Highland/Somerset <= Somerset & Traverse => (mostly) down to the finish!
For many years, I thought that “Somerset” meant climbing up the road we just descended, because that was the only route I had ridden. At about 450’ and a nice section of about 16%, this is certainly a challenge. And then, one day, I was looking at maps (because I lead a Tue/Thu night ride and like new routes), and I realized that there was a route from the west that I had never heard about that starts a bit lower down.
So, I went and rode it, and found out why I had never heard about it.
The route is mostly easy to follow, though there are a couple of places where you need to pay attention. Start up the first pitch, and when the road ends, turn right. Take the first left and continue climbing, following the road as it curves around. After the big curve, you are looking for the first turn to the left – 136th Pl NE. If you miss it and you run into Highlands drive, turn around and come back.
After the turn, there is about a half mile section that will end at Somerset Blvd – the one we descended down earlier. We turn right, then right again on 139th Ave, and a final left on SE 47th. This section is easy to navigate; just keep turning on the streets that go up. At the top, turn around, and enjoy the last great view of the ride. We don’t have the altitude we had at the earlier climbs, but we are closer in and there is nothing in front to block our view.
Now, it’s time to traverse to the east towards the finish.
We descend back down to Somerset Blvd and turn right. The first pitch is a steep descent with a stop sign at the bottom. Turn right, and then take the first left on SE 49th. Continue straight until it ends at 151st Avenue, which we travelled earlier on the Summit climbs. Turn left and take the first right on SE 48th. This will curve around and change names a couple of times, and finally end at 159th Pl SE.
Turn left, and then take the first right on SE 48th drive. This will take you to a short bike/ped section and then a steep descent down to 164th with the usual stop sign at the bottom. Turn left on 164th, descend down to Newport, and turn right. This will take you all the back to the starting line.
4.6 miles, 861’