I got out today for a long awaited ride. Started off feeling slightly over my head, got passed by two bikers who I caught back up with on the climb, helped move a good sized log off the trail. They booked off and after I crossed the road, I met one coming back as I was cutting another tree out of the trail. This trail always kicks my butt, but the real butt kicking was going to be on the return trip. As I was decending into the swamp area I met the other rider. (PS it was good talking with you both) I kept going and made my way thru the swamp, then up to the boardwalk (great work - that'll be nice when it gets finished). Next I rode around Duthie and back to the entrance of GR. I got hailed, rain, sunshine today - the whole gammut of weather. On the way back thru the swamp I met a guy who claimed he'd left Issaquah 40 minutes previously - if that's true that's some serious jamming. I was just starting the uphill climb out of there, the serious butt kicking....I had to walk a series of switchbacks because the mud was ferocious and I was sucking some serious wind. Then I just willed myself back on the bike and up the trail, pretty soon I was at the "clay bank" and climbing back out of the last part towards the road crossing the next section was a freaking blast, rocketing back down the hill. Making all that climbing well worth while. Back to the parking area, my bike was plastered with mud, and I had a huge grin and my legs although burning, felt great.