Thursday, May 3, 2018

April Adventures

At the beginning of April I resolved to ride a bike at least once a day. This small choice ended up taking me to some really special places. Here are some highlights and stories:

To lift my bike over fallen trees on the beach, I added a handle!
Works great, I think I'll always have one on a loaded bike

Much easier to move this way

My fat bike and I have seen so much of Washington State together. From mountains tops in the snow to triple digit desert jaunts, this fat bike has seen some of Washington's most unforgiving environments. Last month I explored over 50 miles of coastline and in some respects it is the most obstacle-ridden, high-resistance "ridable" surface around. Consequently it has made for the perfect training ground for the bikepacking events ahead. Below is a map of the coastlines I explored over the last few weeks:

Photos below are from a Jaunt from Point Hudson to Anderson Lake Rd
90% of the beach is usually "passable" by a fat bike. Sometimes there are sections that transform your bike into a mechanical bull, but even with all the difficulties I do not think there is a faster form of terrestrial beach locomotion. This makes adventuring along the beach a very special type of outdoor activity. Since many of the beaches become impassable at high tide, the speed of fat biking lets you get to exclusive locations that would be incredibly difficult if not impossible to reach on foot. Most of the time I didn't see any people on these excursions at all.

During this ride the rain was so intense I only took a few pictures.
(Bald Eagle upper left corner)

Snow geese flying away!

This is the entrance to Discovery Bay
I saw Dall's porpoises but too far out with the thick rain for a clear picture.

Non-stop rain
It's okay though, I think I've logged more miles in bad weather than good!
Pretty used to it to by now.

So happy with that handle

Gaiters are a crucial piece of beach riding kit.
Even if you're not plowing through the surf these insure no rocks/sand will get in your shoes

Bring a mat if you want to sit, not a lot of dry spots on the rocky beaches.

The 2 photos below are from Lower Quilcene trail with PTAC member Chandi
This is outside of Quilcence, beautiful Olympic Forest!

Forest, Mountain, Beach - The Olympic Peninsula is a choose your own adventure story

These photos are from Port Townsend to the Naval Base on Whidbey
40 total miles of beach riding that day, 20 out then 20 back.
3.85 ticket to get to whidbey

Was a pleasant ferry ride, immediately off the boat and on to the sand.

Brought two lenses because I didn't know if it would rain

There were some great sections and some not so great sections on Whidbey

Perego's Lagoon

Occasionally the beach was so bad I had to get on the bluffs

Of the beach surfaces around this type is my least favorite.
Too rough to ride, great hike a bike training though.

Some type of Chiton

Began to rain down really hard so I took refuge at Fort Ebey

Spotted Towhee

Steller's Sea Chicken

Was actually just a red-tailed hawk

The cliffs are as interesting as the beach!
Bluffs on Whidbey are some of the steepest around.

In the distance a Bald Eagle dries out

He let me get pretty close

About 18 miles north of Fort Casey I stumbled upon a dozen Bald Eagles feasting.
They landed on these rocks when I got closer to whatever it was they were eating.

Turns out they were eating whale.

An immature Gray Whale, still absolutely massive!

About 18.5 miles in there is over a mile of beach that is just perfect.
Firm sand as far the eye can see!

good advice haha

Turned around as the tide was coming back in.

Weather ended up great later in the day

Celebrated with a cinnamon roll, one of my favorite things.

Port Townsend From the Ferry

These photos are from riding around the Fort with the race bike
Now that I have it dialed in I do not ride it as much as the fat bike.
The fat bike offers a much better workout given the heft of the machine. 
Fully loaded my fat bike weights 15lbs more than this bike does with all my bikepacking gear.

Post ride charging station and boot dryer

Another ride around town

Training with Bob

Snapshot of what I take to eat sometimes, burrito is bean and cheese.

Converted a portion of my garage into a weight room of sorts
Bob and I have been lifting weights since January, I recommend it to everyone.

Quick rip to "The End of the World"

Another day another ride!

Near the start of the month there was meeting to discuss future sections of the ODT
PTAC was well represented, Bob, Misha, Julie and we met future member Robert!

Belted Kingfisher

Another glass beach ride


otters mid-coitis

Bald Eagle launching from the bluff

Randomly ran into Robert on the beach!
We made it all the way to 4 corners.

When I got on the beach that day, I saw some tracks and sprinted to find them!
We chuckled at the amount of random happenstance.
Happens a lot in Port Townsend, I always run into cyclists I've met! 

We exited at Aldema Beach

I took the ODT back to town Robert went home.

Snuck in a little more beach by the mill

The next Beach exploration I did was to Kala Point through Fort Townsend

Stumbled upon this building at Fort Townsend

Beautiful building in the middle of the forest.

Kala Point was beautiful!

 Next morning I got up before the sun and rode 15 more miles of beach

Point Hudson

Sun rising over the mountains

You can find this on the way to glass beach, piece of drift wood.
I call it the moose!

Black Oyster Catcher, look at all that swagger

This section to Cape George is my favorite.
It's all along the Strait, protected by the bluffs, and exploding with wildlife.
And because of the long distance to get here, you have this section to yourself.

Otters everywhere!

Cape George Marina

Eagle with Flounder.

Riding on the beach has really improved my cycling experience around here. The constant resistance and challenges make it a worthwhile terrain to conquer. Also per mile, I don't think there is a higher concentration of wildlife in Jefferson County than along the coast. Eventually I'd like to map a coastal fat bike route highlighting the best beaches Washington has to offer! In the meantime, in a few weeks there's the first bikepacking event of the season for me, XWA round 2!