THE SCHMIDT SHOW TRIATHALON
I hate swimming, mostly. About once or twice a year, the perfect cocktail of hot weather, crisp fresh water, a decent tan line and a Safety Break ISA presents itself to me, and I can coerce myself into a quick dip. So when I say this is the best trifecta of Bellingham exercise, you can rest assured that I’m right. Unless you hate swimming more than me.
When it hits 90 degrees in Bellingham, the whole city melts and heads to the nearest body of water. If you’re like me, and you like to be efficient and mix your summer adventures with exercise, laziness and a good beer, pay attention to this route.
Hit the road on your bike and enjoy the scenic twisty road to North Lake Whatcom. Too nervous to battle those first hills? Check out Railroad Trail, which bypasses that evil giant called “Alabama” as well as the bumpy trails of Whatcom Falls Park. Or, park and leave your car at Bloedel Donovan Park.
When you arrive at North Lake Whatcom Trailhead, you have a few options. I prefer to duck into the restroom to change into my bathing suit, and then jump back on my bike. From there, I’ll ride along the North Lake Whatcom (or Hertz) trail to my favorite swimspot (sorry, I’m not giving that secret away).
Usually, my husband has tagged along, and sets up camp and babysits the bikes. If you’re braving the Schmidt Show Tri solo, don’t forget to lock your bike to a tree and bring your valuables with you.
Now, time for a run. If you start from the beginning, the full out and back is about 6 miles. When it’s the Schmidt Show, it’s about 3 miles- because that’s about how long I can last knowing that a cold brew is waiting for me back at the watering hole. If you’re a real overachiever, head for the 7 mile summit of Stewart Mountain.
Back at our swimming spot now, it’s time for a Schmidty style dip in the water. I’m hot, sweaty and it’s a beautiful view no matter where you are on the trail. I take two good swigs of Boundary Bay Safety Break, completely interrupt my husband mid-story and make a jump for it! Depending on the availability of floating logs nearby to hang on to, I’ll generally last about 2-10 minutes.
Beers, people walking by admiring our sweet location, plenty of peaches and endorphins. Life is good.
Before heading back, be sure drink some of that gallon of water you remembered to pack in your pannier. Remember- it’s hot, you are exercising a ton, and you just had a beer- stay hydrated and be safe on the road!