Sunday, June 3, 2007
1,565 Miles to Mukilteo
There's really no bad day for a ride. But, there are some days that were just made for a ride. This Saturday was just such a day. Blue sky, plenty of sunshine, some light breezes, and temps heading toward 80. For the first ride of June, it felt like we were well into our summer riding months. Meeting today at the north parking lot at Eastside Foursquare Church was Warren, Cary, Brenda, Kristin, myself, and a new rider, Bruce. After a devo and prayer, we dropped down to the Sammamish River Trail, turned north at the UW Bothell campus and rode along North Creek Parkway to 39th and then 35th which carried us to Seattle Hill Road in Mill Creek. I used to drive along 35th in 2000-2002 before we moved to Thrasher's Corner. It's amazing to see the number of new home developments that have been added along here. Fortunately, the traffic was light on this Saturday morning.
Seattle Hill Road culminates in an amazing descent as it drops into the Snohomish Valley. After a straight section where you can really pour on the gas, it sweeps to the left and hairpins to the right on a steep downhill featuring an incredible view of the lush green valley below. Once in the valley, we rolled past the Snohomish airfield where we spotted some small aircraft and an ultralight flying above. The town of Snohomish is known for it's historic downtown full of antique shops and specialty stores. To area cyclists, its known for the public restrooms on the center of 2nd Street. After our first 18 miles, this made for a good rest stop. Leaving there, we followed the Snohomish River along Lowell Snohomish River Road into Everett. This riverfront road is a great place to pop into a paceline and go fast. Even with a bit of a headwind, we still had good speed crossing the valley and then climbing up into the Lowell neighborhood of the southeast corner of Everett.
We crossed over I-5 and found our way to a nice climb through Forest Park and then rode W. Mukilteo Blvd. all the way into Mukilteo. The views of Port Gardiner and the Puget Sound were gorgeous, framed by Mount Baker to the north and the Olympic Mountains to the west. At the corner of Mukilteo Blvd. and Mukilteo Speedway, we found a fun and funky coffee shop that provided the perfect place to enjoy an iced latte, bagel, sunshine, and fellowship. I pointed out the sign on the ceiling to Warren that had showed 1,565 miles to Mukilteo. We were tired from a good ride, but it hadn't felt quite that long.
Over coffee and bagels, we chatted about recent rides and upcoming ones and planned our return route to Bothell. We decided to head down to the ferry dock and turn right to find an alternate route back to Mukilteo Blvd. that Bruce assured us was a quiet road along the water and railroad tracks. What Bruce failed to realize was the ongoing construction around the railroad tracks that required us to "portage" our bikes across the tracks in true cyclocross style. (Bruce lost his ride-leading privileges shortly thereafter.)
Despite the short bike-carry across the tracks, we did find the quiet road he spoke of. Hearing the horn of an oncoming freight train, Cary called out "Train back!" We laughed as the freighter rolled past us and we rolled away from Mukilteo. We hit Glennwood Ave. and turned south and weaved our way though neigborhoods to a light industrial area bordering the Boeing plant. From there, we grabbed Casino Ave. and then jumped on the Interurban bike trail. The Interurban Trail generally follows the route once used by the Interurban Trolley that ran from downtown Seattle to Everett from 1910 through 1939. After crossing 128th in south Everett, we rode along Cascadian Way back into Mill Creek and then rode into downtown Bothell.
Even though we had about 3200 feet of elevation gain on this 55 mile ride, the group voted to put the cherry on the top of the cycling sundae by riding up and over Norway Hill adding another 500 feet to our day's climbing. After returning to EFC around 1:30, we all agreed it had been not only a good day for riding, but a great day matched by a great route. And we discovered the sign in the coffee shop was off by about 1,509 miles.
Total Ascent: 3758 ft.
Max Elev: 566 ft.
Riders: Warren, Cary, Kristin, Brenda, Bruce, Bob H.
P.S. After sharing with Warren during the ride that somebody ought to write a "You Might Be a Cyclist If" list, I found one online. Hysterical stuff. Got one or two of your own to add?