Nice hilly ride around Magnolia, with another 500m of elevation gain. I went out intending to get some hills in, and boy did I achieve that! In particular, I went up W Dravus in Magnolia, which Jim had pointed out. It's about a 12% average grade, with the steepest portion (near the top) somewhere above 20%. That top bit is really killer, and I totally want to try it again. Also another down and up in Discovery Park: I think the worst part of it is actually going down, since the road is always wet. Tried out a gps mapping app for this one, so I don't have to re-map it myself afterwards, and I think it worked ok, though someone said to try Strava for better comparisons with other riders (because I have to be number 1 in climbing Dravus!). A rather unfortunate start to the ride, though: my speedometer popped off just after crossing Market, and got run over by two cars. Still works, though it has a crack across the top. I'm rather surprised it survived that!
Beautiful day today (~45ºC and sunny), so took a longer ride through north Seattle, up to 145th st. Carkeek park is pretty, and another good haul of a hill climb. Rode past Alina's new school (Lakeside): it's not a huge campus, but it's pretty well isolated. Returned via Sand Creek Way, and got on the Burke around 65th St. Should have stayed on Sand Creek: the Burke was pretty crowded, and Sand Creek is pretty nice to ride on. Finally found the Mountaineers building, just north of Magnusson Park (which I didn't go into, but should sometime). I took my usual route home from work, and it was less than 20 minutes (and I wasn't even pushing hard), so the extra few minutes must be from getting ready and then getting out of the basement once there. Or, Google's just wrong. Second ride logged online; I checked out Strava, but it was much more into the competitive stuff, while the map interface was worse.
Post-climbing dinner with Bennet and Soren, we were discussing hills in Seattle and I decided I wanted to try to get 1000m of climbing in one ride. A bit of mucking about, and I had a rough sketch of what I wanted to do. Bennet met me at the south side of Fremont bridge the next day, and away we went. He totally thrashed me everywhere, but I survived all the hills, so I'd say I did ok. Even made it up 4th heading south from Fremont, which is a wild climb. It and W Dravus put all the other climbs in perspective. I'll have to try something like this, plus an ascent of Phinney, to get the full 1000 in one ride. Logged this one too, so I can refer to it: the elevation profile is something else. The weather was perfect for it: I unzipped my vest for the climbs, and alternated the gloves on and off with the wind.
Didn't know where I wanted to go, so I just wandered around Ballard for a bit, and then tried to do some hill intervals up 56th to the zoo. The wandering was fine (it was a lovely day, but a bit brisk), but felt oh-so-very slow (which it was). Just not up to snuff today. 56th to the zoo is a nice interval spot (~1:45 to 1st Ave, 3:00 stop sign at the top, 3:20 to speed bump), but I was definitely slower than I could have been on the first two, and gave up less than a block in on the third. Next time. Ride route is online here.
Biked across I-90 and around Mercer Island! Following Bennet's suggestion, I took my roadbike to work and left from there to try to get to Mercer Island. In the future I'll take my return route (Lake Washington Blvd.): getting there on 24th/23rd was direct, but the road surface wasn't great. Plus the usual relentless Seattle hill. There's a tunnel to insert you into I-90 from there, which was cool, and crossing the interstate was fine: 3' barrier and a whole breakdown lane on the side meant I was far from the cars. Wind wasn't bad that day, but it's over a mile long. Great views of the mountains, though! Mercer itself was great too: lots of blooming things; curvy, rolling hills; little traffic. Asked directions and went around CCW this time, but will try the other way, now that I know where to go. Definitely taking Alina on this ride when she gets here. Logged this one too.
First West Coast MTB ride! Took the 554 bus to Issaquah, which went fine, got off downtown and found the trail pretty quickly. Though the correct entry point was not as clear as I thought: I had to ask a biker whom I caught as he was headed up the side trail which turned out to be the Grand Ridge entrance. That put me on a long, mostly-relentless climb for a while, then a shorter but still relentless descent, ending at the entrance to Duthie Hill MTB Park. Duthie was totally fun: tried my first "flowy" and "pumpy" trails, which were both terrifying and totally fun. Gotta get back up there ASAP. I certainly had the oldest bike in the park: the DBR mechanic at the central area said "hey, I've got one of those!" and we chatted a bit (apparently he had some bad blood with the Risse Racing folks). I will continue to avoid the Difficult sections (no log rides, narrow platforms or jumps for me!), but the blue sections were totally my kind of singletrack. Logged this, as still no speedometer.
Second ride up Grand Ridge and playing around in Duthie some. Passed another MTBer as we were going over I-90, and we ended up leapfrogging each other several times. Wouldn't have happend if I hadn't taken a wrong turn and headed down shortly after the start: I saw him coming up the trail in front of me and realized I'd gone the wrong way, then chased him for a while. Passed a guy whose chainstay had broken: he was ok, but had a fair hike to get out. My knee was hurting towards the end of Grand Ridge, so I did a couple of laps around in Duthie and rode out on the road (which was fine: plenty of shoulder). Bumped into the same guy a bunch of times in Duthie, so I introduced myself at a place we were both stopped. The ride felt faster this time, but I don't think it actually was. Logged.
Second ride around Mercer Island, clockwise this time. Followed Lake Washington Blvd out from work, at 5pm. Rush hour around 520 is insane! Lake Washington was backed up for probably half a mile on the north side with people wanting to get into 520. Glad I never have to do that. Proceeded to get a bit lost (took a right turn at a Y, instead of left) and overshot I-90 by quite a bit. Asked a lady on a bike for directions and she got me in the correct direction. There were interesting cold patches of air along I-90 on the way out: they felt good on a hot day like this. Probably something to do with the lake. The east side of Mercer was also noticably cooler than the west. And the curvy part on the east side felt harder going this way: it climbs slightly as you go south, so more work. This time had a couple people pass me, including a group of three who I then hung on to for a good part of the way. Doing so let me pass a guy on a TT bike who'd cruised by me earlier. But then I kinda feel apart at the final climb back to I-90, so I guess I was running out of juice. Rode straight home, leaving my laptop at work. Useful lesson from the morning: I can do the commute in 16 minutes if I put my mind to it! Logged it.
Down around West Seattle today. The West Seattle part itself was quite nice, but getting there via Alaska Way Viaduct and the industrial district was less pleasant. Mostly the Viaduct part downtown: there's lots of construction, the road is narrow and kind of a mess. I missed the turn onto the Bridge Trail, and ended up on Harbor Island. I was pretty sure I did it wrong pretty early, but kept going to see where I'd get (into a bunch of shipping stuff: not worth it!). Once I figured it out, Alki trail and the road paralleling it were nice, with lots of people hanging out, riding 4-wheel pedal cart things, etc. Several beaches, one of which I stopped on to take a panorama (which didn't stitch properly). Turned back after the ferry terminal, and it started drizzling as I was coming down 9th Ave (which is long!); hurried back trying to find a bathroom without success. Came home on 15th, crossing the Ballard Bridge. Which still sucks, but I think if I'm careful and do it when traffic isn't bad, it should be ok. Don't think I want to ride on the surface though: the grate in the middle looks sketchy. Logged.
Following Simon's advice for a place to ride that wasn't across the I-90 bridge, I went up the Burke to the top of Lake Washington: Logboom park. Stopped there briefly to get my bearings, checked out the floatplane airport just past it, and then returned, turning off on 75th to get across town and get some hills in. The trail is much nicer north of ~90th, as the surface looks newer and there are fewer root-bumps. It's also so flat and wide that you can really get some speed up (minus the wind). There were quite a few cycling groups around Logboom; I think it's a way point for post-work group rides. Coming back on 75th to 85th was kinda fun: quite a lot of up and down, getting across I-5 at 85th wasn't bad (just was assertive, got in the left lane, and sprinted like hell), and coming down 8th from 85th is all downhill. Logged.
Wandered around Fremont and Ballard, with the express goal of ending at Larsen's to get some pastries. The pastries were good, but I'm pretty certain I didn't make up for them with the riding. I did manage to find Fremont Peak Park, though, which is neat and well hidden: I rode past it on all sides before finally finding the right road. Some nasty hills around there. Then up to 120th st. along the Interurban (Greenwood), which is a pretty nice ride, but it's a long steady climb. Ended up getting a bit lost just north of Carkeek park: turns out most of the roads going down toward the water don't have any way to get sout, so I went down a bunch, then had to backtrack.
Wanted to get outside some more before I fly to New Haven for two weeks. Weather was beautiful, but I didn't have time to get to Grand Ridge (spent the morning at the Skandia jam), so: Hills it is! Figured redoing a chunk of the "all the hills, all the time" ride could be fun, and it was. Stopped at a couple parks in Queen Anne to take pictures, then climbed Dravus (didn't feel quite as bad as in the past, and according to Logged again.
Another Mercer ride, this time from work. Took the whole clockwise loop this time: needed to get back in time to get a ride to the Skandia dance. I'm feeling more comfortable crossing the I-90 bridge at speed: I was afraid of gusting winds, but it's pretty steady, so not really a problem. Still have to figure out how to get across the north side of Mercer on roads. Some guy commuting with a bunch of stuff followed me part of the way back on Lake Washington Blvd., I left him far behind climbing a hill, but then he passed me through the Arb: it's easy to descend if you've got a lot of weight, I guess? Logg-ed.
Finally rode around Lake Washington. It's a long but satisfying ride. Saw two bald eagles at the north side of the lake, as well as a bunch of people starting their ride across the country for the Fuller Center; I wished them luck. Missed the first turn onto Juanita Dr., but that let me find the Sammamish River Trail, and the road I took (96th) was fine. The bit directly along the lake in Kirkland was kinda neat, with a boardwalk and some pretty parks. Bellevue was less pleasant; just a big, busy city. Going under I-90 was cool (marsh), and from there to Renton was a mix of wide bike lanes and a separate trail. Met a guy by the Boeing field in Renton who was about 70 miles into his attempt at 100: he'd left from West Seattle and gone around Lake Sammamish! Shortly after, it started raining quite a bit, so I stopped by a coffee shop and ate a chocolate crossaint and a coconut and chocolate brownie. Probably would have been fine to have just one of those... Once the rain lightened up, I headed home along Lake Washington Blvd. UW was crazy because of graduation. My speedometer flaked out somewhere during the ride (I'm guessing from the rain), so all I have is the GPS log.
I got up to late to make it worth going to Duthie for the Evergreen MTB festival, so I had to make my own fun (plus, I would have wanted to demo a bunch of bikes, and then I'd have wanted to buy one!). Rooting around online, I learned about North SeaTac Park's constructed trails from their race website (races every Wednesday that I should check out). It's just a few minutes from the Tukwila Intl. Blvd. Link station, so it was an excuse to try taking my bike on the Link. The trails were fun: all singletrack, mostly smooth with a few short climbs/descents. Very different from Grand Ridge/Duthie: a lot more similar to the north part of West Rock. Found the BMX area and did a few loops around it: pumping over berms is hard, especially when you're afraid to get air like I am. Took a snack break to watch some guys driving RC cars on a dedicated track. An older guy at the BMX area said this used to be houses, before the Port Authority bought it out: it's in direct line from the airport, so it was probably a liability thing. GPS log here though I'm sure that "396" calorie thing is way too low.
Decided to try biking around Bainbridge Island and to check out a berry farm while I was there. Unfortunate start to the ride: got stung by a yellow jacket as I was running back inside to grab my thin jacket for the ferry. Glad I did though: the ferry can get chilly. Made it to the dock just as it was pulling in: "arrive 20 minutes early" my foot! Several other bikers on the ferry as well. Nice view of town, mountains, and cruise ships on the way out. Biking off the ferry, I headed north to try something like the reverse of the "Chilly Hilly" ride. Plenty of rolling hills around the island, as well as birds and nice views across the sound. Found Suyematsu Farms, bought a flat of raspberries, and crossed my fingers that I'd packed them safely enough for the ride home (they made it mostly ok, though slightly squeezed). Return ride was just as pretty, and again made the ferry just as it was arriving. A black Lamborghini Aventador drove on to the middle of the ferry, and I had to stop and stare at it for a bit. As we pulled out, I saw a little white bump in a narrow gap south of Rainier, which I didn't think was a cloud. Checked when I got home, and it was Mt. Adams! The ride along Elliot Bay and through Magnolia was very windy. Went through the locks and saw a few salmon in the fish ladder. Big fish! Logged it, though I don't believe the "1900 Calories" at all. I was working hard, but not *that* hard. I also am surprised at 700m ascent: didn't feel like that much.
Didn't start the ride until about 5pm, but it stays light so late I wasn't worried. Initial plan was to bike around Mercer and then come home, but I was feeling mostly ok around Mercer and decided to try to go around south Lake Washington. I'd forgotten how much further that was, though, so the ride was longer than I'd planned, and I didn't have any snacks with me! By the time I got home, I was really beat and definitely bonking. The weather for it was beautiful, though. Got a bit lost trying to figure out where to go after crossing from Mercer to the East Side: the trail turns left after the bridge, but I wanted to go right so wandered around on surface roads for a bit before re-discovering a different trail. Should have just taken the left: it loops around under the freeway after a block or so! Checked out the Reddit party at Gasworks on the way out, but didn't feel like hanging out. Guess I'm getting old? Logged it.
Stats from the log. Conor took me to Tiger Mountain, leaving work a little before 4pm to try to avoid traffic (with only some luck!). The ride up is quite fun: very sustained, switchbacks but nothing crazy steep. I was definitely sweating as we went up the last bit on the gravel road! Nice view of Rainier from the top, and a few other riders hanging out. The start of the ride down was somewhat technical, but not too sketchy. Next sections required a few dismounts to clear root, log, or rock piles. Conor was just flyin', though: he's a pretty fast descender. I did my best to keep up without going too far out of my comfort zone. Some sections definitely wanted a longer travel bike for steadier control. The last section of the trail was my favorite: smoother, undulating singletrack. Conor said he almost hit a deer on one of the corners: it was poking its nose out of the woods ahead of us when I got there. Trail conditions were generally good, with a few mud puddles and streams to liven things up. The sun was getting low by the time we got out: it was getting a bit dark in the woods, but no trouble seeing.
Ride logged, though I manually paused it a couple times and then forgot to restart, so lost a few km worth of logging. Caught a ride to the top of Grand Ridge with someone near UW for a Friday MTB meetup. For the first time, I was the fastest one on a ride, though Dave (who loaned me space in his car) was hot on my heels on the descent. They all thought I'd be much faster on a newer bike. I keep hearing this refrain! We only did the top half of Grand Ridge and a little chunk of Duthie Hill: Dave and I did Deuces Wild together, which was interesting. Had to focus on where he was, and also where I wanted to be, while navigating the pumps. We went to a bar afterwords: I had mac n' cheese w/ mushrooms and some garlic fries on the side). Fun group, and I'd like to ride with them again.
Wanted to get in some hills work before going to a 4th of July party. This definitely got the blood flowing: twice up Queen Anne Ave. and once up W. Dravus in Magnolia. Turns out this was my fastest time up Dravus yet: more than minute faster than my first time. I'm clearly getting faster. I also didn't feel totally dead at the top of any of them, though my breathing was certainly loud. I do need to find a nicer route of of Queen Anne: I keep hitting cobblestones on the descent. Logged it: 440m ascent in 27 km is pretty good!
Finally got to MTB ride with Jim at his favorite park in Lacrosse. He rented a fat bike (his was already moved to St. Peter), and let me on his hardtail 29'er. Sadly, he got a flat about halfway up the climb, so we didn't actually get to ride together that much. I did some loops myself on various of the cut trails, and those were all fun. Nice trails there: hopefully I can ride with him there in the future. Logged here, but Jim had my phone in his bag for most of it so that includes a bunch of walking and skips several of my loops.
Out and back around Mercer again. Such a nice ride. Wen through downtown on Rainer Ave. to meet a guy by the I-90 tunnel entrance to sell him my old MTB pedals (and I somehow managed to lose one of the $20s he gave me!). Felt pretty sold on the way out around Mercer and pushed it hard, but felt like I was running out of juice on the return. A bald eagle flew over me when I turned around on the island! Saw a student wearing a Carleton shirt and stopped to chat for a bit: he just finished his sophomore year and is doing a Chemistry REU here. Logged.
Looks like the summer weather is fading, and I wanted to get in a good MTB ride before things got too wet. Missed the 554 bus I was planning to take, so I wandered around downtown for a bit and rode up James St. from 2nd to 9th. It's really steep: Seattle DOT says ~18.5%. Got my heart moving before hoping on the bus. Was drizzling in town, and raining more as we crossed the bridge, but it was totally dry in Issaquah. I climbed up to Duthie, rode several of trails there, including Ryan's Eternal Flow (crazy up and down hills with corners: not sure what I think of it), and then headed back. Wasn't sure if I wanted to ride back on Grand Ridge or take the road out, but I took the trail. About halfway in, before the first road crossing, I started to seriously bonk. Had to stop for a bit to rest. Fortunately, made a bus before they started running every hour. And then I took the D home, because I would have been really slow biking back from downtown. Good ride, but even 2 bars weren't enough to keep me going. Probably needed to eat more the night before! Logged it.
I guess this doesn't quite count as hill intervals, but I should probably do some actual intervals again. That said, I was only 4 seconds off my best W. Dravus time, so I must be holding my conditioning ok. Starting up Queen Anne, I wasn't sure I would make it, but it felt fine once I was into it. Same with Dravus: it hurt, but once I was into it, I just plugged away. Rode past Bumbershoot at Center City, with lots of people wandering around and some looking for tickets. On the way back, I went to look for 60th NW between 3rd and 4th, which is the steepest in town according to SDOT. It's no longer a street, but a grassed-over dual track with fences at both ends. Looked really steep, though! Logged.
Another nice day. Slept in, and only had time for a short ride before going to check out the first Radost rehersal. Figured the easiest thing would be to ride north into Ballard and do the Carkeek hill. Got in several other hills along the way (lord, the surface of Golden Garden Drive is shitty! On the flip side, the bit along the water north of Crown Hill is fun), including trying out 59th going up from 3rd. The top is really steep: RideWithGPS claims 16%, but I'd bet it's more. Did most of the climb out of Carkeek seated, which was an interesting diversion. Yesterday was the "Passport2Pain" ride around Vashon: 80 miles, 10,000 feet. If I'd have learned about it earlier than the day before the ride, I might have tried it. Next year (Good news: many of my rides have had a comparable elevation gain/distance ratio. Bad News: I need to do that for 3-4 times longer!). Ride felt pretty good, otherwise. Got a good sweat on for an hour of climbing. Logged it.
Three climbs up 56th St., first one taking over 4 minutes, then next two around 3:30. Here's the kicker: did it in the rain and dark! I wanted to get out and ride at least a bit, but some rain was incoming. Fortunately, it was not too cold (mid-50s?), so my warmish gear plus thin green windbreaker were enough, though I did get damp. Biked up to around 100th on 3rd and wandered around for 20 minutes or so to get warmed up before attacking 56th. I was definitely slow, so if I continue this sort of local rainy ride (and why not?), I need to really push harder. Logged the odometer, since the display is starting to get a bit wonky (probably because of water getting in).
Was slow getting my act together, but needed to get out and spin for a while. Got on Lake Washington Blvd and hammered (after missing the first turn onto it and having to think fast to make a left from 23rd), crossed I-90 and back, and tried out Roy St, which SDOT claims is a bit over 26% grade between 26 and 25th streets. It was certainly steep, but I'm not sure I'd call it worse than 4th south of Fremont. Beyond 24th it turns into ragged cobblestones, which I had to get off for. I'll have to come back and check out some of the parallel streets: they're all supposed to be harsh like this one. Part of the return ride was in the dark, but I had my helmet light, so all was good. Logged.