Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chilly Hilly 2008: Less Chilly, Plenty Hilly

Chilly Hilly. Cycling season in Seattle has officially begun. A large group of EFC cyclists met me under the Alaskan Way Viaduct across from the Colman Ferry Terminal. We waited in dry but breezy waterfront weather to board the 8:45 a.m. ferry. The temp hovered around 48 degrees.

After arriving on Bainbridge Island, the cyclists streamed out of the ferry as the sun began to peek out from the clouds. As we weaved through Winslow and the neighborhoods surrounding the ferry terminal, riders filled the roads with four, five or six cyclists across and sometimes a few spilling over the centerline riding on the opposite side of the street. One of most entertaining moments of the ride occurred as we turned up Falk Rd. A middle-aged woman was standing in the street, her car parked with the engine running in her driveway. She frantically waved her arms as she shouted, "Excuse me, wait please, pardon me, stop... Oh! I'm NEVER going to get my car out of the driveway!" Hey, she had plenty of time to pull her car out before 7 a.m. This must be her first year living on Bainbridge, I figured.

As we worked our way around the island, I was grateful for the good weather. This ride can easily be rainy, cold, and generally miserable. Not this year. The day was beautiful. By mid-ride, the sun was shining and the clouds had parted.

With three miles to go, we turned the corner at Rockaway Bluff, my favorite part of this ride. The view of downtown Seattle was clear and crisp. And now, the hot bowl of chili was within reach. Just a few more hills to climb. In fact, this is the same route as last year, but I'm quite sure a few hills have formed since last year. Must be those tectonic plates shifting...

As we pulled into the finish line, under a bright sun, I commented, "Yep, feels like the first ride of the year!" 33 miles done. A whole lot more to go this year. But, a great start. Cycling season has officially begun.

Riders: Bob H., Bob D., Kristin, Jim, David, Chris, Sue, Johnny, Jay, Kurt
Total Dist.: 32.62 mi
Avg. Speed: 12.5
Max Speed: 40.2
Time: 2:35
Total Elevation: 2,675 ft.