Ride Report: Ridge to Ridge

There's a new training ride entering the BBTC rotation and it's a great one. 36 miles, 3,600 feet of climbing, and plenty of time on singletrack, double-track, gravel roads, and even some asphalt. Hell no we don't discriminate! Oh, and to top it off, no cars necessary*!

I met Ken at his place at 10am and led the way down the Silent Creek trail on Snoqualmie Ridge to the Deep Creek trail which drops down to the Preston-Snoqualmie paved trail. We hung a left and battled the frigid headwind towards the town of Preston. From there, it's just two miles on High Point Road to Exit 20 off I-90 and the forest road that leads to the base of the Grand Ridge Trail. The trail had dried substantially since the last time I was on it and the hub-deep mud Ross and I encountered a few weeks ago was only rim-deep now. We suffered the first mile or so of climbing, zipped straight across the road, and continued the climb towards the new section of trail. We passed quite a few hikers and dog walkers out on the trail, but fortunately all before the fun descent. Eventually, nearing the bottom of the trail near the swamp, we came across a pair of blowdowns stacked on top of one another. "I guess I'll not try to ride this one" I said to Ken. And wouldn't you know that Dave Schuldt answered me back by suggesting I "take this saw and cut it out". Dave was off in the distance doing some trail work and heard us coming. I took the saw and tried cutting the tree but the saw wasn't big enough to make much of a dent in the tree. Ken helped him move some logs into place for a bridge, then we turned around and made the climb back up.

Once back at the top of the ridge, Ken began to question whether or not he was up for my plan to extend the ride with an out and back on the Issaquah High School Trail. But i convinced him to have some food, settle into a nice pace, and enjoy the descnent. By the time we reached the the forest road leading back to High Point Road Ken was feeling energized and was completely ready to tackle my alternate extended version of the ride. So off we went, under I-90 and up past the throngs of hikers at Tiger Mountain to the powerline trail and down and around the Issaquah High School trail to where it comes out near the community center. After a brief break, we turned around and climbed back up the Issy High School Trail, under the powerlines, and back past the Tiger Mountain trailhead to High Point Rd. From there it was back up to Preston and then a few miles along the Preston-Snoqualmie trail.

Click for composite photo of me riding up the switchbacks out of Preston.

The climb from the Preston-Snoqualmie trail back up Snoqualmie Ridge is a pretty tough climb. It's close to 500 feet of vert in about a mile and the soft woodchip substrate makes it extra squishy and zaps even more energy from you. It's a tough climb on fresh legs, and neither one of us knew how we'd fare 30+ miles into the ride. The answer was just fine, that's how. As much as we doubted our chances at making the climb dab-free, we both made it without trouble. We didn't set any land-speed records making it back up to the Ridge, but we did ride the entirety dab-free and felt pretty good about doing so.

All in all, this was a great ride. Took about 3:45 of pure saddle time and about another 60 minutes of stoppage time spent taking some photos, helping Dave, fixing a broken chain, and talking to a couple of Microsofties we ran into mtn biking the Snoq Ridge trails. The trail was frosty and crusty in places, but mostly it was just frozen with very little standing water (i.e. ice) or mud. My new winter shoes hadn't arrived yet so Ken loaned me an extra pair of neoprene shoe covers. My feet were still relatively frozen by the end of the ride, but the shoe covers definitely helped. That said, I don't think it ever did reach that promised high-temp of 42. I doubt it ever cracked the forty-degree mark. Nevertheless, it was a great training ride and I look forward to hitting this route up at least once every two weeks.

* = This comment is only applicable to those living in Snoqualmie Ridge or have the tenacity to bicyle to it.

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