Sunday, March 16, 2014

McClinchy Mile Bike Ride 2014

I have always wanted to go for this bike ride but circumstances have never worked out.  Ride day forecast was for the imminent rain to hold off until the afternoon.  Stoked with a bowl of granola and a fruit smoothie, I hit the road for the ride start in Arlington.  I landed a parking spot just steps from the registration desk.  It goes without saying that early start/early arrival has advantages, though parking appeared ample.  This ride is certainly not among the "big" rides.  I had pre-registered on Active, which was an exercise in offer-avoidance (ugh!).  No numbers were issued, just a green wrist band to wear.  The route cues were well marked on the road surface.

I opted for the shorter 34 mile semi-loop from Arlington to Stanwood out-and-back.  This was my first "longer" ride of the season; a kind of shake-down cruise.  It was the perfect distance for me at this time.  The route is mostly flat with a little roll here and there.  The vehicle traffic was light except through Arlington, Stanwood, and around SR530 and Interstate 5 where just a little additional caution was needed.  Much of the route is on uncrowded rural roads where the occasional passing vehicle gave wide berth.

The best thing about this route is that it traverses some gorgeous farm countryside in the lower Stillaguamish Valley with beautiful old barns, some well-kept, others crumbling in decay covered in blackberry brambles.  I passed an occupied nest of bald eagles high up in a cottonwood tree right next to the road.  In a few places the route hugged the Stillaguamish River for a short distance.

On the return back to Arlington, the wind had picked from the southeast making for a little extra effort.  I could feel the last few small hill climbs into Arlington that told me the relatively flat 34 miles was just right.  The rain held off.  Satisfyingly, I was passed by no one.  I did pass a number of riders myself.  Perhaps the strong riders opted for the 48 miler.  Maybe next year.  Either way, I'd do the McClinchy Mile again.

The McClinchy Mile Bike Ride is a fund raiser for B.I.K.E.S. Club of Snohomish County

Parking ample at the start.  Haller Middle School, Arlington, WA
Registration uncrowded.
The bucolic lower Stillaguamish Valley.
Midway rest stop at Stanwood Middle School, Stanwood, WA.

The Stillaguamish River, high and turbid.
Well kept old farm house in the lower Stillaguamish Valley.
The grain mill in Silvana, WA.
The route via

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