The other day CFL and I took a bike ride with a few thousand other cyclists. The Cascade Bicycle Club held its annual Chilly Hilly, a 33-mile ride around Bainbridge Island near Seattle.
Last year we pre-registered for the ride, but woke up that morning to the threat of snow, so we decided not to risk driving 75 miles to the start location, having an miserable day, and then driving home.
So far this year we’ve had unusually warm and dry weather. Our local mountains have received barely any snow, while we’ve watched the east coast get hammered by winter. We started talking a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of doing the Chilly Hilly, but we agreed we’d wait until the morning of the event to make the decision.
By last Friday the forecast was looking so perfect that we decided we’d drive over on Saturday, enjoy the afternoon and evening, have a nice dinner, get a good night’s sleep, and go for a bike ride!
It was indeed chilly (in the high 30s) when we headed out on Sunday morning to join the throngs of riders who were coming over from Seattle on the ferry. But the sky was bright blue and the temperature quickly reached the low 50s.
So the “chilly” part was a non-issue, but there was no avoiding the “hilly” part. The route was a roller coaster! We went up–and then down–our first big hill in the first mile.
We soon reached our first “photo op,” where we joined dozens of people who were stopping to take photos of happy faces and the Seattle skyline.
The Mountain was out (as the locals say about Mt. Rainier)! It’s visible on the far right of this photo.
The route basically circumnavigated the island; we rode right along the waterfront most of the time. Over the entire 33 miles, I only recall one relatively long, flat section. Most of the hills were short, but very steep. I confess I had to get off and walk in two places, but then so did a lot of other people. The official elevation gain is listed as 2,675 feet. Counting the ride uphill back to our motel afterwards, my GPS watch registered 2,726 feet. By the end, we’d had enough hills for one day–but we felt very proud of what we’d accomplished.
So far this year I’m doing a bit less running and more bike riding than I’d expected. We’re starting to really enjoy riding for 30+ miles, and we’re talking about training to do some much longer rides this summer. We have a big cycling event planned, but I’ll tell you more about that later.
Right now, the trail is calling me and I plan to go out and run about 9 miles!