Fall Rides in the PNW

The weather on Saturday and Sunday this past weekend could not have been more different. On Saturday, a big windstorm brought down trees, knocked out power, and even closed the HWY 520 floating bridge for a short time. Tweets rolling in from friends up north doing Border Clash confirmed how inhospitable it was outside.  However, just as quickly as it blew in, it was gone, and I awoke Sunday to sunshine, blue skies, and a crisp, fall air.

Eager to get out and enjoy the weather for a couple of hours (there are no weather guarantees outside of Jul-Sep in the PNW), I caffeinated, kitted up, and headed out into the sunshine. Downtown Seattle was still sleeping and I cruised through empty streets just as overachieving Seahawks’ tailgaters were getting set up. Smells of barbecues being fired up hung in the air and friendly banter between neighboring parties provided a soundtrack to my quiet mind on this morning.

As I wove through neighborhoods on the outskirts of Seattle, the scene was much the same. Quiet streets save for a few dogs and their humans. The peace and quiet was almost meditative. It seemed like even cyclists were sleeping in this morning. Either that, or I missed the memo. Maybe cyclists were staying off the roads because of the prior day’s storm? Sure, the side of the road was full of debris, but aside from that, it had been smooth sailing for the majority of my ride.

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That changed when my route put me on one of the regional trails. Suddenly wide open roads were covered by a layer of wet leaves with some gnarly looking branches hidden underneath or sticking out just enough that my spokes probably creaked with fear. The twigs and branches were equal opportunity hunters – be it aero spokes, or double butted spokes, they didn’t look like they would discriminate this morning.

Twigs and broken branches lie prone waiting for their prey beneath a fresh layer of leaves from Saturday’s wind storm.

I maneuvered through the leaves and twigs as if the empty trail was a slalom course and I was a downhill skier, the leaves whispering as i rode over them. And then I was clear. Back on black tarmac free of debris and with a slight tailwind, I clicked down a couple of cogs and started making my way back towards the city. 

 looking back towards Bellevue on the Seattle side of the I-90 bridge. Quite a different picture from Saturday.

looking back towards Bellevue on the Seattle side of the I-90 bridge. Quite a different picture from Saturday.

Heading across I-90, a calm Lake Washington was a stark contrast to the white caps I had seen yesterday. As I descended into the International District, the city was now alive with people headed to the game, to brunch, and other destinations.  What a difference a couple of hours makes.

 

DISTANCE: 33.5mi

DURATION: 1h 53m 08s

AVG SPEED: 17.8mph

 

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