I participated in the Chilly Hilly bike ride this weekend - 33 miles around Bainbridge Island, WA. 2600 feet of elevation gain. How much is 2600 feet? A LOT! How long is 33 miles? Let's put it this way - from my old house in Dolton, IL to IIT (on 32nd Street) - that's only 21 miles. From O'Hare to IIT is only 18 miles. So, 33 was long. But, it was a beautiful 33 miles.
Yowser - that was quite the ride. I was doing pretty well thought the whole thing - started early (right when the course opened) so that I could stay out of the main pack of people. Approx 3700 people did the ride - much less than previous years due to the weather (course record was some 6 or 7k people in 2010).
The ride was indeed chilly. But, I had gone cold weather gear shopping the previous day and I was oh so glad I did! I bought wind resistant booties as well as long gloves (versus the normal short riding gloves). Both proved to be ESSENTIAL in my day. I was nice and warm...and the wind didn't bother me at all.
So, here are my thoughts - in no particular order:
1) Really, really lame to see a guy on a recumbent bike zooming past me within the first 10 minutes. And it wasn't that he was on a recumbent that was lame - it was that the bike was motor assisted. Dude, if you're gonna do the chilly hilly, at least be all human powered.
2) I appreciated the older gentleman (who looked like Mr. Hardcore Cyclist guy with a team riding kit, etc) telling my to downshift as I was making my way oh so slowly up one of the last hills. I would downshift, Mr. Cyclist - if I had any gears left to go into. Yes, I really am this slow.
3) Speaking of slow - I think I could have walked up some of those hills faster than I pedaled. I really need to get more comfortable standing and pedaling on the bike. That's one of my goals for this year. Fortunately, I have lots of hills to choose from around my house.
4) I witnessed a bit of cycling rage from people around me. There were folks passing me and one of the guys passing (who told me he was on my left in plenty of time) got majorly pissed when other cyclists weren't following proper cycling etiquette and notifying of passing prior to passing. The guys continued bickering for a good minute or two in front of me.
5) It's very interesting to cycle with snow hitting you. And to think that you have a long hill in front of you that you have to come down with it snowing. Good times.
6) There was a caboose in someone's front yard. A caboose.
7) The free cider stop was perfectly placed - right before the big hill (Baker Hill - see the big spike on the chart above?). Mmm. So good!