Author: Mike Hassur
5:30 AM: I’m supposed to be leaving the house, but – instead I’m in my garage looking for a quart of oil. I had checked the oil level in my van the day before while washing it and found that it was a little low. After I had arrived home after washing the van and doing some other errands, I had forgotten to add the oil. Usually, I keep a few extra quarts of oil in the garage, but they were gone. A stop at the old “Jackpot” quick shop on the way to Conor Collins’ house solved my problem, and I managed to make it to Conor’s house only about 3 minutes late. As usual, Conor was ready to go. I added the oil while Conor loaded his bike, and we were off.
|Les, Dwaine, & Conor...|
|Leaving Enumclaw: |
Les, cow, & Mt Rainier...
We met Les Becker and Dwaine Trummert in the parking lot of Enumclaw’s Safeway store. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and the temperature was already in the mid to high 40’s. Perfect weather for riding bikes in the mountains. We headed out of Enumclaw, past Mt. Peak, and up the Mud Mountain Road Climb. Conor took off up the climb; while Les, Dwaine, and I proceeded up at a brisk pace that allowed us to still appreciate the gorgeous views of Mt. Peak and the lowlands around it. That climb got rid of any early morning chill that we may have been feeling. We arrived at the intersection with Highway 410, took a right, formed a pace line, and headed toward Greenwater with Conor leading the way. Our group of four reached an unspoken agreement almost immediately – since Conor was stronger than the rest of us, he would spend much longer periods at the front of the pace line. In this way, he would get a good workout having to deal with the extra wind resistance; and we would get a good workout just trying to keep up with him!! This strategy worked great on the way to Greenwater. With Conor leading most of the way, we were passing through Greenwater in no time.
A few miles past Greenwater, we took a left on Forest Road #70. This road will be a part of this year’s RAMROD, and Dwaine and Conor had never ridden it. It is paved for the first ten miles back into the mountains to the east of highway 410. It then turns to gravel, proceeds over Naches Pass, and comes out over by Whislin’ Jack’s Resort on the other side of the mountains. RAMROD will only use the paved portion of the road, and that is what we did as well. We encountered a surprisingly large amount of traffic on this road. The motorists seemed to break down into three groups: guys who were heading out to fire their guns (there are some “natural” gun ranges in the area), families who were heading out to camp for the weekend, and people towing their ATV’s out to enjoy the
many gravel forest service roads that honeycomb the mountains in the
area. The road has some pretty
challenging climbs (up to 13-14% grade); but, thankfully, they are not very
long. After getting used to the sounds of gunfire, we made it to the end of the pavement. We talked about bringing our cyclocross bikes up here to ride the gravel roads to Naches Pass, visited with some "snowmobile folk" who were doing some off-season work in the area, and headed back toward Highway 410.
|End of FS Road #70...|
After our “up and back” ride on Forest Service Road #70, we were back on Highway 410. We headed south for a few miles and took a right onto Forest Service Road #74. This is another paved road that follows a
river back into the mountains for eight miles or so. It is now gated, so there is no traffic on
this road. This road is not ideal for
riding fast as it has accumulated a lot of debris on its surface from lack of
use, but it is interesting because it is so isolated and you have the road all
to yourself. The river next to the road
had washed out the road surface in a couple of places which forced us to
dismount and walk around those sections.
At the end of the paved section of this road, there is a bridge that
with gravel forest service roads that run up into the mountains on the
other side of the river. When we finally
made it to the bridge, we were disappointed to find that the river had eroded
away the banks on both sides of the bridge.
The bridge now spans the river, but it is not connected to anything on
either side!! It had been years since I
had been back in this area, and I had no idea that this bridge was out of
commission. That’s a shame, because there were a slew of
cyclocross rides that I had planned on creating on the other side of that
|Debris on FS Road #74...|
|Mt Rainier looming above FS Road #74|
(Click on this photo to appreciate how
large the mountain looked)...
After exploring Forest Service Road #74, it was back to Highway 410. We rode the 23 miles or so back to Enumclaw in a pace line (with Conor leading a good portion of the time). We rode hard; and by the time we arrived back in Enumclaw, we were tired and ready to be done (at least I was). We had covered about 80 miles in a variety of ways: some in a fast pace line, some climbing, and some exploring (Forest Service Road #74). After heading into Safeway for chocolate milk and other energy replacement drinks and food, we headed home.
|All done and ready for some chocolate milk...|
Perfect weather, great group, and the mountains = awesome ride. Can’t wait for the next one!!
Click on the following link to see all of the photos from today’s ride: https://picasaweb.google.com/103821724300588557330/2014_06_21ConorLesDwaineMikeOnForestSvcRoadsNearGreenwater#slideshow/6027551803686913666