24 September 2018

Mile after Mile at Swan Creek Park

What a day at Swan Creek Park! We rolled in at sun-up to setup for Century Swan, an attempt at 100 one-mile laps on the paved roads of the Lister Uplands. About ten riders set off around 8:30am. Not all of us we're aiming for 100, but we all needed an early start.

It was pretty cool. There were riders on road bikes, city bikes, kid bikes, mountain bikes, and even one fixed gear bike. One friend came out to take photos and others brought kids and dogs to just hang-out and cheer us on. With the support tent fully stocked, we rolled on into the afternoon with plenty of breaks.

The miles started taking their toll around 2pm. Some folks had reached their goals, some were adding a few bonus miles, and others were trying to dig deep to find a second wind. We were still smiling though! At lap 54, I hooked up the trailer and took my kindergartner for a few slow laps and somehow that helped get my legs ready for another 10 laps on my own.

By 4pm the little kids had all gone home, our fixed gear rider finally threw in the towel at lap 81, and only one person could still pull off the century. Jeremy rode the last two laps on his own and completed the first ever Century Swan! 

It was rad. We each set our own goal, we each set our own pace, but we all still rode together on this tiny course. 

Here are some take-aways:
  1. If you bring a pop-up tent, it's officially a major event.
  2. Daniel can carry that pop-up tent on his road bike handlebars.
  3. Invite everyone.
  4. Figure out who you didn't invite so you can invite them next time.
  5. There will be another Century Swan!

06 August 2018

Century Swan

You all want to ride bikes on Sunday September 23rd? I found a one mile paved loop at Swan Creek Park and I'm going to attempt 100 laps. It's nearly flat, closed to cars, and mostly wooded - the perfect Century Swan! I'll be there at 8am by the pump track with a pop-up tent, chairs, water, tools, tubes, snacks, and hopefully a bunch of you to share the day with. Ride as much or as little as you want - it's not a race - just a reason to show Swan Creek Park some extra love. 

Some Details
Swan Creek Park is the second largest in Tacoma. It's enormous. There was a housing project here in the 1940s, which was razed in the 1950s. The roads remain and the housing blocks are filled with trees. Mountain bike trails have been built in recent years, but the roads are great for folks trying to put in some saddle time without getting too far from their home in Tacoma.

One perimeter lap of the purple area shown above is a nearly perfect mile and there's only 25 feet of elevation gain/drop per lap. There's just enough downhill to coast a bit and just enough uphill that you may want to shift once or twice. 

The best part is that, for now, the park is closed to motorized vehicle traffic. For folks who are new to cycling, especially families that want their youngsters to work on handling and learning some Rules of the Road, this space is perfect.

Access to the park is somewhat limited. You can enter around a gate by the Lister Elementary parking lot or from a paved path at the Swan Creek Community Garden parking lot (porta-potty at this entrance also). The dot on the map above is by the pump track and the mtb trailhead (also a porta-potty location.) You can also reach Swan Creek Park on Pierce Transit Route 41.

Leave a comment if you think you can join me!