Chilly Hilly

For the 6,000-plus cyclists who pedal the 33 miles counterclockwise around Bainbridge Island, the annual Chilly Hilly (now in its 40th year) signals the arrival of spring. Not a race, the untimed ride begins for most entrants after a leisurely ferry crossing from downtown Seattle. On a recent mild-weather preview circuit, the first discouraging hill came at Miller Road (13 miles in), shortly before the Battle Point Park rest stop. At mile 20, just past a free cider station, comes the dreaded Baker Hill, which climbs about 300 feet at a very steep grade. This is where, with rusty legs and few winter training miles behind them, some cyclists will be wishing for a third chain ring. Or, worse, a few may dismount and push their bikes, despite the cheering and encouragement from spectators. Try to persevere, because the descent back down to Point White is a gas—nearly 40 mph on smooth pavement. At 31 miles, Wyatt Avenue throws in some unwelcome late rollers, but the smell of finish-line chili should get you back to Winslow. The ferry ride home is free, so stay for the food stands and beer gardens. BRIAN MILLER

Sun., Feb. 26, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., 2012

 
comments powered by Disqus