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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    3-4 recommended rides progressively more difficult for newbie?

    my first post.

    I'm 62 years old, 6' 2" and 180 pounds, and in reasonable physical condition. I live in North Bend near Rattlesnake Lake and work in Bellevue.

    I've had some pain from running and hiking from impact, but seem just fine on my elliptical for extended periods. so after 22 years away from cycling I've decided to jump back into it intending to get serious and have fun.

    I figured that i needed to first get a road bike so I could (1) make sure my body could handle the mechanics of cycling without issues, (2) build up my cardio and bike skills without undue dangers, and (3) be able to predictably ride whatever weather. I'd like to ride the STP or RSVP this year if I'm up to it. so three weeks ago I purchased a high end road bike, got a good 'fit' done, and so far I've ridden 6 times progressively longer distances so now I'm confident my body can handle cycling. time to get a mountain bike.

    so Thursday night I bought a 2012 Specialized S-Works Epic Carbon SRAM from a local guy off ebay and yesterday had it checked out at my LBS and got fitted. I'm ready to go ride but am looking for suggestions as to what might be 3 or 4 rides between Issaquah and North Bend that would be progressively more challenging but not get me in the deep do-do.....over my head. my Epic has the Specialized Command Post Blacklite so I can lower my seat for more technical decents.

    clearly there are lots of great sounding trails close by for me; I read about them (on this forum) and don't particularly understand the terminology used sufficiently to be comfortable knowing whether I'm able to handle them. I'm not afraid of some pain for some gain but would like to take things one step at a time. I'm not sure I've yet attained much climbing conditioning but need to work on that.

    if there is a resource which has newbie info along these lines then please point me in that direction.

    thanks in advance for any help and I'm looking forward to getting out there.

  2. #2
    Squeaky Wheel
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Welcome to the sport! Go ride out at Duthie - there are not a ton of XC trails out there but you can get a feel for how your bike handles. Everything out there is progressive so you can start easy and work up. If it still feels good throw in the Grand Ridge trail from Issaquah to Duthie and back. From there you have lot's of other options to try - Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, Tapework in Renton, St. Ed's in Kirkland, Paradise Valley in Woodinville, Tolt and Tokul in Carnation. See the trail section of the Evergreen website: Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance - Washington's Largest Mountain Bike Club for more ideas.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    thanks Woodway for the link. looks like Duthie has everything I need to ease into this at my speed.


  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Navigator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Agree with Duthie of course starting at Bootcamp. Only catch on Grand Ridge is the climbing takes significant fitness. A nice short run that minimizes climbing is riding from the back of the Central Park Soccer fields (Issaquah Highlands) up to the Grand Ridge Road, over the top and down to the first bottom/low...then back. 3-4 miles with 500+' of climbing.

    Soaring Eagle in Sammamish is a great place to get started with 8+ miles of XC semi-technical singletrack with minimal vertical but enough to make get a workout and have some fun. Difficulty is depends on how fast you go. Very close to Duthie and many loop options.

    Tokul West is a good place to train climbing legs and get a less smooth descending experience. Mostly fire road climbs but great descents, although the newer trails would be too tough. Recommend Outback to Middle to Beaver Pond. Go with a guide or preloaded GPS map from Strava/other.

    Tolt is similar to Soaring Eagle except with one short but strenuous climb at the start. 10+ miles back there. Twisty/windy/rooty tech.

    Iverson, NWT, and Silent Swamp would be good for a more All-Mountain experience with out serious climbing or intense technical.

    Go Shred!

  5. #5
    EMBA Member
    Reputation: Ladmo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    I had a similar re-introduction to the sport 3 years ago. I originally started mountain biking in the 80's, but had been sedentary for way too long. Upon hearing Duthie was opening, which is in my neighborhood, I decided to buy a bike and get back into it.

    I spent the first year riding only at Duthie. I didn't know anything else. Didn't know about the website, didn't know Grand Ridge was right across the street from Duthie, didn't know anything, really. I was technically ready for more before I was mentally ready to venture away from Duthie.

    The first time I was out at Duthie, I got about half way around bootcamp and had to stop by the side of the trail, sit down and try not to expire from too much cardio. I had people stopping to see if I was OK. It was bad.

    What I found was that Duthie had everything I needed to get re-introduced to the sport. At first, I could barely make it around bootcamp clean, then I added step it up and movin on to the mix and got to where I could clear all three. Then added braveheart and Ryan's line to the mix. I avoided any jumps or drops for quite a while.

    Evergreen has skills classes, some of which I've taken. They were helpful.

    Grand Ridge would be a good trail to ride right now. You can start at either end or from Central Park in the Issaquah Highhlands. Nothing particularly technical, but not manicured and perfectly smooth either. Duthie to I90 and back is maybe 11 miles and 2,000+ feet of climbing. You may want to bite this off in pieces before eating the whole thing.

    I've spent a lot of time riding around tokul. There are lots of opportunities to challenge yourself out there - or just ride around on relatively smooth trails too.

    Tiger Mountain is a great riding experience once you get a few miles under your belt. I just took a friend out there that just started riding 2 months ago. He felt great accomplishment by the time we got to the bottom of Preston - and great exhaustion by the time we got back to the parking lot. You will have many opportunities to stretch your skills out there.

    There are many other places to ride, some mentioned above by others and some further down the road from where you live. As the snow melts, things open up that make for amazing days in the saddle. Unfortunately, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River trail is going to be difficult to use this summer, but down towards Mt Rainier there is some awesome riding as well as the other side of Snoqualmie Pass.

    As far as uncertainty of what you can handle, as long as you are willing and able to realistically know your limits, there is no reason you can't (gasp) walk a section you are not yet comfortable riding and still enjoy the 99% of the trail you are comfortable with.

  6. #6
    Clueless Bastard
    Reputation: WA-CO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    I would reiterate some of what has been suggested above. As far as moderately easy trails with limited technical difficulty I would suggest:
    -Soaring Eagle in Sammamish
    -Paradise Valley over in Woodinville
    -Tolt in Carnation
    -St Eds/Big Finn Kirkland/Kenmore
    -Powerline trails (aka Thrilla) in Redmond
    Most trails in most of these areas are pretty smooth and buff, but again, its PNW so you're gonna find some rocks and roots.

    Next step might be
    -Tiger in Issaquah
    -Tapeworm (in Renton)
    Tiger can be moderately technical, and although tapeworm isn't terribly rock or root strewn, it has some punchy little climbs with tight technical turns that will work your bike handling skills.

    A bit of a drive but also consider
    -Dash Point State park in Federal Way is pretty nice.
    -Banner forest over in Gig Harbor has some nice trails. There's a Mexican joint nearby that has fantastic food.
    -Fort Ebey up on Whidbey/Oak Harbor is probably one of my favorite places in the PWN to ride, but it's an area that has steep little punchy climbs and technical features that will challenge your shins.

    Good luck...Have fun.

  7. #7
    I didn't do it
    Reputation: Mookie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Ditto for what has been already said. Fyi, Duthie can get really crowded so keep this in mind in case tons of people isn't your scene. If you want to branch out I say head out to Tolt, Tokul West and Tiger (lots of climbing but lots of fun).
    Let's eat Ted
    Let's eat, Ted
    Remember, commas save lives

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: faceplant72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Just to add since you are near Rattlesnake lake you have the effectively gravel road grind of the John Wayne trail and Snoqualmie valley tail (Safe way to get lots of miles for your STP training) and once the snow lifts the new road to trail conversions in the I-90 corridor. These may give you some option for riding from your house which is always a plus. If we still have access this summer with the road construction the Middle fork trail and CCC road are options for longer rides near you that have a nice feeling of getting out on a epic ride ( both will involve some hike a bike but that is half the fun)

  9. #9
    EMBA Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Take a class from Evergreen, you'll enjoy the ride and your bike even more.

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