Took John Swinbank around the north part of Lake Washington, crossing back on SR-520. Chilly and misty at the start, so I wasn't sure it was going to be fun, but there were a hint of blue skies by the end: overall, a really nice day. Wandered around through town to get to the Burke, taking John on the "scenic route" (including a couple of wrong turns). He powered up Juanita Hill just fine, but started to wear out once we got into Kirkland. By the time we hit 520, he was pretty pooped, and suffered his way up Phinney (which isn't terrible, taken directly and with some gears). I tried a couple of sprints toward the end and I wasn't at full capacity myself, so I guess I need to restart riding. But hey, first ride of the year in January: not too shabby! Logged here.
Another ride with John Swinbank, this time across SR-520, through Medina and back around Mercer Island. With a little stop for paczki in Capitol Hill at Bakery Nouveau. It was a lovely day, though a bit chilly. Quite a few riders out and about, including a few we played leapfrog with on Mercer. Need to figure out which of the very fancy gateways we rode past in Medina are the Gates's house. I barely made it up Roy in Capitol Hill, I was laughing so hard (at the absurdity of the hill). Paczki were totally worth it, though: I ate two (and another pastry)! Logged.
Took a ride from work on a not-raining day, now that the days are long enough to make it feasible. Across SR-520, back on I-90, but going through Medina and West Bellevue was pretty dark: there are no street lights in the expensive areas! Didn't want to run out of light battery, so I didn't go around Mercer, but I probably could have. Was kind of chilly, but the full moon through the clouds over Lake Washington was really cool. Had a donut at Ly's at the end; bear claw, specifically, which was good but I think I'll stick with other things from there. < a href="https://ridewithgps.com/trips/21039373">Logged.
Digging around for ride ideas, I found this ride around West Seattle to Des Moines, which had some interseting looking hills. Didn't think I could do the whole thing (it's 45 minutes just to get to the West Seattle bridge), but figured it was a good starting point. Riding around Alki Beach was very slow: the car traffic was backed up really far, and the path was full of people. Admittedly, it was a lovely day, but they still slowed me down! Going south from Lincoln park past the ferry terminal is quite nice, and has some decent climbs, particularly going up Shorewood Drive; it's a nice approximation of the Mannyunk Wall, but I think even steeper. I cut across east after that and had to study a map to figure out how to get home. Ended up on some major streets because I couldn't figure out how to get past 599 and I-5, so that chunk was less than pleasant. Came home via Lake Washington Blvd. past Seward Park, so had another chance to push the speed a bit there. Whole ride was pretty slow, but I blame the slowness getting to (stupid Alaska Way traffic) and through (stupid beach cruisers) West Seattle. Logged it.
Was indecisive about where to ride today, but finally took the (probably wisest) choice to not go further out in the mountains, as trails would probably be snowy. Instead, drove over to St. Edward Park and wandered around in Big Finn Hill. Started out by riding down the gravel road to the water, and then back up; it turns out that there are no bike-usable trails that lead off from there, though a sign at the top suggested otherwise. The Big Finn trails themselves were easy to get lost in, without a guide like last time. It was fun to just explore, though. Made it back just in time to go to dance practice. Logged it!
Went around the north part of Lake Washington "the other way", going across 520 first, and then north through Kirkland and finishing on the Burke Gilman. It's a different ride this way, but I think I like the other route a bit better; the bike lanes and road margins feel safer going south. On the other hand, going over Juanita hill heading north is a different experience, and coming down is screaming fast: I was on the brakes a fair bit, otherwise I'd have easily exceeded 60 km/h. Coming back on the Burke is pretty fast, though I started to lag a bit toward the end. Stopped by the Mountaineers to see Alina's class meeting. Came home straight through town going over 70th and 85th. Nothing like sprinting uphill on 85th in the evening to get the blood flowing! Logged.
Finally some nice weather, so I drove out to Duthie for some trails. It was raining when I pulled into the parking lot, so I had to sit around for a few minutes, but it cleared up. Not many people there (probably because of the rain), so I had the Duthie trails mostly to myself. Fixed a kid's messed up brake at one of the times I got back to the main area. Then it was off to go partway down Grand Ridge and back. I turned around at the place where the trail splits south of the road crossing, and checked out the new "not quite loop" trail, which is a nice flowy trail. Logged.
John S. found a North Seattle loop online that we decided to attempt. I want to remember the bit through Laurelhurst: some very fancy houses there! There's also some fun hills along the lake, but getting to them is the hard part (none of the roads go in even remotely a straight line). We cut the ride off short because John and Daniela had to be somewhere at 4pm, but I did take them to Larsen's, so that's a win! Logged.
My first MTB race since high school! I entered cat 4 (beginner) hoping to at least not come in last, and ended up winning by quite a large margin. Would have been even faster if I hadn't had to pass so many people. Felt bad about winning, since I a lot of the other riders in cat 4 were over 50 and under 15. But, now I know I'm more than just a beginner! Need to see if I can manage the stairs: it looks do able (the drop I'm less certain of). I met someone who worked for Proflex in the late 90s, though not on my particular bike. I'll see if I can try Cat 3 next week. Here's the overall results.
Had some time before dance practice, so I did a few hills: Carkeek, 4th Ave. N, and Phinney Ave. 4th felt less terrible than when I've done it before, but it was still pretty bad. I think I like coming up the other side of Carkeek, instead of going up toward 3rd. Logged.
Did a few loops around North Seatac Park, as practice for Wednesday's race. Wanted to try some of the obstacles and get a feel for some other sections of the park. Managed to get the stairs cleanly at least a half dozen times, so I'll bet they won't be included in this next race. The log roll/drop I didn't try: still iffy on that. Worked up a good sweat, and found an Ethopian bakery near the Link station on my way out, plus several markets there that I should check out in the future. Logged (except where I had my backpack off to practice the stairs, and leaving it on while I bought Ethiopian bread and going up the escalator).
My second Wednesday Worlds Cup race. Longer course than last week, and I was clearly in a more appropriate category: I took 38/87, instead of winning by a minute. Still had trouble getting past people at the start, so I definitely need to try to get start further forward in the future. When someone spins out on a climb right in front of you, it's annoying. Nailed all the "hard" routes, except that stupid rail drop. Maybe one day? race results here.
Post-work ride, before the SDSS 20th anniversary of first light. I left work late, and didn't want to miss the event, so didn't end up riding around Lake Washington north side. Instead, I got a bunch of dumb hills in, just for funsies. As much fun as it is to climb Interlaken and then Roy St., getting over and off of Capitol Hill is so terrible that I'm not sure I want to bother with it again. I did learn that Swinbank has a slightly faster time than me up 4th, but I've still got him beat up W. Dravus. He said his time up 4th was so fast because he was so terrified of falling over. I came home on 3rd, which is actually rather pleasant. Logged.
Third Worlds race. I definitely need to start further forward: my first lap was over 2 minutes slower than my next two, mostly because of people bailing on the climbs in front of me, and then me not being able to get past. Had one guy just in front of me who I totally could have caught, but there was a cat 4 racer we lapped who had trouble on the short climb into the final asphalt, and I wasn't able to make up the loss. Guy beat me by 3 seconds: he said he could hear me breathing down his neck. Had a few people mention being shocked to see my bike go past, or how loud I am on the trail. Oh well! Hung out and had some sopes for dinner, but it got a bit chilly. Next time, I'm starting just behind the leader grid. Logged.
Took John and Daniela out to Duthie Hill for the Evergreen MTB fest, so John and I could demo bikes, and Daniela could take photos. I rode 4 bikes: Giant Anthem 29", Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 770 27.5", Norco Optic 29", and Transition Scout 27.5". The Thunderbolt was my clear favorite, and I even took it down into Grand Ridge for a bit with John tagging along on a Santa Cruz. All the bikes felt more stable than mine, and the suspension was all clearly more comfortable. I even managed to get down the wooden starting block on Ryan's Flow, which would be way too terrifying on my Proflex. Going through Ryan's itself felt very fast on the Thunderbolt and Optic. The Scout didn't seem to climb as well as those two. I did feel like I had trouble getting around tight corners on both 29ers, and all of the bars were probably too wide for my shoulders (though I guess that's the thing these days?); it did feel a bit odd switching back to my narrow bars. Guess its time to start saving my pennies? Logged.
Another week, another Worlds Cup race. It was a pretty warm day, and they added one lap to every race in honor of the solstice. I really enjoyed having that extra lap: more time to sort out the course, though my last two laps ended up being rather slow. Landed dead middle again (32/67), and I certainly feel like I lose the most speed on the technical/rough sections because I can't roll through them. Just need to find a sponsor to buy me a bike! Race results.
Wanted to see what it took to get to the Marymoor velodrome in Redmond. Turns out, it's a relatively straight forward ride, with only one major hill in the middle. You just get on the SR-520 trail and go, though you have to be a bit careful getting into the park: I overshot and ended up coming in through the east entrance, because if you cross the Sammamish, there's no way to get past 520 and into the park until you hit Redmond way. There is a nice wetlands along the trail there though, so it was worth the overshoot. The velodrome track races are $5 to watch, and I want to get a group ride out there from work this summer. Logged.
Post work ride across 520 and around Mercer. Logged.