OK time for Plan B!

Well, as we all know, My plan this year was the RAMROD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day) for July.  I joined the lottery last month, and I was waiting for the reply….  Well today I got this

Thank you for your interest in the 2013 RAMROD. We are sorry to inform you that your entry was not selected in the lottery. Your credit card has not been charged the balance of the registration fee.

The response was overwhelming! Over 1,000 were not selected in the lottery and are now moved to the Wait List.

Your current position on the wait list is 407. We have a link to the wait list on the RAMROD website. Please keep checking there to see your place on the wait list moving down and to determine your odds of getting in.

If your initial wait list number is 100 or less you can be very sure you will have a chance to ride. Between 100 and 200 your odds are still good. Above 200 the odds will depend largely on factors such as perceived weather conditions the day of the ride.

CRAP!!  OK, time for plan B. There was a second ride I wanted to do this year, but without any vacation time, I would not have been able to do them both.  This one allowed even fewer riders, so I was sure I was aced out.  So I accessed the Crater Lake Century, and damned if there wasn’t still room!  Out came the debit card and I am signed up!

For those of unfamiliar with Crater Lake I am taking this from the Century rides website:

Crater Lake

The deepest lake in the United States and the 7th deepest in the world is located in the northern part of Klamath County and was chosen as the site of the century ride because few places on earth command overwhelming awe from observers as Crater Lake does. Even in a region of volcanic wonders, Crater Lake can only be described in superlatives. Stories of the deep blue lake can never prepare visitors for their first breathtaking look from the brink of this 6 mile wide caldera which was created by the eruption and collapse of Mt. Mazama almost 7,000 years ago. Even seasoned travelers gasp at the twenty-mile circle of cliffs, tinted in subtle shades and fringed with hemlock, fir, and pine: all this in a lake of indescribable blue. For more information about Crater Lake , go to www.nps.gov/crla.

Now, this is a century instead of the 150 miles of RAMROD.  But this is no slouch!



The Century Ride

Century Riders (100 miles) will start at the Fort Klamath Museum on Crater Lake Highway (Rte 62) at 4,000 ft elevation, and will enjoy the first 35 miles along the valley floor of the Wood River Valley with breathtaking views of the surrounding Cascade mountains with old growth forests. This will be a nice warm up for the 3,000 ft climb to the Crater Lake Rim. Once reaching Crater Lake Rim and getting your first view of the brilliantly blue, awe inspiring Crater Lake, Century Riders will continue another 30 miles of peaks and valleys for an additional 3,000 ft of climbing around the lake on Rim Drive. Then riders will enjoy the ride back down to the Wood River Valley and will end the ride with 8 miles of flat roads back to the Fort Klamath Museum.

OK a 3000 foot climb and a total of 6000 ft of climbing means its mountain training time!  I will be road tripping down to Enumclaw for a trip to the top of Chinook pass and back a few times when it gets warmer, as well as the two Century Rides I have already lined up.

I am excited about this ride.  I have ALWAYS wanted to see Crater Lake, but somehow have never gotten there in all my travels in Oregon.  I am also a National Park Geek (as well as many other kinds of geek) so I get a passport stamp every time I go to one.

We have booked a place in Klamath Falls for Thurs-Sat.  This means we travel there on Thursday, drive the route, get my stamps, take pictures and walk around in the park Friday, then get to sleep close by Saturday night!

Rest assured I will be signing up for RAMROD next year again (the year I hit 50!) but now I know what I am training for this year!  Sadly, its been raining non-stop today, so time to go out to the shed for an hour on the rollers!

This stuff just got real this year!

Organized Ride Communication

So one week from tomorrow is the Chilly Hilly.  A 33 mile bike ride around beautiful Bainbridge Island,  put on by the Cascade Bicycle Club.




Chilly Hilly Feb 12, 2012
Chilly Hilly Feb 12, 2012 (Photo credit: Mark Iverson)


It is the official kick off to the bike riding season here in the Seattle area,  3000 of my bet friends and I will ride the ferry from downtown to Bainbridge Island.


Downtown Seattle, Washington and the Bainbridg...
Downtown Seattle, Washington and the Bainbridge Island ferry. During the past few decades many high rises have gone up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Did you catch the name of this ride?  Let’s break it down shall we?  The first word in its name is Chilly.  This is, after all, the end of February in Washington State.  Yep it really does rain here a lot in the winter time.  So, this ride has the potential to be not only cold (not Chilly, but COLD!) but wet as well!  I’ve done this one 5 times over the years, and not only have I been rained on, but also snow, hailed and sleeted on.  More than once I have been worried the route would be too icy to be safe.


Conversely though, at least one year, I had to shuck layers and get down to shirt sleeves.  It had warmed up that much!  February is a weird month around here.  (Check out the post just previous to this one, and see the picture of the hail down pour.)  I will have fleece and gortex ready.


So the second word in the name is Hilly.  Here’s the breakdown from Cascade.


Chilly Hilly Topo map
Chilly Hilly Topo map


In all, each of us will climb 2700 feet.  Some hills are monsters and others not so bad, but defying gravity the whole time you climb.  There are some EXCELLENT long down hills though!  Almost makes it worth it.


What makes it even more fun though, is throughout the course the local kids have bake sales like you wouldn’t believe.  I get my fill of chocolate chip cookies and brownies and want more!  I look forward to it every year.


But the title of this is communication during long rides.  With this many people on the road at the same time, lack of communication can lead to a painful and very large chain reaction.  So, in this as well as all rides I have been on, you will see and hear the same things.  So here we go:


ON YOUR LEFT:  ALL passing should be done on the left only.  As someone comes up to pass, they should either say this loudly or ring a bell to let you know they are there.  It keeps you from pulling out to pass.  Make sure to do the same when you pass.


CAR BACK!:  This is shouted when a car is coming up behind you.  The roads for these rides are still open to traffic.  The Car Back shout is relayed to the bikers further up the road.  This lets riders know they should move over to the right and ride in single file until it is past them.


CAR UP:  Same thing, only the car is coming in the opposite direction.


SLOWING: When coming to a stop sign or a bottleneck of some kind, bikes don’t have brake lights. Make sure to also use the STOPPING HAND SIGNAL.


These are the verbal communications you will hear and should use, but there is also the non verbal.


LEFT and RIGHT Arm signals:  Use these for every turn.  Just like in traffic, if you make a turn without signaling, it can cause all kinds of problems.


In addition, watch the people in front of you.  Experienced riders have gotten into the habit of pointing out holes, branches, gravel or rough pavement for those behind them.  They also bend their elbows with  hands waving back and forth to indicate a railroad crossing.


All of this combined helps keep 1000s of riders on the road, and enjoying themselves, while minimizing wrecks.  It may look strange, and more than one local has sat there shaking his head and spitting trying to figure out what the hell these spandex clad nuts are doing in the cold!  (OK, maybe Spitting is a bit much).

However, you gotta love any ride where a Catholic Priest, instead of holding sermons (this is a Sunday ride) stands on the sidewalk blessing the riders with holy water at the bottom of the last hill!  I am far from religious, but at the first time I did this ride, I was hurting!  So a little divine intervention was appreciated!  Though the parish seemed a bit put off when I shouted “Thanks dude!”  If I wanted to be mean, I would’ve yelled “It BURRRRRNNNNSSS!”

If you ever get the chance, sign up for this!  it’s a great way to get your riding started early in the year!


Chilly Hilly 2013

Chilly Hilly


With Chilly February weather and 2,675 feet of Hilly climbing, the name says it all!

Chilly Hilly has been kicking off the cycling season in the Northwest on the last Sunday in February for the past 40 years. The 33-mile route around Bainbridge Island starts with an early morning ferry ride across Puget Sound from Seattle, or you can join the crowd directly on Bainbridge Island.
Join us on Sunday, Feb. 24, for the ride Bicycling Magazine named “One of Four Classic Rides” in the nation! Guaranteed to be hilly, probably chilly and always a heck of a lot of fun.
Course is open from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. If you are taking the ferry over from Seattle, the ride starts when you get off the ferry. If you are starting on Bainbridge Island, the ride starts at the top of the ferry off-ramp on Winslow Way. Get registered! 
  • A scenic cruise on a Washington State Ferry
  • Free baked goods & hot cider at the American Legion Hall Hot Cider Food Stop
  • Supporting 10 local Bainbridge Island charities
  • Finish Line Festival with fantastic chili feed that is a fundraiser for the Squeaky Wheels Bicycling Club.

Ride the Chilly Hilly

Chilly Hilly reminds you that winter is no excuse to stop riding because spring is just around the corner.

Who rides Chilly Hilly?

  • Chilly Hilly record number of riders is 6,029 (set in 2010)
  • Riders have come from far and wide including Alaska, Iowa, Nevada and New York – plus British Columbia and France.
  • Typically 25% of riders were female; 75% were male
  • The oldest registered rider was 78 years old. The youngest was one and a half years old. (We’re not sure, however, how old the youngest rider who actually rode on his or her own was.)