Adventures in bike riding

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We’ve reached the part of Seattle summer where the fact that it’s still gray and raining is positively unbearable and I feel like I’m one rainy day away from a total psychotic break. This is what the weather looked like when we set out for our long run on Saturday:

It did end up clearing up about five minutes after we started, but was still gray and cloudy most of the day. (Until about six o clock in the evening when it was inexplicably gorgeous. So weird.) But I wasn’t feeling optimistic that we were going to have great riding weather.

In an effort to shake the “don’t wanna train”-itis that’s been plaguing me lately, (especially with the uncooperative weather), I’d been researching new ride routes and found a really cool one. It was basically a bicycle tour of Seattle, leaving from our house. No driving over to the east-side required. And the best part was that we got to see some parts of Seattle that I’d never been before, even after living here for four years. (Seven, if you count the first time we lived here.)

We started by riding up and over Queen Anne to Discovery Park. The route we were following was a little hard to figure out, so there were a few false starts and u-turns and unnecessary hills climbed. But we got to ride on this cool secret path and I got to practice taking pictures from my bike:

After somehow missing the trail that the route followed for the 47th time, we opted to just go back through Magnolia the way we’d come. We then followed a path that we’ve run on so many times, but had never ridden on. Then after dodging some cruise ship/tourist traffic downtown we were on our way to West Seattle. It wasn’t the prettiest path, but there was hardly any traffic. And look, another picture from the bike! And what’s that? Some blue sky peaking out?

I’d always wondered how you ride to West Seattle, as every time I drive there it’s not exactly bike friendly. But it turns out that there’s a very nice little path. We even stopped to take a picture of the Duwamish river. Pretty, in an industrial kind of way. And I love those big cranes, they remind me of mechanical dinosaurs. (Apparently, the Oakland version is what inspired George Luca’s AT-AT walkers at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back. Wasn’t that a fun fact? Now you’ve learned something other than Seattle’s weather sucks… )

In an effort to keep me from taking pictures of him, the boy took a picture of me:

The route continued around West Seattle to Alki, which is a very cute beachy little town. It reminds me a lot of some of the beach towns in Southern California and the Chrissie Field section of San Francisco. In order to properly train for RSVP, we stopped for fish & chips. (Specificity in training is very important!) After that, the ride got very hilly and less awesome. It was hard to figure out the route, so we’d end up stopping to squint at my phone every ten minutes, which sucked. We had a couple of missed turns, which also sucked. Finally, we found ourselves somewhere in Tukwila at 3:30 with another 20 miles left of their route.

At that point, we opted to take a more direct route home, which unfortunately meant going right through downtown. We got to ride right past the Museum of Flight, which was pretty cool. There were a few more shenanigans trying to figure out how to get on the right street, but we figured it out. Thankfully, Sunday traffic wasn’t too bad and we made it home with little drama.

There was a nice post-ride frozen yogurt stop, to celebrate surviving the crazy ride and we talked about ways we might improve future rides. I really want the training for this to be fun and not the chore that Ironman often training felt like. So far, that hasn’t happened yet. It’s hard to feel excited about spending many hours riding your bike, but after today I feel more optimistic about the possibility. The awesome farmer’s tan that six hours of getting lost in and around Seattle has to be worth something, right?

 

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