Sunday, October 28, 2007

Solo 120 km or The Tour of Cascade Foothills

Yesterday I went out for a little ramble that went something like this route: from Capitol Hill I went East to Lake Washington Blvd, then South on that until I hit Renton. From there the plan was to head East via Highway 900 out to Issaquah and to hit up Cougar & Tiger Mountains, but as soon as I saw a group of three riders that were cruising at about the same pace I was, 34-36 km/h (21-23 mph), I just had to chase them down!

Or at least try to - even though they were heading North via Lake Wa Blvd towards Bellevue, and that wasn't the planned route. No problem, I know these roads pretty well now, so a little detour is always nice. Plus, I can easily still get out to my target-climbs from Bellevue, so why not chase down some strangers that may or may not be faster than me?

Unfortunately I never caught the 'rabbits' - alas, the stop lights in Renton gave them too much of a gap and I never saw them again. The lights or my legs weren't enough, not sure which. It was still fun though, a little sprinting-for-no-reason never hurt anyone, right?

When I made it to I-90 I hopped on the trail and headed East to Issaquah, where I hit up Cougar Mountain, the 3-mile, 1,400 foot climb that makes or breaks a cyclist in these parts. This was my first go at that climb on the new Ciocc, which has a low-gear of 39x23 (~44 gear inches), a little steeper than the Eros. I made it up, and the stiffness of the frame easily evened out the steeper gear; although I can't say it was easy. The air was definitely nippy up there, and after slipping on my arm warmers I descended down as fast as safety would allow, which wasn't very fast at all - I probably topped out at 65 km/h down Cougar.

Then it was off to Tiger Mountain, about 10 km away just South of Issaquah. At the bottom of Cougar Mtn take a right on Newport Way, follow it to Front St, then take that South to Tiger Mountain Road on the left. Tiger's not a monster-climb, but at about 800 ft it's not small either. Luckily the roads were dry enough that I could blast down the 'mountain' - although I never could get much over 72 km/h (~46 mph). Guess I'll have to go over to Tolt Hill Road to really get the speedy descent I'm looking for.

Here's a profile of my 'Tour of Cascade Foothills' route (out to and including Tiger Mtn, but excluding the trip back):

I love how Cougar/Tiger Mountains put Capitol 'Hill' to shame!

Here are the ride totals:

Distance: 120 km (~75 mi)
Total Time: 5 hrs 30 minutes (my cyclo-computer reset, not sure of rolling time, it was probably something like 5 hrs)
Elevation Gain: ~4,000 ft
Road Kill Seen: three, all on May Valley Road - they must not clean it much.
Best Scenery: Mt. Baker & Lake Sammamish as viewed from the top of Cougar Mountain - that makes the pain worth it!


Anonymous said...

Damn! I can't wait to do a Saturday ride again. Maybe Bellingham for old time's sake, or the 5 Summits.


Eric Thrasher Troili.. said...

from bikesnob's blog comments..."I find the snot-rocket to the windshield is an effective retort"..

was that you..?