It paid off to make this week's ride a Sunday ride. Yesterday it poured. I may have seen cats and dogs during that downpour. But Sunday was whole different story. Today was beautiful. But today was going to hurt. I had yet to choose a route when I sent out this week's email. I knew it would be short. If 30 miles qualifies as short. But I didn't know where I would take the riders. It was a mystery ride. And moments before I headed out to the parking lot to greet the group, I determined our route. We'd do a portion of the Summits of Bothell.
The Summits of Bothell, in its full glory, is 8 summits in 38 miles with 3,250 ft vertical evlevation gain. More per mile then RAMROD. We were only going to do about half of those summits and only do 27 miles, but it still meant a lot of climbing early in the year when--for some of us--we had yet to earn our climbing legs.
Our first climb was south of Eastside Church just past the Safeway. Within one mile of our start, I had our group climbing up and up. Fortunately, I didn't lose anyone. But we were all gasping. Except for Cary. I don't think he ever hurts. And for a guy north of fifty, that's impressive.
We crossed Finn Hill and the shot back down to EFC. At least one rider asked if we were done and could he pull into the parking lot. I smiled. Nope. More pain to come! Next was Norway Hill. It's a steady climb, but the grade isn't as bad as some of the other hills. The view is always outstanding. That is if you have enough energy to lift your head.
Next, we rode through the UW Bothell/Cascadia campus to take us into the North Creek office park where we climbed up NE Hollyhills Drive. At the top, we caught our breath, warmed up in the sun, and looped around to tackle the next hill... the worst of the bunch.
They call this next one, "The Wall." And with good reason. I don't have a way to measure the grade, but wouldn't be surprised if it was close to 15 percent. Everyone gasps when they see The Wall, let alone when they reach the top. But reach the top, we did. And as a gift to my group, I decided that would be our last hill. We would take the easy route back to Eastside.
We even stopped at a playground at Stipek Park, but we did more sitting, drinking, and talking than playing. It was a busy day at the park. Lots of families out and about. The cutest moment of the day was when I was approaching the restroom and a lively little four or five-year old girl on a two wheeler said to me, "I know I should be wearing a helmet to be safe, but it's too small and I need a new one." I smiled and replied, "Well, make sure your parents know that! I'm glad you want to be safe!"
I tugged the straps of my helmet. Gathered the group, and headed home.
Riders: Warren, Cary, Jim S., Bruce, Bob H, Rob, Brenda, Kristin, Johnny