With rain forecast for the Seattle area, the eastern side of the Cascades did look more inviting for a long ride. A few weeks ago, I had gotten stuck in snow at 2800 ft. at the Roslyn city park, aka Rat Pac trail system, and with the warm weather and rain, it seemed that another excursion was in order to assess the possibilities, and perhaps make the drop down into the Teanaway trail system on the north. With Pete Crawforth – an out of towner visiting from Britain – we started in Cle Elum and took the Coal Mine trail to Roslyn.
This was followed by plenty of switch-back climbs on singletrack where we eventually crested at the Main Ridge Road. The view from the top sure looked like the Teanaway trail system and north of there would make a splendid monster loop or bikepacking destination. I will be back to explore this when the snow melts some more. Unfortunately, the roads on the north slope were covered in slushy snow, and with a big storm approaching from the south, we decided to make a beeline back to Cle Elum. The ominous clouds soon dispersed and sun was shining occasionally again.
The Rat Pac trail on the way down had some slippery patches of muddy clay and a few crazy dangerous features built. We avoided those traps to save our bones for some more miles out east along the Iron Horse trail.
The mile markers along the Iron Horse trail are given in terms of the distance from Chicago – I wonder if one could actually follow this past the Washington State border into such far reaches?
Pete’s a strong rider, and trying to follow his pace was a bit more than I could comfortably do. Towards the end, I even ran out of plain old water and my energy drink was on the verge of making me hurl. A quick run into the Subway at Cle Elum re-hydrated us, and we crossed this one off the books. Great ride (gpx): 50 miles, 3500 ft., 6:30 hours – seems like a slow pace, but I had burned all the matches in my legs by the end.