ETA June 3, 2008:Incredibly, I managed to take the wrong turn on to Lakeside Avenue and thus getting lost even before I had started the ride! After 5 mins or so of fooling around on the road I realized I was going in the wrong direction and arrived at the Starbucks around 7.20 am; bought a banana loaf, got my receipt and off I went - but not before I had said hi to Todd, another newcomer to SIR who was going out on another permanent.
Off towards the south and Maple Valley; got a bit tricked by the roads down around Renton Airport (municipal, not international!) and spent 10 mins or so figuring out where to go. When I finally found myself on Maple Valley Hwy I was delighted to discover that it had a bicycle path all the way to Maple Valley - sweet.
A bit before Ravensdale I passed a citizen walking a couple of enormous black dogs, who obviously hated cyclists. At least that's the only conclusion I can think of after spending a minute or so frantically sprinting away from the Hound of Baskerville while hearing its owner's panicky yells to 'Stop! Come back! Sit' quickly fade in the distance. I assume it was meant for the dog and not for me - I was certainly not going to stop for anything. I managed to get a few metres ahead of the dog, whip out my water bottle and squirt it right between the eyes. That was a trick I learned in Nova Scotia and it had never let me down before. But this was a first! The evil creature kept barking and running after me, so I had to take aim and fire another volley of Gatorade against the fierce creature. This time apparently it had enough and stopped its pursuit while I settled down and let my heart return to normal randonneuring beat... I do hope the dog was on its way to a show and that everything now was ruined because of the Gatorade!
Not long after I found myself at the Ravensdale control, had an energy bar and a coke and then off again, now towards Auburn and the control there. The ride between Renton and Kummer was probably the nicest of the day, in the valley, in sunshine, and a slight breeze behind me. Lovely! I also suddenly found myself in the middle of a time trial which added some excitement to the entire ride - I was not alone. (In fact, I was never alone; I was truly amazed by the number of fellow cyclists I met on my way - very neat!).
From Kummer it was on to Cumberland and a nice, quick lunch at the control there, then turning towards the north and towards Hobart and Issaquah. From there up along the East side of Lake Sammamish and up towards Redmond and the familiar terrain of the Burke-Gilman trail upon entering Bothell. From there it was smooth sailing all the way back to Lakeside avenue and the Starbucks, although the traffic on Burke-Gilman made the going a tad slower than it could have been, but that doesn't matter - it was a great day to be out!