Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's the Most Adventurous Gravel Ride of the Year...

There were mud bogs to slog through, and bushes to whack you, but we had lots of fun--it's the most adventurous gravel ride of the year! (You all know the tune, right?)

Today's ride was brought to us by Joy Ride Bikes. It was off schedule in that it was Saturday instead of Sunday. There was a great mix of riders, including 3 on mountain bikes (2 of which were singlespeed), for a total of 13 adventurous souls. There were just four of us gals--me, Karen, Jean, and a new gal, Katie. Since Karen was able to come, I didn't have to ride up to the meeting place (Skep and Skein). I only had to ride to Karen's.

The group headed to Delphi, then up Cedar Flats and Maple Valley to Capitol Forest. We rode up B-8400 as usual. What was not usual was that I wasn't last! That's right! I...was...not...last!!! We continued up and over to the Rock Candy Mtn. Trailhead. From there we crossed Hwy 8 and headed, on the pavement toward Summit Lake (one of the guys left us and headed home via Hwy 8).

Just after the Boy Scout Camp we turned onto the Summit Lake Shore Rd. Just a short way up the road we went under a gate, and back onto the gravel. We rode for a couple of miles on this nice gravel road. Then we came to the beginning of the singletrack (okay, I'm not sure it could be considered singletrack. That would imply that bikes regularly travel this way. I don't think so. I think it was really just a hiking trail. Although we were able to ride short bits, mostly we walked the half mile or so to Kennedy Falls. Of course, the mountain bikes were able to ride more than those of us on our gravel bikes.

There were lovely sections of muddy bogs with slippery logs. We did our best to not sink in the mud, but I will say my gaiters have never been so dirty! Soon, we could hear the sound of the falls. When we got to Kennedy Falls, some of the guys walked down closer to the water. Most of us stayed up above.
The Falls from the safety of above.
Below the Falls.

We took some time to snack, take photos, and admire our accomplishments of making it to the falls. 
Karen and Jean.
Derik, Dusty, and Bill (fondly referred to as "T-shirt Bill" for obvious reasons).
Derik trying some new kind of helmet accessory.

At first the plan was to go back the way we came. The trail did continue, but no one really knew how far it was back to the road. However, phones were consulted, and it was decided we would take our chances and continue on instead of going back the way we came. Afterall, "the road was just over there!" Once again we did more walking than riding. Then, it was more bushwhacking than trail. Finally, a couple of guys walked ahead to do a little scouting. They went up a ridge, but it looked like we were going to have to turn around. Upon further scouting in a different direction, the actual trail was found. Funny thing was that we still ended up having to hike-a-bike, and we ended up going up the ridge anyway. At least we were on a semblance of a trail.

Finally, we found the road. We rode for a short time before coming to an intersection. More phone consultation determined the way to go was left. A good sign we were headed back to civilization was when we passed some people walking up the road we were coming down. Eventually, we came out to Old Olympic Hwy. When we got to where we would turn onto Hwy 101, we decided to have just a little more adventure. There is a short section where the old highway continues parallel to 101. I've always wondered where, and how far it went. Turns out, not too far before it turns into more of a trail, and climbs up. We turned around deciding to save that adventure for another day.

From there we just rode 101 back to the Steamboat Island exit. One of the guys got a flat, so we stopped while that was fixed. Then it was down Madrona Beach Rd. to Mud Bay, and back up the hill into town. 

We ended up doing about 31 miles. It was one of the best gravel rides so far! Of course, it helped that for the first time, it wasn't raining!

Here's a collage of photos Ron Jones took. Notice the one of us bushwhacking. The group shot is when we finally found the road.

Who knows what the next gravel adventure will be???

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