Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hills of the West Coast Report: Is Seattle a Destination Resort?

Miles: 60 Climbing: 3450’ Route: Issaquah—Fall City—Snoqualmie—Tokul Road—396th—North Bend—Rattlesnake Lake—396th—Mill Pond—Snoqualmie—Fall City—Issaquah Participants: 6 Attrition Rate: 1

More tourists must be visiting Seattle this Memorial Day weekend, or at least more than the number of locals who have left town. Maybe this is because Seattle is so much nicer than many other places in the US. There was definitely more traffic today than on any other Memorial Day Sunday HOWC in the past, at least in one area.

I’d been looking forward to taking the ride up to North Bend and then the climb to Rattlesnake Lake. Since moving to Issaquah, this has become one of my super favorite routes:

Of course, I had only ridden up to the lake during the week and there had hardly been a car in sight. I suspected things might be different on the weekends, but I figured Memorial Day weekend would be a good time to check out weekend traffic; doesn’t everyone leave town? Doh! It appears that everyone goes to Rattlesnake Lake to boat, hike, or picnic. Two of us (I was one of them) turned around part way up the climb, as the traffic just made us uncomfortable. It’s not that it was dangerous, but it’s an up and back climb and given the option I decided I’d just rather not do it today.

We waited for our friends at the Cascade Golf Course, which is situated at the bottom of the climb up to the lake. Back in the day, I used to play a lot of competitive golf, but it’s been eight years since I have even hit a golf ball, much less played a round. Until I walked around the corner of the pro shop at Cascade, I don’t think I’d had a golf thought in my head for years. Around the corner I went, and there was the course, all green and tranquil looking. At that instant, I knew that I would return to playing golf some day. It’s funny how life really is cyclical. Speaking of cycles, I used to ride the motorized version, but now it’s all about the bicycle for me.

One of the other little highlights of the day was our mini-peloton catching and dropping a rider near Mt. Si who was riding a full-bore S-Works time trial bike. No, he didn’t look like he was going all out at the final day Giro TT, but he was taking fairly frequent looks back at us as we were catching him. He knew we were coming to get him! I’ve never ridden a TT bike, but I’m told that a fully decked out aero bike is worth 2-3mph once you get above 20 on the flats.

I plan on riding to Rattlesnake Lake often, but I may be doing it during the week only. I’ll give it one more chance with the HOWC. If it doesn’t feel right, instead of taking our break up top at the Rain Bongos at the Cedar River Watershed Center, we’ll hang out at Cascade Golf Course.

I plan on riding on Memorial Day tomorrow like I do just about every year. Normally, the morning traffic is quite light. I think I’ll leave a little earlier than I usually do.

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