I picked the Tolt Pipeline trail as my Saturday ride, first reason being my (wrong) assumption that it would be quite flat, and secondly, I started to miss riding my 29er hardtail on dirt. Just before leaving, I glanced at one blog describing the ride and noticed that the author had some navigation challenges and had to walk one steep incline. I quickly dismissed such nonsense and drove to a P&R just south of Woodinville on 405. It is not the western most end of the trail, that would be located another mile or so west, but this was a convenient ride start location.
|Looking west - seems hilly that way.|
The initial section started almost flat, then dropped steeply to Sammamish river valley. Before the downhill, there was a nice view of the Cascades, looking over my shoulder, I could see the panorama of Olympic Mountains.
A quick bar and I started the return leg thinking, well, I have been more or less climbing toward the mountains, so it should be net downhill coming back. Wrong! I really did not remember riding so many downhill sections, where did all the the climbs come from? At mile 22 I completely lost my legs, my speed drops from 14mph to 8, then 5. Sweat pours down the back of my neck and down my arms into the gloves. The liquid in my Camelbak is warm and disgusting. But somehow, on those few downhill sections, I recovered a bit, slurped one gel before the final brutal climb out of the Sammamish river valley and made it back.
here, 3,333 ft of climbing, I did hit 40mph on one of the whoopsies, and my wheels were not rolling for less than 5 minutes of the whole 3:12hr ride. I hope it rains tomorrow.