Capitol State Forest is an absolute wonderland of gravel. The nearly one hundred thousand acres of land is managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and contains almost six hundred miles of gravel roads. It is a destination for hikers, horseback riders, campers, and dirt bike enthusiasts. It is also home to some amazing single track for mountain bikers.
Back in May of 2015, a friend invited me to a self-supported gravel ride in the hills around Elbe and Eatonville put on by a local frame builder. The ride was in its second year, and looked like it would be a fun chance to explore some places that I had never been on a bike. I figured that forty-ish miles with 4k of vertical would be hard, but well within my limits.
I was wrong of course..
What began as a seemingly ridiculous plan over beers at a dining room table in 2014, has grown into an annual ride across the cascades filled with gravel, good beer, and great friends.