Oh Seattle, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
Actually, the other day I had about 250 reasons to love the place that I live, one for each kilometer of the gorgeous ride that I took. Less than 24 hours after the slop-fest that was my last CX race, I was able to take a stunning ride from my front door, crossing islands and skirting the water, in beautiful, crisp, fall weather. Seriously, where else in the country can you do something like that? (Don't try to answer that. It's rhetorical.)
After riding to the ferry terminal and hopping on the almost empty boat, I joined up with the following route. It takes you across Bainbridge Island on highway 305, which would normally suck, but there isn't much traffic at 6:30AM or so on a weekday. After a jaunt up through the Suquamish reservation, and the idyllic town of Port Gamble, you
get to have to cross the Hood Canal Bridge. It might be scenic and nice in a car, just it's always windy, glass-strewn and noisy on a bike.
From there, it's mostly scenic and pleasant back roads, many of them along the Sound, with a few detours into areas like Marrowstone Island and Gibbs Lake. One of my favorite parts of the ride is the section of the hardpack Olympic Discovery Trail that takes you into Port Townsend. It's a great way to enter the town, even if the signage leaves a bit to be desired (what bike trail doesn't?).
Port Townsend is a great place to take a break, refill your water, and get some real food in your stomach. I found plenty of solid and tasty vegetarian food, probably due to the prevalence of all the aging hippies in town. More and more, I'm realizing that the quality of my food is directly related to the quality of my longer rides.
The return leg takes you along Discovery Bay, and through "downtown" Poulsbo, before going back across the Hood Canal Bridge, and back across Bainbridge.
I did the ride as part of my ongoing R-12 quest (only 2 more months to go!), but I'd do this ride again anytime in a heartbeat. It was a little harder than most of the 200Ks I've done in and around Seattle, but it more than makes up for it with scenery. In fact, I think the images from the ride do a much better job of convincing you that this was an amazing day on the bike than any of my words could, so with that: