It's pretty clear I've been negligent in updating the blog lately - no real excuses other than work, kids sports and cruddy spring weather and some increasing miles on the bikes.
It's been real encouraging to see the number of cyclists out and about. It really appears that the number of riders has steadily increased over the past 3 years. Maybe it's the slow recovering economy, the appeal of new bicycle technologies or just a realization that cycling is a great, low impact (as long as you avoid the crashes) form of fitness. Every weekend I see 10-12 riders at a minimum riding the roads northeast of town. It doesn't hurt that we've got so many miles of paved roads in this county with low to almost non-existent traffic.
From a dog perspective there's only one I've encountered this year that has been a problem and that just east of Fairview Rd on Brick Mill Rd. The first house on the right after the fire station there's a large German Shepherd that can be fairly menacing. Be careful if you're in that are. When heading west it can be more problematic because the dog can see you approaching and "be ready" for you.
Mountain bike riding:
As many know most of my riding is done in the Naneum State Forest - no trails per se but a lot of fire roads, jeep trails and main "green dot" roads. The spring has been wet but the roads there are in pretty good shape. I haven't climbed an significant altitude so am not sure how high you can go before running into snow - there's a lot of that still back in the basin and up at the higher elevations.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has done a lot of work on the main ride from the end of Naneum Rd to the bridge at the junction for Boulder Creek and Swift Creek. Starting last fall they started removing low branches on many of the fir trees lining the road and also taking out other shrub brush and smaller trees along the road. The advantage is it opens visibility on several of the tighter corner areas around mile 3. The negative is it has opened the road up to more wind exposure.
The other fantastic thing DNR did these past couple of weeks is grade about 7 miles of the road and then smooth it out with a large roller. It is packed hard and very fast - smoother tires would be an easy thing to ride on now. Makes for a fun ride.
Finally, DNR will be putting a bridge across High Creek that will allow mountain bikers to ride a circular route from the entrance on Naneum Rd across High Creek and back to Wilson Cr. Rd without having to ford High Creek - i.e. stay dry. Should be a great ride with significant climbing and fast downhills.
Kittitas County updates:
Here's a link to the county 6 year transportation project plan
And, a chart of planned improvements for the next six years.