Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Seven Hills of Kirkland

The Seven Hills of Kirkland has become an annual ride every Memorial Day. In talking with other cyclists, this is either an "I love it" or "I hate it" kind of ride. The short route covers 40 miles and seven hills in and around Kirkland. The metric century is 58 miles and adds about 4 more hills. The full century (100 miles) extends out to Carnation, Duvall, and Monroe and adds even more hillwork. Although I usually take on the century, this year I chose to ride the metric century with riding partners Jay, Jim, and David.

We started out around 8 a.m. and made quick work of the first set of hills around Juanita, Kenmore and Bothell. The weather was cloudy and cool. I called it Goldilocks weather... just right. Our first rest stop was around 20 or so miles at an LDS church in Kirkland. We stopped very briefly there before taking on the challenging Winery Hill.

Winery Hill is notable for the Scottish bagpiper at the top of the climb playing encouraging notes to beckon the cyclists onward. As we reached the top of the hill, the rain began. Fortunately it was brief.

We stopped a bit longer at the LDS church and partook of the best chocolate chip cookies we've had. Then it was time to head east toward Redmond and off the shorter 7 Hills route for the longer metric century. The rain began again and I pulled over to don my bright yellow jacket. The jacket didn't stay on for long as once we reached the top of Novelty Hill, I was warm enough and the rain had stopped again. There are days like that as a cyclist... clothes on, clothes off.

At Union Hill, we reached the fork in the road. Century riders turned left and Metric Century riders turned right. I was actually glad to turn right. I knew I'd be home and in the shower before the 100 mile riders even reached the finish line!

Our final rest stop was at an Episcopal church in Redmond. This gave us one more chance to refuel with moist chocolate brownies and to refill our water bottles. Then we were off to rejoin the 7 Hills route and make our last climb of the day.

As we reached the Bridle Trails neighborhood, we were now in the last 6 miles of the ride--and it was all downhill! Returning to Kirkland, we rode under the 7 Hills of Kirkland banner, and turned into the Kirkland Marina to be greeted by the best strawberry shortcake, hot coffee, and a place to sit and rest before heading back to the car. I looked at my watch. Yep, if I was on the 100 mile route, not only would I still be riding, but I'd be out there for at least two more hours. I wasn't complaining about my early finish... not at all. Think I'll take another bite of shortcake!

Riders: Jim, David, Jay, Bob
Dist: 58.8
Time: 4:24
Avg: 13.3
Max: 39.3

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