Downtown to Defiance to give glimpse of future during Seahawks’ first game

Bicycle riders take advantage of Ruston Way being closed to cars as they head toward Tacoma during the 2014 Downtown to Defiance. This year’s event is Sept. 13.
Bicycle riders take advantage of Ruston Way being closed to cars as they head toward Tacoma during the 2014 Downtown to Defiance. This year’s event is Sept. 13. Staff file, 2014

Answers to important questions nobody asked me yet:

Q: Is it true that you can play in the streets during a Seahawks game without having to worry about traffic?

A: Usually I wouldn’t recommend trying, but you can definitely get away with this on Sept. 13.

Tacoma is shutting down roads between the Tacoma Dome and Point Defiance from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for the annual Downtown to Defiance event. The Seattle Seahawks’ NFL season opener is at 10 a.m. against St. Louis.

So, maybe the real question is, will turnout for the open road cycling/walking/running/skating/etc. event suffer?

Diane Wiatr, the city’s active transportation coordinator, doesn’t think so.

“Sure the diehards will be in front of the TV,” she said. “But people have DVRs and cellphones and can pop in (at various locations on the Tacoma waterfront) to check the score.”

She says organizers may also try to stream the game to one of the five parks on the route.

Downtown to Defiance, a free event, is in its third year. The first two years, neither of which conflicted with Seahawks’ games, had 800 people register. But significantly more turned out without registering, Wiatr said.

The annual event is meant to be a glimpse into the future when a planned multiuse trail will link Point Defiance and the Tacoma Dome area via the waterfront. For the event, roads are closed creating a roughly 7-mile (each way) route for self-propelled visitors to use without worry of traffic.

The route can be extended by continuing to Five Mile Drive at Point Defiance Park.

Downtown to Defiance is underwritten by sponsors including MultiCare, U.S. Bank, Tacoma Wheelmen’s Bicycle Club and the Russell Family Foundation’s Puyallup Watershed Initiative.

Wiatr says the event costs about $41,000 this year and that include much more than just closed roads. The Velofemmes and Kidical Mass will be leading bike rides. Each of the five Metro Parks Tacoma parks will have activities such as skateboarding, an obstacle course and the chance to take a short paddle in a kayak. “Metro Parks knows how to make places fun,” Wiatr said.

Food trucks will line the route. Elected leaders are scheduled to be at Marine Park at 10 a.m., where they’ll participate in the obstacle course.

While the event is free for all, Wiatr requests people sign up at downtowntodefiance.com so organizers can get feedback from participants.

Q: What’s a good way for runners and walkers to support wildland firefighters?

A: Standing near Alder Lake, a 250-acre fire scorching the forest behind him, U.S. Forest Service firefighter David Weyte was asked what he thought was the best way for people to say thank you to those battling blazes around Washington.

“The thing, I think, that would have the best long-term impact,” Weyte said, “is to donate to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.”

The foundation’s mission is to support wildland firefighters and their families when they’re injured or killed in the line of duty.

On Saturday at 5 p.m. in Lacey, Tumwater’s Fit Life Studio will host its second 9/11 Run with plans to donate all the proceeds to the foundation.

“It’s an opportunity to show our support to those east of the mountains who are endlessly working to save our homes and towns,” said Tessa Effland of Fit Life.

The Lacey Fire Department is scheduled to attend the 4-mile run and start the event with a siren from one of its trucks.

The event starts at Top Rung Brewing Company, 8343 Hogum Bay Lane NE, Lacey, and is $40.

Q: My dog loves the way I smell after mud runs. Any chance I can take him with me?

A: The second Muddy Mutt is Saturday in Carnation. Here’s how organizer Mary Meyer describes the mud run for people and their pups: “The dog’s response is impeccable. From their perspective, it’s kind of like a carnival or state fair for dogs and those who love dogs. ... Disneyland for dogs without the lines. It’s really creating a safe environment for people who love dogs and connecting with other dog lovers in an incredible atmosphere.”

The noncompetitive event raises money for dog charities and Camp Korey, a camp for children with serious medical conditions. Muddy Mutt entry is $50 for participant and the first dog and $6 for additional dogs. Visit muddymuttevent.com for more information.

Q: I like to second-guess my sanity while riding my bike, what should I do next weekend?

A: Passport2Pain, a sufferfest with a growing reputation, is Saturday (8 a.m.) at Vashon Island’s Jensen Point Park. First the good news: There are 18 food stops crammed into the 80-mile ride. That’s a lot of food.

The rest of the story: You’ll burn enough calories to eat something at every stop. Over those 80 miles, cyclists climb a grueling 10,000 vertical feet as they ascend approximately every hill on the island.

Organizers, the Vashon Island Rowing Club, bill the event as “the toughest ride in the Pacific Northwest” and “the best hard time.” The ride website is passport2pain.org.