The Notorious Toe Jam Hill -- where many an ego goes to die.
So yesterday, BF Toasty and I did the Chilly Hilly bike ride. It's a 33 mile bike ride around Bainbridge Island, with a total elevation gain of 2,675 ft. (or so it says on my t-shirt). That's, like, a fifth of the way up Mt. Rainier! OK, so it doesn't sound that impressive when put that way, but it was the steep bit, right at the very top, that's what. Seriously, when I go up inclines like that, I'm usually wearing a rope.
There was some variety of precipitation (not including the 'air hankies,' which made parts of the ride like a Mucus Slalom) nearly the entire way, and I think the temp. topped out around the mid-40s, so the ride definitely lived up to its name. It also lived up to the name Wet Bloody Misery Ye Gods Not Another F&%#ing Hill, which is what I dubbed it at about mile 11.
Last year, the day before the Chilly Hilly, BF Toasty managed to break his wrist. Conveeeeeeeeenient. I think he might have sacrificed another bone or two, had he known how very very long the CH was. At one point, topping out on infamous Toe Jam Hill, he rode past me and wheezed, "Soul . . . Crushed" which had several panting riders snorting out their noses, myself included. The ferry ride back was a festival of hot chocolate and trail mix and cookies and brownies, hundreds of riders on board wearing sugar-encrusted smiles and dribbling crumbs down their jerseys. The few passengers on the ferry that weren't decked out in spandex and Gore-tex and didn't make that little clicking sound as they walked were undoubtedly thrilled to have damp, sweaty, chili-fed riders everywhere, desperate for seats big enough to put their entire bottoms on.
There is a cheery camaraderie in sharing a semi-miserable experience with others. I had several breathless conversations with strangers, all of us lamenting the witlessness of not only doing this silly thing we were doing, but of having paid for the privelege. I watched (and was the beneficiary of) lots of really strong riders cheering on the less strong as we wrestled our bikes up the hills. I saw riders stop in the cold and wet and help others change tires or fix chains. One particularly jovial team alternated their calls of "On your left" with "Up your ass!" which was funnier and much less offensive than it sounds here. The people in cars, who had ample reason to be cranky about waiting and waiting and waiting to be allowed to use their streets, were cooperative and cautious.
So, as I pop another dose of Ibuprofen and try to decide where I'll wear my new Chilly Hilly t-shirt for maximum exposure and bragging rights, the question inevitably arises: Will I do this ride again?