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Anyone done the Chilly Hilly?

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Old 01-06-19, 09:23 PM
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NoWhammies
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Anyone done the Chilly Hilly?

Thinking about doing the Chilly Hilly, but looking for input/reviews/comments before signing up. Thanks.
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Old 01-06-19, 09:43 PM
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It is the only big Cascade ride I enjoy. Definitely hilly, sometimes cold and wet but often blessed with relatively nice weather. There is a really lovely patch of skunk cabbage off in one corner of the route. If the full ride is too much there are a couple places where you can skip a loop or head back to the ferry.
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Old 01-07-19, 03:22 AM
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I assume you know what late Feb weather is typically like in the PacNW so should be no surprises there. Iíve done the ride in absolutely miserable barely-above-freezing very wet conditions to mid-50s sunshine so itís luck of the draw. Itís VERY hilly with a few steep slogs but no big deal if youíve trained a bit over the winter and there are bailout options if you want to short-circuit the route and reduce the miles. Very festive with good organization, plenty of stops, and a lot of support from the locals.

i donít do the ride anymore because Iíve been spooked by seeing too many bad accidents and a few near misses myself. When the ferry disgorges youíre in a lot of traffic (many struggling or inexperienced), typically on narrow wet roads with high-speed descents, with POíed car drivers trying to cut through the herd. But Iím probably just getting old....I did the ride six times or so over a decade and had fun. But you need to be comfortable riding in traffic.

My favorite Cascade ride is RSVP.

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Old 01-07-19, 11:26 AM
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Good info folks. Thanks. Both of you have highlighted the reason for my post. 1) the level of danger from inexperienced riders and 2) the weather.

I've seen photos of the bikes on the ferry and there seems to be A LOT of people who do the ride. It's capped at 5,000 and by all accounts the ride sells out. I'd like to give it a go, but I'm concerned about riding in barely-above-freezing very wet conditions. Definitely not a fan of that. Toss in some people who haven't been on a bike in who knows when, and that's a recipe for disaster.

I'm on with fence with this one, as much as I enjoy Cascade club rides.
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Old 01-07-19, 11:10 PM
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I didn't feel in any danger from other cyclists. Most drivers were very polite but one lost his ****.

I also didn't feel any danger from the weather during the ride, I was on 28s at the time. However the ferry runs on schedule, you don't just automatically get a ride or even shelter when you're finished. 35F and raining isn't terrible when you're working up a hill, but when you're standing outside for half an hour waiting for the boat... As a roadie, it's very hard to have dry clothes ready at the finish. Mylar blanket really didn't add much warmth with freezing rain landing on it, and felt clammy and nasty.

You could get good weather though.
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Old 01-07-19, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Good info folks. Thanks. Both of you have highlighted the reason for my post. 1) the level of danger from inexperienced riders and 2) the weather.

I've seen photos of the bikes on the ferry and there seems to be A LOT of people who do the ride. It's capped at 5,000 and by all accounts the ride sells out. I'd like to give it a go, but I'm concerned about riding in barely-above-freezing very wet conditions. Definitely not a fan of that. Toss in some people who haven't been on a bike in who knows when, and that's a recipe for disaster.

I'm on with fence with this one, as much as I enjoy Cascade club rides.
If you can handle a 20 mile ride on the Burke-Gilman when itís wet and cold, you can handle Chilly Hilly. As for the crowds, if you are a fast rider, hit the front off the ferry and youíll avoid the crush. If you are a slow rider, then hold back and let the crowds thin out. It all works out within five miles or so.

Besides, those skunk cabbages are the brightest signs of a Northwest Spring that one could hope for. :-)
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Old 01-10-19, 10:00 PM
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I haven't done it yet but am signed up for my first one and looking forward to it.
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Old 01-11-19, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by fastfour View Post
I haven't done it yet but am signed up for my first one and looking forward to it.
Same!
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Old 01-11-19, 01:54 PM
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I did it last year. It was sunny & 50 degrees. We were a group of about 8 & caught the last ferry over, did the ride on reasonably empty roads, then hit a bar by the ferry dock for an hour or 2 until we were good & toasty. It was a blast. I'm going to do it again this year.
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Old 01-12-19, 06:25 PM
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I've done it several times, always in decent weather. If it were really cold and rainy, I'd just call the ride fee a donation and ride my rollers at home. If you're fast, as said above, get there early, get to the front of the ferry, and then go like the devil for the first few miles, then sit up and wait for a nice group to go by. I've gone around twice when I've had luck with that approach. The 2nd lap is pretty lonely. Which is a 3rd approach: get off the ferry and go have a cuppa while the riders vanish.

The danger is mostly slow riders dismounting to walk in the middle of the road on one of the hills. And then walking in the middle of the road. Or paper-boying. There are also folks whose bike maintenance is not so good, like the accident I came upon where the rider had mounted their brakes shoes backwards, left to right switched IOW. That was not good.
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Old 01-14-19, 03:34 PM
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I am a fast enough rider (in these kind of situations anyway) that I'd be able to hang on at the front and stay away from the back/dangerous riders. I'm more concerned about the weather. Hanging around in wet clothes while waiting for the ferry doesn't seem very attractive. Although I think I read somewhere about being able to have drop bags. Can anyone confirm this? Are you able to change in to warm clothes and out of your wet cycling gear?

Hearing how a couple of you have signed up for it already make it tempting for me to just say screw it and go for it.
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Old 01-14-19, 04:54 PM
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NoWhammies, why not carry a pannier with some dry stuff? I do that.
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Old 01-14-19, 07:25 PM
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The Cascade site shows a bag drop next to the ferry and bag pick-up at the finish line.
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Old 01-14-19, 10:02 PM
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@aub erine no panniers on my roadie bike. But I'm ok leaving a drop bag.


I might hold off on signing up until I'm sure of the weather. As I have to drive down from Canada I want to be as sure as possible that the weather will be ok. Although as was mentioned if I don't make the ride, at least it's a contribution to the bike club.
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Old 01-15-19, 11:06 PM
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I don't think you'll have much certainty about the weather until half a week before the event. It could be 15F and sunny, 40F and rainy, or 60F and sunny. Those kinds of days all happen that time of year. But this is generally turning out to be a warmer and dryer winter than average.
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Old 01-15-19, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I didn't feel in any danger from other cyclists. Most drivers were very polite but one lost his ****.

I also didn't feel any danger from the weather during the ride, I was on 28s at the time. However the ferry runs on schedule, you don't just automatically get a ride or even shelter when you're finished. 35F and raining isn't terrible when you're working up a hill, but when you're standing outside for half an hour waiting for the boat... As a roadie, it's very hard to have dry clothes ready at the finish. Mylar blanket really didn't add much warmth with freezing rain landing on it, and felt clammy and nasty.

You could get good weather though.
This could be the perfect place for one of those emergency space blankets. Good weather - package stays unto0uched for next year, The weather you saw - that $10 spent at REI could look like the year's best bargain.

I rode Chilly Hilly in the early '90s. Typ, not extreme PNW winter weather and I was prepared. Fun, Nothing really stood out. I liked the ferry ride (but then, I'd spent a year as a reverse commuter (working on Bainbridge Island) and knew the bike routine very well).

Ben
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Old 01-19-19, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
I am a fast enough rider (in these kind of situations anyway) that I'd be able to hang on at the front and stay away from the back/dangerous riders. I'm more concerned about the weather. Hanging around in wet clothes while waiting for the ferry doesn't seem very attractive. Although I think I read somewhere about being able to have drop bags. Can anyone confirm this? Are you able to change in to warm clothes and out of your wet cycling gear?

Hearing how a couple of you have signed up for it already make it tempting for me to just say screw it and go for it.
The ferry is very close to downtown Winslow. There are coffee shops and restaurants, even a winery, and the ferries run pretty much on time. No need to stand out in the rain for long. They'll let bikes on after the cars.
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