No Wonder people think I am nuts

Here I am, sitting in the red chair off the kitchen, sipping tea, while looking outside and seeing the snow coming down.  I shouldn’t be all that surprised, it is still February, which is the middle of winter.  There is a fire in the wood burning stove and we are warm and toasty.

So what’s the problem?  Well tomorrow is, in essence, opening day of Cycling season in the Seattle area!  Yep, I can hear y’all thinking it, “You just said it was February, AND that it was snowing.  We just looked at the paragraph above again and you said that!”

Yep I did, but regardless of the weather, tomorrow I saddle up for my 8th Chilly Hilly!

From the Website:

The Chilly Hilly has been kicking off the cycling season in the Northwest on the last Sunday in February for the past 42 years. The 33-mile route around Bainbridge Island starts with a scenic early morning ferry ride across Puget Sound from Seattle, or you can join the crowd directly on Bainbridge Island.

Join us on Sunday, Feb. 23, for the ride Bicycling Magazine named “One of Four Classic Rides” in the nation. It’s guaranteed to be hilly, probably chilly and always a heck of a lot of fun.

– See more at:

This was the first organized ride I ever did.  The first time was in 1999.  I was still hurting from early Rainier attempt failures and looking for something else to try.  One day, while reading the paper, I found a story about the upcoming Chilly Hilly ride.  I looked at the 33 miles and all the hills and thought, “WOW that looks hard!  But what the hell!” So I filled out the entry form from the paper (no interwebs back then) and got ready to go.

I then proceeded to push the damn bike up almost every hill.  Yeah, I was in NO shape to do this.  Add to it I almost caused a pile up by not signaling a slow down, it was not my best ride.  But I liked it and new I would again!

And, in 2007, on my old Novara hybrid, wearing hiking boots to keep my feet warm, I saddled up again.

Chilly Hilly 2007

I had time to train a bit for this ride, soI made it to the top of every hill, but it was NOT easy.  But again, I had fun!  But at the time, I was still trying to be a runner, and taking one more shot at Rainier.  This was my only ride of 07.

08 rolled around though, and Mountainstroh the cyclist had been born.  I got my Specialized Tri-Cross at Christmas, and I was ready to go!  This was the first of MANY rides I’ve taken and continue to take.chilly Hilly 08

That is, I was ready after getting 3 flat tires in the first 3 miles!!!  (I learned about puncture resistant tires soon after that!)  The hills were nuthin!  I was passing more experiences people on the hills.  Its when I learned that the right gears and mountain legs make me one helluva climber!

Tomorrow will be my 8th ride.  I look forward to it every year.  It is beyond a doubt a very hilly ride.

Chilly Hilly Topo map
Chilly Hilly Topo map

And on those years I haven’t ridden much, it gets the cobwebs off the muscles.  What I like is there are 3000+ of my best friends out there riding with me.  Kids set up card tables along the route to sell baked goods, water and gatorade, and they always have killer hotdogs at the half way mark.

It is also incredibly cool to see a ferry filled with bikes and cyclist.


imageNo one on the boat looks at me like I am nuts!  its a feeling of accomplishment for all of us to get up early, wait in line, and cycle for a few hours in the butt cold!  I’ve had some years it rained, hailed or sleeted, once the route had to be moved do to heavy floods. and even a couple where the sun came out and it was nice! But tomorrow, I might have to watch out for this!


But like I always say, “Its all about the layers!”  It does explain why some people think I am nuts!


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