Sunday, May 1, 2011

2011 Inaugural Hills of the West Coast

Miles: 61.5 Climbing 3300’ Route: Tibbets—Newport Way—Coal Creek—119th—89th—Coal Creek—Jones Rd.—196th—SE Wax—168th—148th—Moneysmith—Lake Sawyer/Witte/Maxwell/Cedar Grove—Issaquah-Hobart—Tibbets Participants: 9 Attrition Rate: 11% (one) Soldier of the Day: N/A as we mostly shared the front (but Steve H. gets a big honorable mention for singlehandedly pulling the group at the end of the ride from Cedar Grove Road all the way to Tibbets)

Today's ride was the first HOWC of 2011. Yes, we are late getting started this year but the wait was worth it. As opposed to riding on one of the many miserable spring days we have had and wearing “mud measles,” we were out in the glorious sun.

Since moving to Issaquah at the start of the year I have been doing a lot of rural riding, mostly by myself. I’ve really been enjoying it, and subconsciously wondering if I still want to lead group rides. Maybe the doubt was partly due to the weather, but I attribute it mostly as to being out of the rhythm I developed over years of leading rides from downtown.

Well, after Sunday’s ride I know that I do still want to lead rides, specifically the HOWC. I just had to get started and get back into the saddle! The HOWC has been a way to meet some great people, to challenge myself, and to learn from other riders. We had a mix of regulars and new people of the nine who showed up for the start at Tibbets Creek Park, and it was good to catch up.

As we were climbing up the somewhat steep 148th to Moneysmith, we went by a guy pushing his bike out in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t give it a thought at the time, but retrospectively it feels good remembering how significantly younger he was than me and a few others in our gang. Maybe I’m not the only one to derive some small measure of self-satisfaction from this!

Professional cycling has had a lot of black eyes lately, but cycling itself has been on the rise. I think I know one of the reasons. Perhaps the best sports are the ones that can be enjoyed in the most varied ways. If two opponents are not somewhat comparable in ability, a game of tennis becomes very awkward at best. A great thing about cycling is simply how many different types of participating there are. Eddie Merckx won the Tour de France five times, but he probably enjoys a spin to the park with his grandkids just as much now.

Golf is a game that can be enjoyed at all ages and levels of competition, or as simply hitting the ball around as part of a nice walk.

Cycling may be the most versatile sport of all. Some aspire to ride in the Tour de France, while others look forward to riding to Alki Beach on their beach cruiser. For me, I just hope I get to lead many more Hills of the West Coast rides.

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