Sometimes the weather gods take pity on you! Saturday morning it was snowing for hours. It didn’t get deep, and it turned to rain by afternoon, but many reports called for more coming. The Chilly Hilly was Sunday morning, and even though it is held rain or shine (and let me tell you I have done both!) snow would have been dicey!
When the alarm went off, though, it was simply raining and no snow. It was also a helluva lot warmer than I expected. OK! the ride was on!
I made the Starbucks run, and for reasons I am not sure of, both Michelle’s ice tea and my breakfast sandwich was free! No matter how you slice it, its a good omen for the day when that happens. I was out the door on time, and even more surprising, it had stopped raining!
I got down to the Seattle waterfront, and after searching for a bit, I found free parking! (good omen #2) I am pretty sure others were worried about the snow as well, since their seemed to me there were fewer cyclists this year than ever before waiting for the ferry.
I had to laugh though, I have stood in this line many times over the years, with upwards to the 1000 or more riders with me. Today was the first time I noticed this sign above us,
I am pretty sure we adhered to this rule!
The ferry ride before and after the Chilly Hilly is one of my favorite parts of this ride.
I am not I am not sure why, maybe its all the bikes and the riders there with me!
The ferry take us from Seattle to Bainbridge island, about a 30 minute voyage.
Long enough to get a cup of coffee and then to take a few pictures.
There’s a lot of things I like about this ride, one of the most fun is that the minute the ferry docks, the ride is on. You then ride around the island.
There is also a downside to this though. This means a huge ferry full of bikes starts at EXACTLY the same time! For the first 5 miles or so, you are traveling in an heard of other riders. If you do not like to ride in crowds, this is NOT the ride for you.
At the 5 mile point, you hit the first steep hill. It tends to spread people out some. That’s the point I knew it was going to be a good ride! It wasn’t raining, I had chosen the correct layers for the day (with strategic zipping and unzipping of the wind breaker) and (most importantly) I was climbing strong!
Before I knew it I was 10 miles into the 33 mile route and really feeling no pain! I hit each uphill hard and steady, and turned her loose on the down hills. I hit 40 mph once, but most of the time it was the low 30s. With the wet roads I wanted to be a bit careful.
Tradition calls for me to stop at the halfway mark for a hotdog. This started back when 33 miles was a tough ride. Now, its actually a short training distance for me, but I was looking forward to it! This was the only point of the ride where it rained. Luckily the hotdog stand was under cover!
This was also where I ran into Auburn Liz (one of my friends who completed the Seattle to Portland last year). She was riding with her friend Erin. They had skipped the ferry and drove to the starting line, letting them get an earlier start. They had asked about the upcoming route, so I had to tell them about the upcoming Baker Hill (the longest climb of the ride!) The whole time I am doing this Erin is staring daggers at me! She then giggled and said “Look at me, giving you the death eye like you put the hill there!”
They took off and I got my dog. I hit that hill 3 miles later and blazed up! (As I passed them I noticed they didn’t like it as much as I did) and I gave a battle yell as I hit the downhill! (yes people looked at me strangely but who cares!)
This ride supports my love for riding in the Northwest. I didn’t stop for many pictures, but I had to take these two.
I can ride near the water or in the mountains, sometimes both in the same day. It really is amazing, even in February!
You know its a good ride for you when you hit the last hill of the day, and its a steep one, but you find yourself passing more people there than you have all day. I was blazing up the hill! Not even short of breath!
The weather gods were smiling though! By the time the ferry dropped us off, it was pouring in Seattle! It proceeded to rain the rest of the day. BUT, since my ride was done I didn’t care!
if you are ever in Seattle on the last Sunday of Feb, consider this ride. Its great for all riders. I saw fixed gear bikes, fat bikes, little kids on mountain bikes and even this guy.
I am not sure if he was trying out for Captain America III or what, but this just seemed to be overkill for our little Sunday ride! I would like to point out though, he and I were on the same boat going and coming! So he wasn’t THAT much faster than I was!
I love this ride, and look forward to it every year! Some years I am not happy with my performance. This year though, I rocked it! I need to keep up the rides, and I will, but here’s looking forward to a great cycling year!