...this is the kind of stuff I'd post on it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hood Canal Loop 200K

After having a great time on the January leg of my R-12 quest, I signed up for another 200K permanent, this time over on the Olympic Peninsula, on President's Day (note to Presidents: thanks for the day off)

I rolled out of bed around 4:30, hoping to catch the 6:00 ferry to Bainbridge Island, where the route started.  I stepped outside to find the thickest, soupiest fog I've ever seen in my 10+ years of living in Seattle.  I had to creep down off of the hill I live on at something probably approaching 5 mph (I couldn't see my bike computer, that's how foggy it was).  Thankfully, I'd left extra time to get to the ferry terminal from my house, since I ended up having to ride super-slow and take nothing but sidestreets.

In case you ever wondered who takes a weekday early-morning ferry AWAY from Seattle, I've got an answer for you:  NOBODY.  The ferry was nearly empty, leaving me to contemplate more important things like breakfast and coffee:

The sun was coming up as I started the ride, but fog that it shone through managed to stick around until well into the afternoon.  Fortunately, I was still able to see the ridiculously picturesque beauty of the Olympic Peninsula underneath the layers of fog and clouds:

I stopped for some sustenance at a great little bakery/cafe in Chimacum, called On Common Grounds.  Everything I tasted there was delicious (and not just because I was hungry).  I was also surprised to see that they had a lot of vegan and gluten-free items.  I'm not vegan anymore, nor do I have a gluten sensitivity, but it's cool that some place in the (relatively) middle of nowhere has that sort of selection.  I'll have to make a point of going back there again.

Sometime after lunch, as I climbed higher towards Walker Pass in the Olympic National Forest, the fog began to clear, and the views got even better.  There were a few times during this section of the ride where I actually got goosebumps looking at the scenery.  I sometimes feel spoiled living in Seattle, sandwiched between two mountain ranges, and surrounded by countless bodies of water.

I've already told a few of my cycling buddies that we need to head out to the Peninsula again so I can ride some of these roads again.  I'm sure that I'll be wanting to do this permanent again too, especially since it can be ridden in the both directions.

On a quick equipment note, I couldn't get over how wonderful the Grand Bois Cerf tires that I raved about in a previous post were.  They made this ride so much more comfortable and enjoyable, it's amazing.  I floated over the chip seal sections of the ride like I was riding a tire much wider than 28mm, and I kept thinking "this can't be 80psi, maybe I read the gauge wrong."  In short, these tires are now essential to my happiness as a cyclist.

I felt really good on this ride, and I made pretty good time to the Bremerton ferry terminal, getting there just before dark.  After chatting with a guy who'd just cycled to Bremerton from Olympia on a fixie, wearing a sweaty cotton t-shirt and iPod headphones (yikes!!), I laid down on one of the ferry benches and promptly fell asleep. I can barely get a good night's sleep in my own bed, at night, in total silence, so I'm amazed at how quickly and completely I slept on that ferry.  I awoke with a start, noticing that most people had gotten off the ferry, and I had to sprint down to the dock to grab my bike.  We all know what happens when a bike looks like it's abandoned on the ferry.

The route:

After riding home from the ferry, my total distance on the day was 231 km (143.5 miles).  Not too shabby.

2 down, 10 more to go.


  1. Nice! One of my favorite routes. I'm a big fan of the coffee shop in Chimacum too.

  2. Congrats on the 200k+. Sounds like a great day. I rode some of that route on my ride to Port Townsend and back last weekend. I followed the SIR cue sheet but just kept going up 19 at Chimacum. Beautiful scenery all around.