Archive | February, 2012

Hillacious & Gracious – Chilly Hilly 2012

26 Feb

Today marked only the third time I’ve swung a leg over a saddle this year… and about midway through the Chilly Hilly ride, essentially a zig zag around the perimeter of Bainbridge Island, across from Seattle, such unpreparedness began to show.

In the run up to today’s ride, and while thinking I’d be feeling peppy if not exactly prepared I’d decided, Why not ride to the ferry dock and then home? No problem!

Nice sunny view of Seattle from Bainbridge Island

And in truth the ride to Seattle, along the buttery smooth new section of the Burke Gilman (a related post for that will come soon) seemed plenty speedy. I was in a hurry to catch the 9:35 ferry in order to cross over to Bainbridge Island. Feeling pleased with the progress I had a joyful bunny hop on that one street corner as the Burke winds through the UW campus, you know the one, and I couldn’t help smiling.

It also helped that the sun was radiantly rad, after a snowy and haily start to the ride in Mountlake Terrace. How can you not smile when the sun is shining in February in Seattle?

Well soon after my bunny hopping happiness I was struck with some exubiserance (exuberant hubris): I ran into a huge mess of beer-bottle glass (thank you drunkie poo students). I held my breath, hopeful but somehow I just sensed I wasn’t going to luck out. Seconds later I cringed when I heard that hated sound — the loud psssshhhhh. Damn.

I pulled over and got to work replacing the tube. The piece of glass was very easy to find as it was damn near the size of a nickel with one jaggedy piece sticking out. As I ran my hand along the rest of the tire I noticed with some alarm just how worn the rubber was! Yikes. It makes sense, as these were the Schwalbe Marathons that had been the SurlyLady’s original set on her Cross Check, then I cycled them over to the Long Haul Trucker before putting them on the Vaya. So, maybe four years of continuous riding? I think Daddy needs some new rubber! Wait, that sounded weird.

Speaking of Salsa Vayas, a chap on one stopped and said I was the first Vaya rider he’d run into. He had one of the slick-looking black ones, all tricked out with monster tires and a touring set up. (Also, I noticed a couple on the ferry back to Seattle later in the day who each had a brown Vaya… how romantic!).

I circled back down to Recycled Cycles as I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it to downtown Seattle in 15 minutes, but they was closed. It wound up being okay however as that wonderful little Lezyne pump does an amazing job… I think I was able to get up to 60 PSI without too much of a sweat, which is good enough.

Flying down the Eastlake hill I saw that the Grand Central Bakery was open and before you could say ‘cinnamon roll’ I was inside, eating a sticky bun and squinting over a cup of steaming black tea. Yummy!

Very Ferry

Then on to the ferry, after first waiting in the waiting lot with a bunch of roadies. But don’t mistake, I did notice an amazingly high percentage of Brooks saddles and Long Haul Truckers, as a matter of fact. It’s positively heart warming! Which was a good thing as it was a chilly day.

On to the hilly part. I won’t go into crazy detail, but pound for pound, or mile for mile, the Chilly Hilly has as much elevation gain as the High Pass Challenge. Which gives you some context, but also broke my warmed-up heart as I realized how far I’d fallen since freakin’ September. Oh, the hills today were humbling. At first I was full of vim and vigor, like Vim Vinders on a vender. But about midway around the island I started crawwwwling up the many short, sharp hills. There were a couple of killer long hills on Bainbridge, but mostly it’s a series of high rollers.

This will be an amazing training ride as I get ramped up for the High Pass Challenge, not to mention being so picturesque and full of bakeries… highly favorable assets for a ride.

As I pulled up to the ferry dock I could tell my legs were not doing so well, they had that old familiar rubbery feeling. So I called the ‘Lady to see if she would kindly pick me up over near REI. The day was so nice and sunny suddenly, although ominous clouds where peripheraled, I almost regretted calling for a ride as, again, a sunny Sunday in February is a gift not to be taken lightly. But, not only was I glad to see the ‘Lady, I have to admit I was pretty darn knackered and grateful for the ride home.

Back in Seattle...

And now, as the perfect finish to an exciting day on the bike, we’re having turkey chili! Gotta go!