We had the smallest group of any Team HPC Powered by Cycle U ride of the year, and I hope my description of the Squak Mountain climb didn’t scare people off! Hopefully it was (once again) the sketchy summer weather.
At times today’s ride resembled a regular Sunday Hills of the West Coast ride more than the previous three Team HPC rides. We had a group of 12 pretty strong climbers, and rather than break into two groups, we rode the whole ride together.
Ed rode out with us to Squak Mountain, and then told us all he had to ride back to Seattle due to a family commitment. He seemed to think his timing was pretty good, leaving us before the start of the 1020’ of climbing up Olympus Drive, up past the Squak Mountain trailhead, and ultimately to the “summit” loop. While every bit as hard as the Zoo climb on Cougar Mountain, the riders as a group seemed to feel that the Squak climb was a more aesthetically pleasing line. After the climb, Dan headed back to Seattle as well.
Next up on the menu was a choice of the Zoo climb, or the very comparably difficult climb up Village Parkway through the Montreaux development. The group split pretty much 50/50 on the choice. After a pretty hard effort on Squak, the overall climbing pace might have been a little softer, but the effort level did not diminish.
After re-grouping, we rolled up to the Gazebo at the Newcastle Golf Club for yet another panoramic view of Bellevue, the lakes, and the Seattle skyline.
A trip back up Lakemont Boulevard took us to the fantastic descent down 164th. Our next goal was the Horizon View/Summit climb. Steep and long, but not as steep or long as Squak and Zoo, the top of the climb at “The Summit” offers those tremendous “million dollar views,” likely available starting at around three million for the smallest McMansion, despite the more numerous for sale signs than in the past few years.
We took the long way home, climbing up behind Newcastle Golf Club, and then heading west on 89th. We eventually crossed I-405 and wound up northbound on Lake Washington Boulevard on the east side of Lake Washington.
Somewhere out on Cougar Mountain we lost Rance, and we figured he was gone for good, but he re-appeared at the top of the Mercer Island side of the I-90 Bridge. Reg made a comment that he pulled a “Rosie Ruiz” on us, demonstrating his excellent memory and dating himself at the same time. (Who is Rosie Ruiz, you may ask? That’s what Wikipedia is for!)
Of note, we were “mooned” just before we reached the Dearborn/Rainier intersection. This is not the first time this has happened to us, and I have to wonder about the “mooners” choice of subjects. What is it about cyclists in their flashy HPC jerseys?
All in all, it was a great day. Everyone rode safely, rode hard, and it seems like people are getting to know each other better on each outing. After 61 miles and 5648’ of climbing, we were back at the Olympic Sculpture Garden Park in Downtown Seattle.
Next up—a mass Team HPC start at the High Pass Challenge!
I hope to see you on the road.