Drat Pack

Had a great mountain bike ride with Ellen at Tokul West on Friday and although I wan't planning on getting in another ride this weekend on account of work, I decided latch onto a group setting out to ride Kachess Ridge on Sunday morning. Kachess is one of my favorite trails: 5 mile dirt road warmup alongside a lake, then a 5 mile climb with about 2800 feet of elevation gain to the main trailhead. From there it's about 8 or 9 miles of technical cross-country singletrack with a couple of stream crossings and plenty of rocky switchbacks to keep you on your toes.

The only problem was that it was cold and rainy at the parking lot and, dammit, it's July! We wanted sun! So we threw a mutiny and, I having been the only one in the group to have ever ridden Kachess Ridge was able to convince the ride leader Brian that it was going to be freezing and miserable on the ridge and that we ought to head further east to the sunshine. After some debate about going to Taneum Ridge or Esmeralda Basin, we settled for Rat Pac. It wasn't too much further and had the benefit of being in Roslyn. Which meant we can get some food and beers in the little old mining town where "Northern Exposure" was filmed. Having never watched the show, this latter fact was lost on me, but I didn't mind staying closer to home.

I've heard pretty positive reviews about Rat Pac but have to say that I don't see what the attraction is. There's a lot of gravel road and double-track climbing to get to some blink-and-you-missed-it singletrack descents. The trails all pretty much just snaked down the hillside with big high bermy walls that you could ride up during the switchbacks and there were a few good whoops, but there really wasn't anything special about it. Many of the trails bore signs with black diamonds and yellow circles on them, alerting to you to the all-too sketch trail tech features that had been assembled with the leftover props from the Blair Witch Project. A couple guys rode one or two of the TTFs but for the most part we all just looked at them funny and figured they would fall apart if you even stood next to them.

The one good part about the ride was that the supposed "three mile road climb" was only 1.5 miles, which was good because the lone guy who knew the way had completely busted his chain and for various singlespeed-related reasons couldn't fix it after 40 minutes of trying. So he was pushing. And we were waiting. Afterwards we did hit up the Roslyn Brewery for a pint of their lager and then the Roslyn Cafe for an embarrasingly small pulled pork sandwich (tasty, but tiny).

We did have much better weather east of the mountains and the sun, temps, and light breeze made it feel like a beautiful early September afternoon. Which reminds me, Seahawks training camp started this weekend! Won't be long now!

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