Sometimes it's timing, that magical rendezvous between health, want, and opportunity. This year, that is most definitely the case. Last Saturday, the back and lungs were finally healthy and not complaining about a thing, I definitely wanted to be riding, somewhere - anywhere, and the Cascade Bicycle Club picked a perfect day of sunshine and route through the Snoqualmie River Valley (near Seattle, WA) for their Flying Wheels Century. Yes! It was as if life were just waiting for this day to kick off summer cycling.
So with Jenn gracing the stoker seat and Froggy trading in his lillypad for a comfortably position navigating from stubby arrowbars, we joined our friend David to take Stealth on a flight. Funny thing was that not far from the start of the Flying Wheels in Redmond's (Washington) Marymoor Park the wheels were anything but flying. A punchy little left off of E. Lake Samammish Parkway onto pitch that left a few wheels floundering. Navigating left of the bike lane Froggy got us past the calamity of dropped chains, tipping bikes and wobbly wheelers. Nothing like a 12% gradient on Inglewood Hill Rd. to get a club ride off to a "flying" start!
After that things were lumpy for 10 miles or so, but settled into a lovely roll through the hilly country west of the town of Carnation. Most of the 4,000 or so pairs of Flying Wheels were pretty spread out after that and made the day pleasurable.
After weeks of wet weather - monsoonal at times - the day could not have been more perfect - mid 70's after a 58 degree start, crystal blue sky, and the Snoqualmie River valley bookend by Mt Rainier to the south and Mt Baker to the north. And all along the eastern skyline were the saw-tooth crest of the Central Cascades. Heck, after the rest stop at 32 miles the day even through in a pair of bald eagles doing an aerial dance just to punctuate the ride.
I would really recommend the ride to anyone wanting an wonderful rural escape from Seattle or close enough to visit for the weekend. The Flying Wheels offers the usual short (25mi), medium (45ish) and two longer loops, 65 & 100. Highly recommend one of the longer loops so you get the full swing up the Snoqualmie River Valley - great roads (especially the route back along West Snoqualmie River Road NE - no traffic and perfect road along the river - awesome!) The full century is pretty flat with only 3,000+ feet of vertical - most of that coming in a couple pitchy short climbs. This is a great tandem ride.
Thanks Cascade Bicycle Club - nicely organized and supported.