Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mercer Island Loop - Great Views, Great Training Too

One of my favorite rides is the mercer island loop, a popular Seattle-area ride that takes you on Mercer Island Way, one of the few low-traffic roads in the area. Just head east over the I-90 bike trail and you can be there in 15 minutes from Capitol Hill.

Here's the elevation graph of the route:

Since I got my cyclo-computer I've been watching the numbers (hopefully not too much), and this is a great ride (with no stop signs or lights for 15 miles or so!) to test your mettle and see just how high you can push the numbers. Small rolling hills, nice flats, plenty of turns to test your cornering abilities.

As per usual, I was coming up on folks also riding the loop, some more serious than others. I passed one guy that I figured I could easily drop, but sure enough I looked back a minute later and saw his shadow next to mine. Damn! Time to turn up the juice! (At this point my average speed was 20.x mph, pretty fast for me)

So I kicked up the pace and tried to keep it at 24-26 mph, but he's just sitting back there drafting, enjoying the good life! I couldn't drop him, but he eventually turned off the road and I continued on. It's not that I can drop anyone on the road, hell I don't really even race, but on Mercer Island I haven't been dropped once yet, although I'm sure my day will come. Last week there was a dude with tatoo-sleeves that I started semi-racing with, and eventually dropped him after the big climb. Damn that feels gooood!

My average speed was up to 21.x mph at the end of the loop, but then it's all uphill on the way back to Capitol Hill. By the time I got home my average was down to 18.8 mph, but I'm pretty happy with that, considering the terrain.

So if you get a chance, check out the Mercer Island Loop, you'll be glad you did! And if I see you out there (I ride a celeste bianchi eros and usually wear a 'Washington' jersey), let's see who can drop who!!


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

thanks for the great info on a hidden gem of a ride---who knew no stop signs for 15 miles?! Cool