Yesterday I had one of those amazing summer days that make you feel awesome to be alive - and have no regrets on how you spent the day.
Ryan climbs at Lil' Si and has been working on numerous hard routes. He headed out to North Bend after work and I decided to ride out there and meet him. I've done this ride before - but decided to do some exploration this time and try to avoid any congested roads at the height of traffic. Boy was I in for a treat.
Usually I head out and follow I-90 till Issaquah and then follow Lake Samamish till the Home Depot and head up this 11% grade monster hill to intersect Issaquah/Fall City Road. Then I meander on some back country roads and eventually end up in Fall City, then follow 203 into Snoqualmie. But I wanted to avoid the 11% grade because there's no shoulder and often cars zoom next to you, nearly bumping the handle bars on their daily commute home. They're usually not too happy that a cyclist is sharing the road - and they let you know.
I stopped in downtown Issaquah at the Fire Station and asked the fellas for the safest way up to the plateau and it turns out all I had to do was follow Sunset. They did mention the road was super narrow in the this one section and slightly dangerous - but that's nothing new. Luckily when I approached the area they were talking about there was a nice barricaded shoulder and trial system. I was stoked. Then it turns out I found the Cedar River Trail - a nice railroad grade packed gravel road that parallels 90 through a thickly forested area. It was beautiful and totally unexpected. Had I not been worried about getting a pinch flat with my skinny little road tires, I would have stopped longer and smelled the roses.
Once you exit the trail it kicks you onto this amazing meandering country road into Preston. From Preston I followed the Preston/Fall City Road and it had a nice shoulder. Cars were traveling a little fast but I wasn't buzzed - as it seems most of the people on this road aren't uptight Seattlites. :)
203 from Fall City into Snoqualmie was a little sketchy - only because they just paved the area and have yet to mark the lanes. There's a great climb from the valley floor to Snoqualmie Falls and then it's pancake flat from there into North Bend. The weather rocked yesterday - 72 degrees and not too hot.
Once I got to the trail head I popped my bike on the racks and then made the 25 minute trek up to the climbing area. What an incredible day of hanging out in the forest - away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We stopped in North Bend for some food and beer around 10pm - a nice way to wrap up an unexpected kick ass day.
On a side note - the other night I was doing my core exercises and got stung by a bee! In my own house! Son of a biscuit!