Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In and out of town

I do not want to categorize people, but my feeling is that most runners prefer to run mostly alone, although the popularity of running events and trail races would suggest otherwise. Mountain bikers, on the other hand, are with rare exceptions social animals. Let me not even start about roadies. Every time I pull my commuter bike out of the garage, I noticed how my Ibis Mojo gets greener with envy (nuclear pesto getting greener!) and sank a little deeper on its underinflated tires. Something had to be done about that and I recruited social media for help: the Cascades Mountain Bikers Meetup seemed like a good start to help me overcome the activation barrier. Saturday being a gorgeous sunny warm day, a ride was called at Tolt MacDonald park. The group looked serious and the ride started with a  serious climb, but fortunately not too long. At the top of the ridge the real fun started: twisted singletrack, loamy soil, tons of slick roots, few interesting descents, but mostly, green mossy jungle of a rainforest.

Can you see those two riders in the middle of the photo? Often I rode at the tail of the group in one direction and the guys at the front were going by me in opposite direction, that's how those trails intertwined. The terrain was much like in BC and required a tall gear, lots of momentum, leaning in corners and using the tire side knobs to grab for traction. I had a deja vu - learning again how to mountain bike, the same as 2 years ago on Vancouver Island.

There was a little bit of an open fire road and a nice downhill back to the suspension bridge.

After 10 miles of trying to keep up with the fast group, constant manhandling the bike and standing up to power up short inclines with no time to shift, I was fried. The riders of this Meetup were a super nice bunch!

Sunday was supposed to be a ski day, but last minute duties changed the plans, but allowed us to spend couple of hours around downtown.

 Leaving the spiffy shopping centers, we walked towards the Pioneer and Occidental Squares, just to realize that on Sunday morning, this area apparently belongs to the Seattle's homeless and other street characters.

Shopping for fresh seafood at Pikes Place Market is always lots of fun. The fish is excellent and costs the same as our nearby Fisherman's Terminal. Whole foods or Safeway just don't come close in quality.

 This colorful guy did not seem to have too much fun, despite being surrounded by bicycles.

 But the Free Tibet supporters were enjoying themselves, under a very relaxed observation by the city Mountain Bike patrol.
 Cops, bikes, wet pavement and Starbucks. You don't need to see the sign below to know it is spring in Seattle!
 P.S. Due to time constraints, I did not get to visit the Seattle bike expo the past weekend. I will try to gather some information from coworkers who went and perhaps post a few links.

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