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Old 03-01-10, 01:47 PM   #1
j-law
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Chilly Hilly

Just did the Chilly Hilly for the first time.
I was totally unprepared, only slept 4 hours and had beers the night before. The hills almost killed me, and here seemed like way too many riders.

Don't think I'll be doing this one again.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:00 PM   #2
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I didn't make it this year, my wife and I planned on going, but we had a sick kid so we stayed home. Chilly Hilly is very popular--I've enjoyed the ride most when I go early before the first Ferry (I drive up from Tacoma) and get on course before the crowds do. If I go later, the roads get really packed with riders, especially the hills, and it becomes dangerously crowded. Its all about the timing. Oh, and the hills are not for everyone.

-Jason
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Old 03-01-10, 02:33 PM   #3
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Had a great day with the CH yesterday. Much better weather than last year and I was better prepared than last year. Made for a nice 50ish mile day with the ride to and from. Noticed a few smiling faces in SIR jerseys on the way home along LWBLVD. Good day for riding all around. But I do wish the SIR organizers had picked a different day for the spring pop. Putting CH and the spring pop back to back would make for a great couple weekend rides.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:32 PM   #4
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Best weather I've ever seen. I finally rode this with a bike with "proper" gearing, so I didn't have to turn myself inside out on the steep hills.

I do agree that I think they need to start limiting attendance or do something to reduce the crowding. I saw bib numbers near 6,000. I had 80-min waits on both ends for ferries which made for a very long day - I left the house at 8AM and didn't get back until past 5PM, all for a 2.5 hour, 33-mile ride. And the crowds on the 1st half of the route made for several very close calls. The organizers attempt to segregate the slow, average, and fast riders was ineffectual.

- Mark
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Old 03-01-10, 04:50 PM   #5
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Saw handwritten bib numbers over 6000. Was very annoyed that pre-registering and showing up early for the 8:55 ferry was for naught. Complete CF and definitely not worth all the agita. Much thanks to Cascade for getting me a start on longer bike rides last year (first metric at FW, first century at STP Day 1), but I'm done with them after one-day STP this year.
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Old 03-01-10, 07:04 PM   #6
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I did the ride yesterday, after deciding a year ago I wouldn't do it again because of the crowds, danger of folks stopping on the hills, etc. I decided yesterday to catch a little later ferry, and to chill out, relax, and stay away from other riders. I had a very nice ride; I rode from home to the ferry so ended up with a 54 mile day. But it does get to be a long day, with late ferries, two ferry rides, etc. I left home at 8, didn't get home until 4.
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Old 03-01-10, 07:14 PM   #7
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I also did CH (first time.) I got on the first (7:55am) ferry, in the "fast" group.

There are definitely way too many people packed into that small course. I worked my way out to the front, having to cross the center line on occasion, as slower riders wouldn't stay to the right. "On your left" (which I get tired of saying) had little effect.

I rode past the stop/s, so I was able to find some breathing room. Was able to do the hills in 34x23. I can't imagine what kind of holocaust it might have been when the larger/slower/less skilled groups hit those climbs.

I had actually planned on doing the route twice, but when I saw the crowd disembarking the ferry at 11:00-ish I said to myself "no way in hell I will risk that" and contented myself with the one lap, 18.1 mph avg/ 1:50.

Had a good time, but probably won't be back.
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Old 03-01-10, 07:45 PM   #8
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Just in case the thought has not occurred to anyone - this is a great route in the summer. Relatively low traffic, lots of places to stop; several options to make the ride tougher or easier, depending on your taste.

Try it on a Sunday morning in August, stop for lunch in downtown Winslow when you're finished, catch the ferry home...
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Old 03-01-10, 08:08 PM   #9
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I've done the route 2 1/2 times on non-Chilly Hilly days. It's great by yourself or with a few friends. I suggest riding the route until lynnwood center, stoping at the Treehouse Cafe for lunch (It's standard practice to prop your bike against the window and leave it without worry), then riding the last 1/3 or so of the ride back to the ferry.
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Old 03-01-10, 11:17 PM   #10
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Two words describe the downside of this ride - "steep" and "congested." I can deal with either, but not together. Too many people walking up the hill in the middle of the lane, not yielding to 'on your left' calls, etc.
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Old 03-01-10, 11:32 PM   #11
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After hearing multiple ride reports and the fact that there were riders even lipping off to the Cascade Ride Refs, I'm glad that I steered clear of it this year. I rode it as a century (start/finish on Redmond Ridge) the last 2 years, and even the 3200 people last year was getting on the crowded edge of things.

65% of the total rider volume of STP on 1/6 of the distance. It's roughly 4 times the rider density if spread evenly over all 33 miles of the course.

Hate to say it, but I think Cascade dropped the ball on CH this year. There needs to be a rider cap at 3000, tops and a start time limitation to the first 2 ferries; as a safety precaution for riders and (more importantly) a courtesy to the residents of the island. Photos I've seen show riders left of center in almost every shot. There's no way anyone was able to get around on the island until the ride was finished.
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Old 03-02-10, 12:28 PM   #12
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My family if from the island and though I have many times ridden the course I have never done it on the actual day. I decided that this year was the year and for some reason still unknown to me my son decided to ride with me.

My 17 year old son and I took the 8:45am ferry. Yes I found it crowded and yes there were many people crossing the yellow lines to pass large groups.
That said it was a great deal of fun and both my son and I thought there was much cooperation between riders, people calling out obstacles, passing and stopping. We stopped at the 19 mile rest stop and I have never seen a stop stocked as well as this one. Kudos to the BI girl scouts!

If I were to do it again I would start from the Island side in-between ferry arrivals.

This ride is not only a Cascade Bike Club fundraiser but also a fund raiser for Island charities and the greater the number of people the more money made.

As to getting around the island. Everyone on the island knows when and where it’s going to happen they have been dealing with it for years and after all it is only one day a year.

Ride safe
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Old 03-02-10, 01:34 PM   #13
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I thought it was fantastic to see so many people out enjoying a beautiful day and place by bike. I heard a lot of "thank you" from folks as I called out "on your left" throughout the day. No, this was not the day for hammering but we moved along at a good clip keeping our heads up and sticking to the left.
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Old 03-04-10, 05:05 PM   #14
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I didn't get to do the Chilly Hilly this year. I'm planning on doing the ride either solo or with a few friends in the next couple of weeks. That should be a great ride, but get me away from the crowds. In the meantime, I've got a bent frame to deal with...

Does anybody happen to know if there's a gpx file with the route the Chilly Hilly follows? I don't know Bainbridge all that well, and when I traced what looked reasonable out on a map, it came to about 50 miles.
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Old 03-04-10, 05:17 PM   #15
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Newie to the Chilly Hilly

Living in Sequim we were not tied to the ferry schedule and started out about 7:50. There was relatively little traffic until after I got a flat just before the last climb. That last climb was a bit crowded epecially when I wanted to pass. For those that warned on the "on the left" thanks. Unfortunately you were rare. What surprise me even more was the lack of courtsey toward the cars trying to pass when it would have been easy in many situations to break up the parallel riding and move to the right in single file.
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Old 03-04-10, 10:14 PM   #16
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Does anybody happen to know if there's a gpx file with the route the Chilly Hilly follows? I don't know Bainbridge all that well, and when I traced what looked reasonable out on a map, it came to about 50 miles.
I sent a PM if you're looking for the GPX file.
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Old 03-05-10, 09:30 AM   #17
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2009 Map and profile of the Chilly Hilly from the Bicycling web site.

http://bicycling.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/349039
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Old 03-05-10, 11:26 PM   #18
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It was a great time. This was my twentieth chilly hilly ride, started in 1988. Crowded, but the CH always is. I rode as a Ride Ref with one of my friends. We had our Ride Ref ahoooga horns going and were pretty vocal about the 'on yer left' , yelling thanks to everyone who called out. Most people were pretty nice and everbody looked happy to be out on such a nice day.
I had my old 1986 raleigh with flopped and chopped handlebars and a 110mm crankset with 36/46 rings on it. A Maillard 14-30 seven speed freewheel and it was your basic bike tractor. No hill too steep.
We took the end of the first ferry, figuring we'd follow along and bayonet the wounded on the hills. Didn't hear a siren all day, really happy over that. Couple of years that was all you heard. Finished strong and happy. And hit the beer garden before the Ale ran out so that was very good.
Any day that starts with bicycle and ends with beer is a good one.
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Old 03-05-10, 11:43 PM   #19
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Why are there not any pictures from this hell on two wheels?
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Old 03-06-10, 12:11 AM   #20
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Why are there not any pictures from this hell on two wheels?
here ya go.
http://vimeo.com/groups/8432/videos/9816679
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Old 03-06-10, 12:26 AM   #21
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My favourite part of that vid is at 2:11, where riders are spread 5 across the entire lane refusing to "share the lane" (yes, people... it is a two-way concept), so, just as stubborn and selfish a driver decides to run the opposing traffic off the phracking road to pass the blockade of riders.

So glad I did the SIR ride instead.
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Old 03-06-10, 10:20 AM   #22
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I'm surprised the ride had such a good turn out. The entry costs have not 'adjusted to the times'. Portland's Worst Day of the Year had a very light turn out. To adjust, they tried to lower the ride cost on the day of the ride. That brought in a few extra riders.

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Hate to say it, but I think Cascade dropped the ball on CH this year. There needs to be a rider cap at 3000, tops and a start time limitation to the first 2 ferries; as a safety precaution for riders and (more importantly) a courtesy to the residents of the island. Photos I've seen show riders left of center in almost every shot. There's no way anyone was able to get around on the island until the ride was finished.
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Old 03-07-10, 03:01 PM   #23
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I agree with the suggestion to limit this to 3K riders. I don't think there is any other solution - more organization and rules isn't going to help because people are not going to follow them.

I though overall that people behaved pretty well, but I almost had a bad wreck near the end when someone who was riding very slowly near the center line of the road decided to make a pit stop and turned right directly in front of me on a moderate downhill when I was doing about 20. This was one of those situations where technically I could be construed to be in the wrong by passing on the right, but with the congestion and many refusing to stay right, its inevitable that you have occasionally have to pass on the right. I came pretty close to a BAD accident.

I love the idea of riding the route on the weekend after. I hate crowds and I just can't accept these high levels of personal risk anymore. And it saves $25. What a concept!

- Mark

Last edited by markjenn; 03-07-10 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:31 PM   #24
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Glad you are OK. These types of rides host a variety of skill-levels.

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I agree with the suggestion to limit this to 3K riders. I don't think there is any other solution - more organization and rules isn't going to help because people are not going to follow them.

I though overall that people behaved pretty well, but I almost had a bad wreck near the end when someone who was riding very slowly near the center line of the road decided to make a pit stop and turned right directly in front of me on a moderate downhill when I was doing about 20. This was one of those situations where technically I could be construed to be in the wrong by passing on the right, but with the congestion and many refusing to stay right, its inevitable that you have occasionally have to pass on the right. I came pretty close to a BAD accident.

I love the idea of riding the route on the weekend after. I hate crowds and I just can't accept these high levels of personal risk anymore. And it saves $25. What a concept!

- Mark
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