Took the Long Way Home

After Saturday’s lovely twilight ride with Lauren and Erik, I resolved to get some more evening rides in while we’re still at maximum daylight. Since I was in Belltown for an appointment that ended at 5pm Monday, the natural choice was to bike around the lake counter-clockwise.

Rush hour traffic downtown pretty much sucks on a bike, but at least it kept me from going too fast too soon. I took my standard route out: 5th Ave -> S Jackson -> 12th and then on to the I-90 trail. Here I got my first of many great views of Mt. Rainier.

Biking along Lake Washington was spectacular — clear skies, not too warm, and surprisingly, not very much traffic. I was a little nervous about whether I’d remember the route properly, but it turned out to be easy to follow. (The only tricky part is in Bellevue where there’s a tiny sign on an overpass that says “<- Seattle | Factoria ->”).

I stopped briefly at Coulon Park and got myself an iced tea at Kidd Valley (probably a mistake — see below — Elizabeth will be drinking only gookinaid from here on out) and took a quick refueling stop.

Biking up Lake Washington from the park was lovely. Many places I could see the lake through the trees and it had a wonderful summer vacation feel. Unfortunately for us bikers, there’s a lot of new condo developments going in along this part of the route. Pray that the county successfully purchases the nearby rail line so we won’t have to bike through the increased traffic that’s bound to come.

There’s not a lot to say about the section along 116th and 118th except that it’s really boring and ugly. If I do this again soon, I’ll take the I-90 trail back over to Seattle and go up Lake Washington to the arboretum. That would’ve been much nicer.

Anyway, somewhere before entering the 520 trail, I really started hurting. My legs kept threatening to cramp up. It felt like two mice were jockeying for space in each of my calves. Somewhere along the trail, there’s a place where you exit and re-enter. On the side of the trail at re-entry there’s a big “Wrong Way, Do Not Enter” sign on the trail. It really pissed me off until I realized it was for the freeway off ramp paralleling the trail. Doh!

After that I made it uneventfully to the Sammamish River Trail, where I took two refueling breaks. I was getting hungry! Usually I don’t actually get a rumbling hungry when exercising, but I sure did yesterday. By the time I cleared Log Boom, I was ready to be home now!

Anyway, the whole thing took me almost 5 hours, including rest breaks plus a stop to help a group of kids in distress. I really hoping this doesn’t mean I’ll need 15 hours to make it from home to Kelso!

Oh, and apparently, all the cool kids bike only clockwise around the lake. In the whole trip around I neither passed or was passed by bikers going the same direction until I hit the Sammamish River Trail, though I saw many, many bikers coming the other direction.

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