Monday, February 25, 2008
Chilly Hilly 2008
Well, here it is Monday evening, the day after Chilly Hilly 2008 and my riding partner, Greg, has to burst my balloon by reminding me that two years ago we averaged a pace that was nearly 10% fast than this year's. And I thought I had done so well yesterday.
Started out at the traditional meeting place (Romio's pizza on Dravus) at 7:15 and by a little after 7:30 we were firmly in line at the ferry dock, along with well over a thousand others. We always joke that they try to segregate the classes of riders into different lanes. It's all a big joke--nobody pays much attention to the recommended speed groupings when they first arrive, and by the time the ferry is being loaded, it's an absolute free for all, with no organization. But that's part of the fun.
The weather was reasonably warm, though there was an ever so slight drizzle trying to make its presence felt. We offloaded onto Bainbridge Island on dry roads, however and within minutes, the weather wasn't a factor as we weaved our way through the myriad of bicyclists in the opening frenetic miles of the ride. Greg found the crush a bit much; I enjoyed it greatly and thought it wasn't as crazy as years past. I did think it took an unusually long time, however, for the crowds to thin out.
The first 10-15 miles went quite well, and then I hit a bit of a wall as the adrenalin wore off and we cruised past the first official rest stop. I was being passed left and right, especially on hills, and was very frustrated. When I started getting passed on the flats, I knew something was wrong. I blamed it on a slightly flat rear tire which I didn't want to take the time to pump up, for fear of being passed by even more riders. I also began worrying about the infamous Baker Hill, which was coming up in a few miles (and which proved to be anti climactic).
We finally made it to the next rest stop, and actually did stop and rest for a few minutes. I felt much better after changing my sweaty shirt and gloves and pumping up both tires to maximum pressure. Baker Hill soon followed, and by then 80% of the ride's elevation gain was over. The remaining miles had their moments, but nothing that slow and steady couldn't conquer. We just missed the early ferry, so we didn't get back to the Seattle side until around 1 pm. It was then a terrible grind home, dead into a strong north wind. As Greg said, not a pleasant way to end the ride. I was cranky the rest of the day and well into Monday--these rides are so brutal, mentally, when you don't put in the proper training....
For the record, our average speed was 13.1 mph compared to 14.38 mph in 2006.