We had a light crew of 9 people day, despite the deep blue skies and light wind. Perhaps the fact that a lot of ride regulars (and Team HPC members) had partnered up yesterday to do a fast One Day STP might have had something to do with it ;)
The ride out to Issaquah was one of the mellowest stretches of riding I’ve ever experienced on the HOWC, certainly since we took the pace to Super Strenuous three years ago.
Just as on last week’s ride, it seems like other riders want to do strange things upon catching sight of the bright red Team HPC jerseys. We caught a solo rider at the top of the hill leading up past the Honda dealership in Factoria. He then rode with us as we wound our way up towards Eastgate Elementary School. As we started down Newport Way, he whipped around us as we chatted away, pulled in at the front…and then slowed down. What is it about this time of the year that makes people do strange things? It must have something to do with the fact that summer has finally actually arrived!
Visions of Squak Mountain might have had something to do with the subdued pace on the 20 mile ride out to the base of our first climb, a route featuring 1000’ of altitude gain up Olympus Drive, past the trailhead, and then around the final loop at the top.
Despite Bill beating me to the top, I was pleased with my effort that resulted in a new PR for me on that climb. Besides, I was racing the clock :)
We did another 1000’ climb up the same side of Squak on Wildwood Dr. that ultimately topped out at the same circle loop at the top.
Next up was Cougar Mountain. Riders split into three groups and found common ground again at a re-group at Lewis Park on the top of Lakemont Dr. The majority of riders chose the very difficult Zoo route, with the remaining riders taking on either Village Parkway (Montreaux) or 164th.
By now we had three hard climbs under our belts, and the weather was heating up. We polished off the climb up to Newcastle Golf Club, and then headed back to town via 89th, Mercer Slough, and then across Mercer Island and the I-90 bridge. The pace of the ride steadily increased all the way back, we were going pretty hard by the time we hit Mercer Island and the bridge.
Just as was the case last week, we had a group of strong, very solid riders, and it seemed like everybody was still going very well at the end of the ride. We wound up with 57 miles and between 4600’-4800’ of climbing, depending on which way you went up Cougar Mountain.
Please jump in with your thoughts, comments, and suggestions, or just to fill in some details I missed.
I hope to see many of you at next Sunday’s Team HPC Powered by Cycle U group ride.