The easy ride summary: I hope everybody had as good of a time as I did!
For a rare Saturday HOWC, we had 16 riders, and it was a strong group, especially considering the lousy weather we have had. With less chance to ride, you would think people would be less fit than they normally are in early April. Maybe there was just a lot of pent up demand to ride hard?
It was cold at the start, but the April sun is so much higher relative to the January sun (if it ever comes out) that I don’t think anyone, even the few wearing just shorts, was ever cold. The basic route:
Mercer Island--89th-May Valley--148th-Jones Road--Maple Valley Highway for a mile-Cedar Grove--Lake Francis-200th--Issaquah Hobart Rd--Climb of Tiger Mountain--Tiger Mountain store for a rest stop.
At this point, Jeff took 10 of the 16 back on May Valley to bring the ride in at around 60 miles. Maybe Jeff can comment on how the rest of their ride went. A group of five went with me to Issaquah. We then climbed Squak Mountain, took Newport Way to the west, and climbed Somerset mostly just for the view. From the top of Squak, Mt. Baker looked like a giant Sno Cone, and the view from the top of Somerset has got to be one of the top three vantage points in the entire metro area.
Squak is certainly one of the hardest climbs in town, and while it didn’t seem like a walk in the park, all of the brutally steep climbs I did in California made it seem…well, benign in a relative sense.
From Somerset, we re-traced our morning route across Mercer Island back to downtown. We wound up with 70 miles, and just under 5000’ of climbing.
Our group passed a number of riders wearing local racing team kit. The racer group doesn’t seem to like it when they get passed, especially by a large group. On Lake Francis, we went by four guys in ? kit (can someone help me here?), and two of them worked so hard to get back with us that they dropped their two friends. No matter, many of us passed the “fast two” on the first small hill we encountered.
Not that we were being competitive. As a matter of fact, I thought the group worked together very well all day. A number of people took turns on the front, and I don’t think anyone was deep in the Hurt Locker at any time.
We were just a bunch of guys (yes, no women…again)-a mix of regulars and first timers, just out having a great ride on a beautiful day.
I hope to see you on the road.