After some initial planning for an overnight mountain-bikepacking trip to Orcas, I decided that the weather didn’t look that fun for Saturday, and instead chose to do the entire ride on Friday. Most trails are open to bikes in the off-season between September 15-May 15.
So, on my day off, I rose at 4:30 am, drove to Orcas, got on the 7:35 am ferry, and sprinted out of the ferry at 8:45 am. It was windy and cool – I put on all my warm gear and was hoping for a temperature increase as I pedaled along. I went to Eastsound via a bypass route on half-dirt, half pavement. One big gravel truck passed me going up a steep hill just as another pickup truck came down. Why is that, Murphy?
In Eastsound, I stopped at the Island Market and filled up on croissants, an apple and banana. The trail at Moran State Park started pretty steep, and I slowed down to keep below 80% HR. My route led me all the way to the far reaches of the park which included some pretty steep downhill, followed by a steep push up to Mt. Pickett.
A well-deserved break was had atop Mt. Pickett, listened to the croaking of frogs. Next, a fast & short downhill to Twin Lakes and then it was more climbing. My legs were beginning to be uncooperative, so I took another short break and drank and ate some more. I decided to forgo pushing my bike up the steep Mt. Constitution trail, and instead took North trail / Cold Springs trail. I was feeling pretty decent for most of it, and managed to hammer out one steep part including switchback.
Riding up Little Summit trail, I saw my third group of hikers: 3 older couples who were just coming back from the top. They said I still had a long ways to go! After telling them that I had already ridden 30 miles, they changed their minds :).
Atop Mt. Constitution, I claimed a picnic bench for 20 minutes and took in views of the San Juans with the Cascade range behind them. The wind had calmed down and it was very enjoyable. I was beginning to really feel tired at this point – and resting didn’t help much. Heading back down, I took a quick side trip to Little Summit – a really lovely place.
There, I took another short break and was trying to decide what to do next. My energy level was too low to do another loop down&up on Mt. Constitution, so I decided to head down and visit Turtleback mountain. I took the Cold Springs trail down – beautiful DH. I kept my hardtail in check at the rocky parts. At the bottom, I quickly explored a trail near Cascade lake and for a moment felt well enough to give the West Boundary trail a try. It was overgrown, and after 300 ft. I was out of energy. Dang it. Oh well, time for some gas-station coffee and pizza at Eastsound. The snack really perked me up, and after 10 minutes I was feeling good again.
Happily I took off, only to bonk 20 minutes later. I barely made it to the northern trailhead on Turtleback mountain where I took another 10 minute break. The coffee had done a number on me: I was sort of dizzy (hypoglycemic), but my legs were feeling great! It was odd. I was dreaming of bread, but all I had left was another nasty energy bar, which was downed and flushed down with my homemade energy drink. After 10 minutes, my sugar level stabilized, so I headed up Turtleback mountain. The North trail is open to bikes on even-numbered days, so it was my lucky day! After a lot of pushing and resting 2 more times, I reached the tree-covered top on the Grand View ridge (was that really the name?). No views. Hmm, that was unexciting. On the way down I stopped at sign for “Viewpoint” and went 100 ft. to the left. Wow, there was THE view I had been looking for!
Overall, very good mountain bike ride – but the streets were pretty busy with traffic and hardly any shoulders. GPX track is here: 55 miles, 10k ft., 10:30 hours. I am still wondering what exactly happened after that cup of coffee.