Seattle 2013 Day 2: Duthie Hill Mountain Biking
Here comes the best biking experience I've ever had. Ready? Go!
I woke up early again and just got up, ready to rock. Had some coffee and prepped to head out and get the Zipcar. I was heading for breakfast and then going to go right out to get the bike rental, so I was all set in my biking clothes before heading out of the hotel. Amazingly, Seattle has Zipcar so it was SUPER easy to get a great car and super close to my hotel. Alex lent me his GoPro HD camera plus a handlebar mount for my bike, so that was super exciting too and awesome to be able to get footage of the bike ride.
|Felt like a reasonable time for a ridiculous "selfie" in my biking clothes|
|826 Valencia... Seattle edition!!|
|So cool, 826 Seattle is a Space Travel Supply store :)|
|Can't be exchanged|
|A funny Canadian bar beside 826 Seattle|
Then, off to the bike shop. I decided to rent from the very excellent Recycled Cycles bike shop right by the University of Washington (known colloquially as "U-Dub"... hilariously similar to Waterloo's "U-Dubs"). The bike shop was incredibly well-organized, the price was right at only $30 for the whole day... and the bike was already sized and fit to my height before I even arrived. Amazing. The bike was really awesome hardtail called a "Kona Blast". The pedals had sharp grips on which would make sure my feet would stay in place, and the brakes were hydraulic disc brakes - you can stop on a dime with these things. The guy in the store instructed me on how to stick a "break stopper" into the brake pad section when you take the wheel off to get it into the car - he said that's necessary since these are special brakes. I stuffed the bike into the Zipcar Mazda 3 and off to Duthie Hill in Issaquah, Washington!
|My bike rental, a Kona Blast, and Zipcar|
|Parked near Duthie Hill, putting the wheel back on|
Duthie Hill has a pretty epic setup, it starts with a bike down an amazing platform into the clearing area. This area has practice jumps at different heights so you can try out harder features without being in the middle of a trail and at your own pace. It also had a "berm" practice area where you could easily practice these kinds of banked turns. Amazing. All the trails started and then ended back at the clearing. It was so amazing.
The boardwalk was a great start and then it was so exciting to get to the main clearing. There were flowy parts, "berms", jumps, "skinnies", "log rides" and other cool stuff to practice. I tried a few and then hit the first trail "Boot Camp"! It was EPIC!!!!!!!!!! WOW. Best mountain biking EVER. This was on-par or even more exciting than the biking I did in Queenstown in New Zealand. I just LOVED it. I'm glad I did a few trail jumps first to build my confidence as there was a little bit of that stuff on the trails.
|Starting out at Duthie|
|Boardwalk on the way into the park|
|Another sweet berm|
|A cool jump that I didn't do :)|
|Some friends I made that were doing crazy jumps|
|Berm turn practice area|
|My favourite feature|
|A little break at Duthie Hill at my favourite "roller coaster" feature|
|This was so fun|
The trails had a bunch of "optional features" which you could choose to do or not do at the time of biking. I tried a short "log ride" which was fun. The "berm" turns were my favourite part - so fun! I actually watched a couple of YouTube videos a couple nights before leaving for Seattle to get an idea of how to do them. That really helped. Riding those berms was actually quite a bit like being at a ski park, you were just on a bike instead. Very fun. It reminded me of New Zealand biking in Queenstown, but better.
After "Boot Camp", I did the "Movin' On" trail, which was much more "technical" - it had tighter turns and turns while on an incline. It was a bit tougher, but still fun. There was a roller coaster feature that was SO cool and I was so excited for, that was great. I biked past a few skinnies that looked crazy and had jumps and stuff attached, it was nuts. Back to the clearing, and I made some new friends from Bellingham. They said they knew I was Canadian, I asked why and they said it was because I said, "Cheers!" Hilarious.
After just these 2 trails, I had sweated clear through my hoodie and took it off, I was steaming. So the plan for the rest of the afternoon was going to be my Arc'Teryx only with the pit zips open - a better plan. That was much better. After some snacks, I turned the GoPro back on and headed back out. Next was the "Step it Up" trail, which was also incredible. A little harder than Boot Camp but I liked it more than Movin' On. Then some jumps in the clearing area, I did the easy one first and then did the second one. Then I mastered the berm track!
At this point my battery on the camera was getting low, but at least I'd gotten some great footage already. I did Boot Camp again, the Movin' On, then Boot Camp again twice more. I had so much fun out there. I was going to also bike at Soaring Eagle and Pioneer Park, but this was so amazing that I just stayed at Duthie longer.
I had my iPhone GPS going the whole time to track my exercise, elevation and speed and so on, using the Strava app. Check out the results here:
After all of this epicness, I biked back to the Zipcar and packed up the bike, and then headed to Stumptown coffee. Literally as I pulled out of the main street driving away from Duthie, the rain started. What amazing luck! On the highway, the rain got a bit stronger, but it was ok. It was a nice change from the hours and hours of exercise.
|A huge ice cream|
|Some guys playing road-bike polo|
What an awesome day. :)