Vincent & I pre-rode the Baker Lake 400K yesterday, starting at midnight. Why midnight? Well, that way I could get a good night's sleep before hading out to the 300K later today (fortunately not to ride).
Having ridden the Baker Lake 400 last year I knew what to expect .. and wasn't disappointed.
The green colors of Baker Lake were still there, as was the lush foilage along the route. The eagles along the Skagit were still there. Clark's Cabin restaurant at Marblemount was still there ... we had a nice breakfast there. While we didn't see any bear this year, they are still there too.
Burbee Hill Road up from Concrete is still there. The first mile, with its 9 - 17 % grade, will still have you swearing at Mark. The second mile, with its 5 - 9 % grade will still have you muttering with only occasional outbursts as the grade briefly jumps into the mid teens. At least the loose gravel is gone, settled into mild chip seal.
Mt. Baker was still there ... although we had lots of cloud cover so we didn't actually see it ... this picture is from last year :)
The temporary bridge on the road to Baker Lake is still there ... as is the gap in the middle that, speaking from first hand experience, can grab your wheel and send you flying.
The Baker Lake "Resort" store is still there, with its picnic table ready for you to have a nice lunch at.
New this year ... at least for us ... was strong headwinds along SR-20 to Sedro Wooley and the north part of SR-9. That was pretty brutal. We needed to take some extra time to recover from that! Hopefully you'll have sunny skies and a nice tailwind instead.
Also still there was the climb up Woodinville -Duvall Road, with its narrow shoulders. What was new ... or perhaps I just forgot ... was the high grass (and occasional blackberry bush) bending over the shoulder, making it even narrower. Having a helmet flashing taillight was a big help here to make sure traffic can see you, especially in those portions that curve to the right.
Perhaps my favorite part that was still there is that final brutal climb up to Mark's house at the end ... somehow it didn't seem as bad this year :)