Paul Andrews

Today’s Ride: Round Lake Sawyer

In Mountain Biking, Today's Ride on March 21, 2009 at 8:26 pm

A spot of sun, so I have to get outta Dodge for some trail ridin’!!

Tiger Mountain reportedly is snowed in, so I headed for Lake Sawyer/Black Diamond and some more exploring. Sawyer is such a playground. You can spend hours riding in circles, not having a clue where in Sam Hill you are, and then suddenly pop out, back right where you started. And you never even detoured off the trail!

Is this what you call a circle jerk?

Is this what you call a circle jerk?

Another advantage of Sawyer is that it stays pretty dry even in the boggy weather we’ve been having lately. I ran into some puddles here and there but generally the bike stayed pretty clean. When you have a white bike, you can kinda tell right away.

I rode some bridges and a couple of structures, but they’re looking mighty poorly. The teeter is broke. Someone snapped it right at the axle, so now you can roll down it, but that probably won’t last long. The break looked like a natural give; not sure how it might’ve happened. Some Clydesdale must’ve dropped it pretty hard. Or maybe a couple of riders at once.

From teeter to roll-down

From teeter to roll-down

Other structures are just falling apart. Hopefully by late spring the groms will be out fixing things up. I should say Sawyer’s collection, at least what I know of it, ain’t great. There’s limited run-up, not a lot of room for transition, and some plain goofy angles. Makes you appreciate Colonnade and Sea-Tac all the more.

A tad dicey on this one

A tad dicey on this one

After the ride I popped into Black Diamond for a visit to the bakery. Back in the day, when I was a cub reporter at The Seattle Times and assigned to cover suburban news (what there was of it), I’d occasionally find myself in Black Diamond for a story involving some of the local characters. It was quite a place back then, still hanging onto its coal-mine heritage and full of iconoclastic rugged individualist types.

But the Black Diamond Bakery was the bomb! It was the only place you could get brick-oven bread baked fresh that morning. The stuff was ambrosia, succulent, chewy, subtle. I’d haul three or four loaves back home to Seattle and keep them frozen, then pop them in the oven when it was time to eat.

It’s funny, back then the city was full of fake cheeseball stuff — remember Langendorf? — and you had to go to the outlying districts for the good, authentic, real deal. Today it’s just the opposite. The outlying areas are being destroyed by tacky soulless malls while city neighborhoods, where they aren’t being consumed by faceless condos with tanning salons and sandwich shops on street level, are keeping it real.

The Black Diamond Bakery still has good stuff, but with Macrina, Essential, Tall Grass and other neighborhood bakeries here, I can load up on a ride around town just as well. And the street I live on has more elevation gain than the whole of Lake Sawyer. Hopefully Tiger will be clearing up soon — it’s only a little more than 3 weeks to official opening day (April 15)!

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