rd, 2011
Distance: 48 Miles
Song of the Day: I Can See for Miles - The Who

Well, another Thursday ride. Nothing too special about that. I started from West Seattle, where I have been doing some work. Then to Westlake Center to meet up with the rest of the crew. The night wasn't bad. Clear and cold, with some wind coming out of the North.

At 7:30 about 30 riders took off, heading South. We rode all the way down Rainier into Renton. Then headed off to a secret wood. Some of the folks had picked up some fire wood, so we had some heat and light to stand around. Actually too much heat. I kept backing away from the fire because it was frying the part of my legs not covered by my shorts. I never thought that I would desire pants because shorts were making me too hot.

There was one other problem with my attire. Because of the heat of the fire, I backed my unprotected leg into some nasty foliage. That blackberry got me pretty good.

After the fire started to die down. We headed out, up to Georgetown. Found a nice place indoors. No fire, but they did have a nice place to sit. After a few libations, the party broke up, and I was in for the long ride home. Seattle to Issaquah after dark is a hell of a ride. I thought this would be the first week in more that a month I hadn't done 100 miles or more. I guess I was wrong.