Sunday, July 29, 2012

Interurban Adventure

Some years are not quite as fabulous as others.  After I finally got my work schedule under control, I enjoyed a couple of weeks of good solid training, and then I caught a cold.  Just a little cold, and the first one I've had in years, but I didn't treat it with the respect that having asthma requires, and it turned into more than two solid weeks of raging bronchitis.  Sigh.  My roller skis and running shoes miss me.

But no matter -- I'm well again, and ready to get back out there.  I am very aware that July is almost over and winter is marching inexorably toward us, but I forced myself to be cool last week and ease my battered lungs back into activity.  I took walks at Green Lake and Shilshole, I biked to work, and by this weekend I was ready for an Interurban Adventure.

The Interurban Trail starts in north Seattle and links the urban centers of Edmonds, Shoreline, Lynnwood, and Mill Creek before ending in Everett.  As it happens, I was meeting my friends in Everett on Saturday night for an Aquasox minor league baseball game, so I decided to bike to the game!

I had checked out part of the trail earlier this summer, hoping it might be a good roller ski option close to home.  It's not; it's hilly, and punctuated by complicated bridges and sharp corners.  The trail is not in existence the whole way; it periodically dumps you out onto the road, sometimes onto busy city streets, sometimes onto winding rural backroads, sometimes with signs telling you where to go, sometimes without.  The signage, or lack of signage, is interesting: I'm so used to ski races and trail running races, with their plethora of bright little flags and cones leading you around corners and blocking off the wrong way.  The Interurban is for explorers; the signs are few and far between, and it sometimes takes some searching to find them.  I was misplaced a couple of times, but only tragically lost once, and then I just retraced my steps until I found the sign I had missed.

So it's not roller ski-worthy, and it's not particularly lovely, except in a few places; it parallels busy highways and slides along the back of shopping malls and through parking lots.  But it's perfectly adequate for getting from one city to another without using a car, and even with my creative route-finding, I made it to the game by the middle of the first inning.  The parking lot attendant was fascinated that I had biked from Seattle and wanted to hear all about my adventure.  The game itself, for those keeping score, was a thriller: the Mariners' top draft pick, getting in some seasoning at the minor league level, hit a grand salami home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs to win the game.  My oh my!  After the game there was a fireworks show -- I love fireworks! -- and then Frank and Roxanne drove me to Pat's house, where I spent the night. 

The next morning, over a leisurely breakfast, Pat and I solved some of the world's problems, then I hopped back on my bike and rode down the long long hill to get back to the trail head.  

Mile 0.0, heading back to Seattle
I had an easier time going back, slightly more familiar with the trail and its meanderings.  I stopped in Shoreline to have lunch with my friend Shan, and then headed on home.  A mile or two from home, I succumbed to the siren call of Starbucks and stopped for a restorative iced soy chai, and then finally rolled into my driveway, hot and dusty and tired, well satisfied with the effort and with the 60-plus miles of bike riding stored in my legs.  I wouldn't ordinarily spend the whole weekend biking, because I don't think it's great ski training -- or perhaps I should say, given a non-infinite amount of training time, I get more bang for the buck with roller skiing and trail running -- but for a weekend when I didn't think my body was quite up to a strenuous run, this was perfect!  

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