Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thank you, California, for The Triple R!

Or, as I found online, "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" of high pressure. While the RRR is causing a real trouble in California (nobody who reads Steinbeck should be even mildly surprised, though), we are enjoying a dry, sunny and warm weather here in and around Seattle.
Case in point, Saturday January 23rd, 52 degrees Fahrenheit. In the mountains! I drove to Tiger Mountain for a trail run, wearing shorts, but also a long sleeve jersey, a vest, hat and gloves (you know, just in case, it is winter after all). I decided to run trails around East Tiger, this is the side of the 4-summit mountain where we go mountain biking in the summer.

I ran the Iverson Railroad trail to the TMT, a mild climb for about 3-4 miles. Then I came out of the woods into a logged clearing and here, the sun hit me with full force. In a short time, I felt like a chicken on a grill.
Luckily, I soon entered a cooler forest, but the trail, instead of being spongy and wet, was very dry and needles and small branches made cracking sounds under the soles of my Hokas. Very weird. I got lost a little bit and by mistake plunged down Hobart Grade to a treacherous creek crossing and realized I was scrambling up a wrong mountain about half mile later. Back to the intersection, I wondered how could I have possibly missed the TMT sign, since it was about 3x3" big, made of wood perfectly matching the tree it was bolted to and about 7 feet up above the trail. The 15 mile Railroad trail eventually connected to the East Tiger trail, which was absolutely wonderful. When East Tiger intersected Preston Railroad, I was in a familiar territory. This is the famous downhill we all like to bomb down on mountain bikes. The trail was all downhill, but I did not realize how difficult the footing would be on a technical bike trail. Downhill but no rest.

Nice trail work Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance! I got to sign up for one of the trail work parties, shame on me I haven't done it yet.
When the trail comes out on a fire road, you think you are almost done, but there are about 4-5 miles more from this point, first on seemingly endless fire road, but then, as a great way to the finish, the Northwest Timber Trail singletrack.
Total run time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Mileage: unknown, long enough to hurt
Elevation gain: also unknown, also hurt pretty bad
Number of people seen on trails: 2
Joy factor: high

The warm weather did not quite last through Sunday, there was lots of fog in the morning and it is quite amazing how fog makes the air feel so much colder. I took the 29er on Grand Ridge trails for my favorite lollipop ride - Grand Ridge, a loop around the Duthie Park using the "XC" rated trails and back on Grand Ridge. Lots of climbing, but the flowy trail and nice woods around compensated for my sore legs on this almost 4 hour ride. High today "only" 47F.

I wonder if people in Seattle will actually start wishing for more rain! What's the world coming to?

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