Saturday, April 14, 2007

Following the Red Brick Road

This weekend's ride began at Eastside Foursquare Church amid gray skies, but relatively little precipitation. Johnny D. and Bob T. showed up for the departure as we dropped down to the Sammamish River Trail. We dodged a plethora of "Team in Training" runners as we headed to 124th and climbed over the hill to Avondale and continued east toward W. Snoqualmie Valley Rd.

Before we made the turn north to Old Woodinville-Duvall Rd., Bob T. had determined in his heart one of two things: 1) he knew exactly where he was going 2) he had no idea where he was going, but he was in front and was making great time. We made the turn without him, left him a voicemail with his correct route, and then reminded him when we saw him again: "If you think you're a leader, look behind you. If there's no one following you, you're just taking a walk!"

Jay B. joined us as we turned south along W. Snoq. Valley Rd. toward Redmond. The weather was improving and this was my first time this year riding out near the Duvall/Carnation valley. Lush green pastures and old, rustic barns makes this area one of my favorites for late spring and early summer rides. I'll be back out here again.

After climbing up Ames Lake-Carnation Rd. and dropping onto Rt. 202, we picked up our pace toward the featured stretch of road for this route: The Red Brick Road. This historical road contains the longest stretch of exposed historic red brick highway in King County.

As the sun made its appearance and we experienced the bone-jarring vibrations of the bricks beneath us, I explained my reason for choosing this route. Sunday marks the return of the Paris-Roubaix spring classic road race over the muddy cobbled roads of France. This was our meager way to experience what more than a hundred professional cyclists will endure as they ride over 21 sections of "pave"--cobblestones--in typically horrible early spring weather. If the road conditions and teeth-rattling pave don't take you out, then one of the frequent crashes will.

As we concluded our ride upon red brick, I was pleased to hear from my companions that not only had they never ridden that stretch before, they had no idea it was there. I suppose next to the ride itself, what I enjoy most is sharing a new experience, landmark, or route with my fellow riders. We may not be in Paris, but some days it's easy to imagine.

What are your favorite little-known routes you've shared with others?

Dist: 45.14
Time: 3:10:15
Avg: 14.2
Max: 36.3

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