Tracy woke up today and decided that she wanted to ride the Chilly Hilly, which of course meant that I would be riding it as well. Never a fan of riding amongst huge crowds, I was still encouraged to see her take the initiative. Later on in the day, I would be glad that it was her decision, and not mine.
Our strategy was to minimize the crowds by taking the last boat over, figuring that everyone would be well ahead of us. We were skeptical that it would work as soon as we pinned on our ride numbers, which were above 6000. Of course, gigantic crowds made the event a tremendous success for Cascade Bicycle Club, and we were happy about that. Nevertheless, I spent a large part of the ride in what I call the “Guardian Angel” position, just behind and to Tracy’s left. I wanted to make sure that people bombing downhill in a swarm of bikes were forced to go well wide of Tracy.
It was a spectacular day weather-wise, but it was kind of odd that the only time the sun actually shined upon us was when we waited for the ferry in Seattle, and then again waiting for the return ferry in Bainbridge. Actually two ferries in Bainbridge, having missed boarding the first one by about 20 people. Even though the Chilly Hilly is only about 33 miles long, the logistics and crowds turned the event into a mini-epic, and we only had to ride to the ferry from our place in Downtown Seattle.
Many years ago, Tracy also made a last minute decision to ride the Chilly Hilly. It happened to be the day after she got her first set of “real” pedals. On the very last hill that day, she had very tired legs, and was in a pack of riders. She wasn’t the only one with fried legs, and she got squeezed in a slow down. Her legs were so wasted that she just plopped on her side into the grass, having failed to release from her new pedals. Pissed off, Tracy walked up the rest of the hill, and she’s never forgotten that, along with the degenerate who proclaimed loudly, “Onward ever, backward never!” as she toppled over. This after she had conquered the mighty Baker Hill and the ride looked to be in the bag.
There is a short, sharp, and steep hill right before the final hill of the Chilly Hilly, and Tracy had to work hard. She rolled up and came to a stop, and the look in her eye reaffirmed that I was indeed glad that the ride had been her idea! There was to be no “Whose idea was this anyway?”
At the top of Baker Hill today, Tracy exclaimed, “Take that, you blanket-blank hill! I passed everyone in sight, and no one went by me.” Turns out that one guy did pass her on the lower part of the hill, but she re-passed him towards the top! I told Tracy that he must have cracked due to her relentless pressure. It’s amazing how many people were pushing expensive bicycles up that hill. Just as in golf, you can’t buy a game.
When Tracy came to that very last hill today, she was tired just as she had been the only other time she had been on the hill, but she hunkered down and hit it hard. Once again, she took no prisoners, and passed all in sight. Tracy was pretty wiped out, but she had eradicated some personal demons, along with kicking some serious hill ass in her own little world.
Sometimes it’s just so pleasurable to see someone else achieve a goal, and share in the sense of accomplishment. The day may not have been a perfect one for me, but she helped to turn it into one.
I hope to see you on the road.