80k Day

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p id=”routemapiframe” style=”border: 1px solid #d0d0d0; background: #775555 none repeat scroll 0% 50%; overflow: hidden; width: 450px; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; white-space: nowrap”>Spangle Cheney LoopShare your bike routes @ Bikely.com

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    It wasn't quite a metric century (and I didn't get my daily total over 80 km until I added a short night ride to the P2P garage later that evening), but I got in a nice long ride yesterday afternoon south of Spokane on some gravel roads I hadn't explored before.  I began by heading out to Hangman Hills, then made my way over to Valley Chapel Road and headed south towards Spangle.  There's a pretty steep hill to get back up out of the valley there and onto the same approximate level as Spangle and Cheney, but I survived.

    Once I reached the top of the hill I took a left on Yale because I recognized it from some pre-ride scouting I did on <a href="http://maps.google.com">Google Maps</a>.  Yale ended up being a little hairy because of some short steep rollers and a lot of loose gravel, but it let me avoid 195 so it was probably the way to go.  While on the uneven gravel I adopted a strategy of staying as straight as possible and not really braking on the down hills and that worked pretty well for the rest of the days' gravel travels.

    <img src="http://myskitch.com/axodys/yalebrownesmt-20071016-162316.jpg" alt="Corner of Yale looking towards Browne's Mountain." align="middle" height="360" width="480" />

    Food-wise I upgraded to <a href="http://www.clifbar.com/">Clif Bars</a> for this ride and was really happy with the result.  I had to stop to get one out since I didn't have pockets in my jersey to keep them within reach, but it was worth it and eating a half at a time worked reasonably well.  The above picture is from when I stopped briefly at the corner where Yale turns south to take a couple pictures with my phone (looking north towards Spokane) and have a quick snack.  I really need to put together a front rack/bag combination and get some jerseys with back pockets for longer rides so I can be more efficient and just eat and ride.

    <img src="http://myskitch.com/axodys/spangle-20071016-162714.jpg" alt="Looking southeast across 195 toward Spangle." align="middle" height="360" width="480" />

    Here's a look back at Spangle once I crossed 195 and started heading west on Watt.  I didn't actually ride through Spangle, but next time I ride that way I plan to take a closer look.  After a few miles of gravel roads I felt really speedy as I headed west on Watt's paved surface, but it didn't last.  Once it jogged north I was back on gravel until I reached the Cheney - Spangle road at the end of Jenson.  Between my bike's front shocks and the 700x38c tires my bike generally does well on gravel, but there was plenty of washboard, curvy roads, and unevenly distributed gravel to make things interesting.  I ended up with soreness in my right thumb and wrist because I had to hang onto my handlebars a little more tightly and do a lot more active steering and riding through the gravel.  Next time I do a variation on this loop I'm going to go through Spangle and try to spend the bulk of my riding time on pavement by following the Cheney - Spangle road out of there..

    <img src="http://myskitch.com/axodys/fishlake-20071016-162924.jpg" alt="Looking down and across Fish Lake." align="middle" height="360" width="480" />

    Once I got on the Cheney - Spangle road it was relatively smooth sailing up to the Columbia Plateau Trail trailhead.  I still want to explore the twenty mile Turnbull section of the trail at some point, but yesterday I simply headed back toward Spokane along the Fish Lake trail before hopping on the Cheney - Spokane road.  I stopped to take the above picture and call Mary to let her know where I was at (reception was terrible there and we weren't able to have a normal converstation).  The ride back into town was largely uneventful, but there was plenty of pretty Fall foliage to enjoy and I felt stronger coming back up on High Drive than I have on previous climbs at the end of a long ride.  All in all a beautiful day and a fun ride.