Saturday, May 25, 2013

Zero Freeway Miles

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us. Debbie and I had originally planned to ride up Mt. St. Helens on Sunday. However, the weather did not look good for a ride up a mountain, so we cancelled. Instead, we seemed to do nearly as much climbing (just not for endless miles) overall as if we had done the mountain ride. 

I heard from fellow teammate, Maria, that it was now possible to go north to Tacoma without going on the freeway. I'd been wanting to check out that possibility. Previously, the only way involved a 3/4 mile ride on I-5 from Mounts Rd. to Center Drive. It was not that bad, except it could be problematic if there was heavy truck traffic exiting at the weigh station between Mounts Rd. and Center Drive. But, it would be great to completely eliminate the freeway. Even better, would be a way that only bikes could access. 

Well, I'm happy to say there is, indeed, now a way! It is due to more houses being built in Dupont. So many, that the housing development now reaches all the way to Mounts Rd. All the cyclist need do is ride over the freeway on Mounts Rd to the Dupont neighborhood. There is a fence separating the neighborhood from the road, but they have been so kind as to leave an opening wide enough for bikes to pass through. 

From the fence, it is a good climb up, appropriately named, Hoffman Hill Blvd. Hoffman Hill comes out   McNeil St. From there it is a straight shot to downtown Dupont. However, we didn't need to go that far. We were headed to Dupont-Steilacoom Rd. I had noticed the latest Rapsody ride had used this route (saw the Dan Henrys). It makes me think this non-freeway route has been available for awhile. Hmmm...I think I rode on the freeway last summer on my way to Canada when I didn't need to! Anyway, I noticed the Rapsody route turned onto Bob's Hollow Rd. (now there's an interesting name!). We also made the turn. That took us to a bike path, which then took us over to Center Dr. at Palisades Rd. I'd say this is a fabulous way to get to Dupont without going on the freeway! It is a wee bit longer, but worth it!

As for the rest of the ride, Debbie and I rode to Pt. Defiance Park. I took her the nicer way along Vassault. We did the 5 Mile loop around the park, then came back up Pearl in order to get some lunch at Subway. We made it back as far as North Gate Rd before the rain caught us (or we caught the rain). We pedaled hard, enjoying the sensation of water hitting our backsides from our fender-less bikes (okay, not really enjoying). We reversed our route back to Mounts Rd. through the neighborhood. The fact that it was raining made it extra nice to not have to endure the spray from the traffic on I-5. 

We rode a total of 80 miles, 0 of which were on the freeway! Next weekend it's back to racing. 

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