Sunday, February 27, 2005

Chilly Hilly

I met six friends and we rode Chilly Hilly, a Cascade Bike Club event. The ride is a 33 mile loop around Bainbridge Island, and features quite a bit of hill climbing. One small reward of climbing a hill is getting to whiz down the other side!

Normally, the weather in February isn't reliable, so we planned to meet at the ferry and decide if we would ride. I was willing to ride in light rain; others joked about hanging out at the Blackbird Bakery on Bainbridge Island instead. ;) We were united in not wanting to ride in a comlete downpour. As it turned out, the weather was fine. Because so many other people decided to sign up, the registration line was long and we just missed the 9:30 am ferry. Instead, we caught the 10:30 ferry and grabbed some coffee while we waited.

Eve's Outfit

Eve arrived dressed in her special aero suit, complete with matching eyewear and handlebar streamers. The ballerina outfit drew rave reviews from other riders!

Once on Bainbridge Island, we rode with hundreds of fellow cyclists. Our group slowly spread apart, but we took stops every once in a while, so everybody was usually riding with someone else until we regrouped. It was a challenging ride - the first few hills were fine, and slowly as the miles wore on I got more and more tired. My goal for this ride was to spin in the highest cadence possible, so I liberally shifted between all my chainrings, seeking the gear ratio I could spin in. On many of the hills, it was the 30x25, my easiest and lowest gear combination!

About 20 miles into the ride was a shortcut back to the ferry terminal. We took a survey of what everybody thought - everybody said they felt good, so we continued along the full route. Besides, if we took the shortcut we would miss the very long hill just five minutes further. ;) It was grueling... but fun in its own way. The only bad thing about the full route was the poor condition of several miles of the road - it was all ripped up and undergoing repairs.

We finished up a little before 2 pm, and visited the Blackbird Bakery for treats and coffee. Unfortunately, the ferry system was running very far behind (probably because of all the extra time it took to load and unload us cyclists!) and the 3:50 pm ferry we were expecting to ride back actually arrived about 4:40, and it was past 5:00 before it pulled out.

At the bakery...

Francesca, Eve, and Jen, enjoying hot beverages after the ride.

All in all, this is a great ride - assuming the weather holds. As I mentioned, one reward for climbing a hill is zooming down the other side... this would be negated by heavy enough rain (and of course, it would be that much more miserable of a time). There were patches of fog but otherwise, it was fine. My total distance was 33.4 miles, and I clocked my ride time at 2 hours 24 minutes. I rode another mile or two around Winslow to and from the bakery, and in Seattle to and from the ferry to my car.

The Group

My only shot of all of us, and obviously I didn't get anybody's attention. From left to right: Brian (seated, in red/black), Dave (standing, in yellow/black), Eve (seated, pink tutu), Rod (standing, blue/black), Francesca (standing in red/blue/black), Jen (seated in yellow/black). Not pictured: me. ;)

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