DIYGravel #1


Sixty two mile mixed media ride incorporating Snoqualmie Valley roads with Tolt Pipeline and Campbell Global gravel.

Ted King’s busy schedule of summer gravel racing has been blown apart due to the coronavirus pandemic and so in an effort to salvage his season he’s put together DIYgravel.  Ted plans to ride a route of equivalent distance and similar elevation and road conditions on the day of each of his now postponed events, and he’s challenged others to do the same.  Riders get a week to do each route and can submit their GPS data to Ted’s website.  This seemed like a cool idea; the first event was a simulation of Rasputitsa a hilly one hundred kilometer gravel event in Vermont.

It’s odd that the organizers of Rasputitsa didn’t think to include route information – other than distances – on their web site, but a little research yielded four thousand feet of elevation gain on rolling gravel.  I decided not to worry too much about the elevation – here in the Northwest we ride in the mountains and we get plenty of climbing – and instead focused on working out a sixty two mile mostly gravel route. 

A sixty mile loop of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail to Tolt Pipeline to Campbell Global mainline would be a perfect nearly all gravel contender were it not for the fact that the Snoqualmie Valley trail is King county park and thus closed due to Governor Inslee’s Shelter in Place Order.  Fortunately I’m familiar with the Snoqualmie Valley and it’s an easy thing to substitute farm road miles for trail miles, and besides I’d get some quality gravel on the Tolt and Campbell Global sections.

I parked the car at the lot across the street from the Salish Lodge at the Snoqualmie Falls and made a cold descent into Fall City.  I turned north and rode up the valley through Carnation and on to the outskirts of Duvall were I caught the eastern portion of the Tolt Pipeline trail.  This portion of the route follows a water pipeline and is arrow straight, the road surface is smooth gravel and the climbs are laid back and gentle.  Its good relaxing stuff.

I expected a lot more truck traffic on the Campbell Global land, but was pleasantly surprised: I saw only three other bikers and no motorized vehicles.  I stuck to the easy to navigate Mainline but was comforted with my new Avenza App that pinpointed my location on a detailed map (no cell signal required).  Thanks be to Quinn D for showing me this mind-comforting technology. 

Back at the car my Garmin read fifty eight miles; I wanted to do the full sixty two so I took a loop around the small town of Snoqualmie.  Mission accomplished.  I would have preferred to ride the Snoqualmie Valley Trail but the low traffic and (usually) smooth roads through the Valley gave this route a nice best of both worlds feel.

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