I had nothing going on this Sunday and was itching to get out on my bicycle. It was almost perfectly clear weather with little wind and with a week of clouds and rain forecast I wanted a bit of this winter sun. As usual I dawdled around my house until the early afternoon and didn’t set out till around 1pm. This was okay on this particular day as I figured a nice four hour ride would suffice – this would be my first longer ride in three weeks, it was pretty cold and I was still riding the Safari which I find uncomfortable for too long of rides. So I set off with thoughts of doing that classic loop around Lake Sammamish. A favorite early season ride of mine I figured it’d be and ideal ride this morning. About 30-40 miles, depending on options, it would perfectly fit the constraints of time and distance I was under.
First though I wanted to cut through this park that I had first ridden through in late November (I lost the pictures of that ride in a computer problem I had in early December last year). This park has a nice network of trails that were within my abilities to handle and actually were easily ridden with the Atlantis so I thought it’d be fun to return on the more trail oriented Safari. There’s been plenty of rain so I wasn’t sure of the trail conditions but they turned out to be totally fine. Only in the inital climb up to the ridge did I have to push the bicycle due to lack of traction. Possibly with more off-road oriented tires even that would have been okay. At the top of the ridge is this large concrete bowl that must have formerly had a huge cistern or some such but now was abandoned. I was assuming that I’d be able to find a trail out of this park that would put me on a route toward the lake so I took the paths here in the direction I needed to go. This put me on a couple of sections of the park trails that I hadn’t ridden before including a fun descent into a little valley. From there I found a path in the direction I needed to go and headed on. This trail was right along I-405 and was pretty sketchy, I rode when I could and walked a few sections. It was real narrow, overgrown and rough. Fun though. It came out behind an apartment complex pretty much where I’d figured it would and I made my way to the 520 trail.
This trail runs along interstate 520 from Redmond to where the 405 and 520 intersect. Its got some good ups and downs for a cycling trail which keeps it a bit interesting. Riding right next to the freeway a little less so, but it does give one a greater appreciation for the less trafficked portion of the ride. This trail ends right at Lake Sammamish Parkway, the road that runs all the way around the lake. I’ve written up this route at length in this post, so I won’t go too much into it. But it was a fantastic day for riding; very comfortable in the sun, a bit chilly in the shade with fantastic views all along. I saw a lot of other cyclists which is nice, often this early in the year even on nice days like this I only see a few other riders.
My timing had been right on and for the first time in a long while I rode the east side of the loop in the daylight. I often am chasing daylight at this point as I tend to ride home from Redmond and thus it’s toward the end of my ride. I was feeling really good on this part of the ride better then I had on the other side of the lake. Perhaps it was because I was more in the sun here, the other side being more shaded. Possibly a slight headwind had just made it a little tougher. Either way I kept up a steady pace and ended up at Marymoor park where this route ends at around 4pm. From here its about 6-7 miles home though its about 3 miles of climbing. That was a bit tougher at this point – it was well in the shade and the sun was finally about done for the day. Still its a familiar route so I just slogged along and soon enough I was home. It was twilight at this point but still light. A perfect amount of riding for the amount of time I had and the level of fitness I was in. All told it was 36 miles, not too far really, but just right on this day. For more pictures of this ride checkout my First Ride 08 photoset on Flickr.