Miles: 45-55 Climbing: 4200-5200’ Route: Sam Smith Park (west of Mt. Baker tunnel)—Mercer Island—Honda Hill—Hard Route or Really Hard Route Option featuring various combinations of the following climbs: Somerset the hard way/164th/Montreaux (Village parkway)/Zoo Rd./Newcastle Golf Club/Cougar Mountain from the south/Lakemont/Pinnacle off of Cougar Mountain Way…did I forget anything? Attrition Rate: Kind of hard to determine, but extremely low!
Today was our second annual climbing themed team ride, and like last year, it went splendidly. Not only was the weather perfect for our 21 riders, at times it seemed like there were more cyclists than cars out on Cougar Mountain. We managed to ride out and back mostly as one group, and while we were in the Cougar Mountain area there were two basic route options outlined.
Riders selected the Hard or Really Hard option and the two groups split at Eastgate Elementary on Newport Way. As I had hoped, small groups formed, and today’s ride was a little different than our other team rides of 2009. Riders were armed with a map and a re-group time. I think most of our riders did at least one more climb after they were done with the basic route, and several masochists likely repeated Montreaux or Zoo.
Given the self-sufficient nature of the ride, I can’t give a blow-by-blow rundown of the ride like I sometimes do for the HOWC. I’m guessing if I were omniscient, I’d be writing that everyone worked hard, no one dogged it, and there was a lot of camaraderie within all of the various groups.
Everything went so smoothly today, and everybody seemed to really have a great time, maybe we should do two team climbing rides next year? In 2008, we had a second ride out at Squak Mountain, but I think I scared a lot of people with the route description. There really isn’t an “easy” way up Cougar Mountain, but at Squak the options are more limited, and everything is steep and long. Based on what I saw today, I think that it’s a pretty good shot that we will have a lot of riders eager to attack both Cougar and Squak in 2010.