About a week ago, I wrote this post about my last training ride before the then upcoming Tour de Whatcom(TDW) but I guess I never hit the button to publish it. So here it is.
With just a week to go until the Tour de Whatcom, I wasn’t feeling really ready until I finished this 65 mile loop. My recent slacking had me wondering if I’d be ready, but with this ride I had no flats nor other mechanical type issues and I was walking and talking after the ride so I guess that makes me ready.
Between this South County Loop and my North County Loop I kinda sorta have a pieced together rendition of the TDW, sorta. I don’t think I’ve actually done this loop like this before, but it turned out to be a good longish ride. I started out from home early and got through Bellingham while the streets were still quiet, which is how I like Bellingham. From there I roughly followed the TDW route south out through Fairhaven, then on by Samish, Alger, and Glenhaven before deviating from TDW by going around the south end of the lake and hitting Hwy 9 near Wickersham. I don’t ride this section of Hwy 9 too often, but for most of this section the shoulders are wide, clean and easy to ride. Between Acme and Van Zandt there are a few sections with no shoulder at all, but drivers have been super respectful in the past and this time as well. If you are looking for numpties, look elsewhere, like on the Alger-Cain Lake Road or out near Everson, that’s where I seem to see the most.
As you approach the Deming/Hwy 542 Roundabout I look for a small gravel road on the left/west side of the road that leads down to a vestige of Deming Road. Unless you are riding an extremely fragile bike, I recommend avoiding Hwy 542 by jumping on this road that parallels the highway for 3-4 miles and pops out near Dodson’s at Nugent’s Corner. From there to Smith Rd the shoulders are super wide. I finish out the loop either by just trucking along Smith back to Northwest, or more usual I pick a combination of roads like Starry, Noon, Hemmi, Axton or Laurel to wind my way back home. Like always, as a loop you can hop on this route anywhere you please.
What I like about this loop, especially preparing for TDW, is that you take can take the same route with the same hills out of Bellingham until you hit Lake Whatcom followed by mile after mile of county roads. Just like the real TDW, only not as long.