An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

The highs and lows of a long-ish ride

I work a flexed schedule so that I can take my daughter to school and pick her up on alternating Fridays. With the weather forecast calling for nice weather this past Friday, I figured I'd take my bike with me and just spend the day riding some roads I don't get to very often (in some cases not since I was in college) and maybe get some off-pavement riding in with the Surly Cross Check.

Theme for the day: Water!
The view from the start of
the ride - water in the air!
Curious onlookers. And no,
the lens was clean...
So at about 8:00 Friday morning, I pulled into the gravel parking area along the Green River near the Neely Mansion and Green Valley Meats. This is the site of the start for the first several Ice Breaker time trials I did many years ago. Green Valley Road follows along the Green River towards Flaming Geyser Park, trapped in a valley until you get to that park. This also traps in the fog... 

Finally, SUNSHINE!
I was on the road by 8:30, heading up river. It was a chilly 39 at the start, but the forecast promised warmer temps and sunshine, so I dressed barely-warm-enough. Stopping along the way a couple times to take pictures, I made my way to my turn-off near Flaming Geyser. At this point, the road climbed out of the fog and into sunshine - a very welcome sight.
Near my turn off Green Valley.

Cascades at my back, this
farm is nestled into a
beautiful area.
Making my way into Black Diamond, then over the ridge to Ravensdale, where the old Wheelsport Wednesday TT series started, I decided to take the Lake Retreat loop (the old 10-mile TT route, and also the loop for the very old Rainbow BAR road race series). This loop took me back to the very foothills of the Cascades. On one side, this beautiful farm with rolling landscape. Turn around, and the mountains take off right away.

Back into Ravensdale, the over the next ridge to Landsburg, where the Cedar River Trail starts. This rail-trail conversion runs all the way to Renton at the south end of Lake Washington, with the upper section unpaved. But don't be put off by the lack of pavement - with the 28mm tires on the sand and gravel, I was able to maintain close to road speeds. Most of the way, this surface was smoother than some of the paved roads I'd already ridden on... And the Cross Check behaved beautifully.
The Cedar River,
barely in its banks

Into Maple Valley, I checked the watch and figured I had ample time to put in some miles towards Renton (now on the paved part of the trail) before lunch. I turned around about half way to Renton, then took the unpaved part of the trail toward Lake Wilderness, then hit Witte Road out toward Lake Sawyer. I stopped at the Subway for some sustenance, then spent a little time looking around and gabbing at Bike Masters, a shop that's been at the Covington shopping center for about a year and a half (my first visit to this shop).

Gnosh, Subway style.
A mostly-downhill run back to the Green River turn off got me back to my car... And this: a broken out passenger side window, a stolen backpack that had about $300 of riding clothes in it along with my wallet... No cash, fortunately, but I then spent the rest of the day closing out credit card accounts and arranging replacements. All total about $550 in stolen property and car damage... Not to mention the damage to my hope for humanity.
Thieves suck.

It's probably a very good thing I didn't catch the person who did this... I'd be rotting in a jail cell about now on assault charges.

But it's been a couple days, I've gotten a couple more rides in, and I've mostly shaken off the pissy attitude. Now I'm checking on a replacement for the backpack... The only one I have now doesn't fit everything I need for riding to work!

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