I rode slower than normal on today’s 11-hill variant of the 7 Hills of Kirkland ride, but feel remarkably well for the experience.
Rather than driving there, I started from home. I picked up the route at “Old Redmond Road” on the way to Rose Hill, normally the last of the “big seven.” The trek to the starting line was longer than it looked on the map, and I could see I was running out of time until the start closed. Instead of heading south and picking up the Lake Washington trail per the map, I cut over straight to Kirkland’s Marina Park. With five minutes to spare before the start closed, I picked up my bib number and loaded my jersey with mini-bagels.
All the commuting I’ve done this month has altered my perception of hills. For example, on the way home, I’ve graduated from the 9% grade super-busy/stinky route to the 12% grade. I’m still doing most of it in my lowest gear, but lesser grades often don’t immediately force a downshift. Market, Juanita and Seminary hills were nowhere near as hard as I remembered them. In fact, I actually passed someone on the uphill. This never happens.
I reloaded at the food stop. There was a table with pump bottles of “Hammer Gel.” I think the idea was you were supposed to put it on a spoon and taste it, then wash it down with water from the coolers. Both coolers were empty. I picked up cup and filled it halfway with random flavors. They’ve done a good job with the flavors, but the gel is so viscous, it’s physically unappealing as a foodstuff. You just want to wash it down with something.
The other table had coolers with water, and a canister of dry-mix Gatorade. I topped off my Camelback, washed the ooze out of my mouth, and started up Kingsgate.
At what initially appeared to be another wacky 5-way intersection, there were still some teenagers cheering on the bikers. Once I get over the initial embarrassment at how pathetically slow I am, I really enjoy the cheering. This must be one of the cooler parts to racing.
Neil Hubbard, neilbagpiper.com
Last year, Neil Hubbard was on Winery Hill playing his bagpipes for the admiring, exhausted masses. Unfortunately, because I started so late, by the time I actually crested the hill, he was long gone.
The route took us to the east. Education Hill was relatively easy going up, but scary as shit going down. As I hit 40, I saw the “slow down” markings, looked up, and saw a car stopped at the light. I braked hard.
I briefly — very briefly — toyed with the idea of making this a full century. Sanity crept in as tiredness set in climbing Union Hill. I bypassed the rest stop and took the south part of the loop, exiting at Ames Lake Rd. This was a convenient segue back towards home.
I followed the flat and wide-shouldered SR202 (aka “Redmond-Fall City”) for a few miles, then hoofed it up Dulthie Hill. Man, was I glad I was wrapping this up. The road was not only busy, but it also had a relatively narrow, sloped shoulder littered with debris. A lot of people have moved in since I last took this.
I was almost home and had accumulated about 5,000′ of ascent. Even though I was tired, I wanted to say I qualified for The Mile High Club (no, not that one). I did loops around my neighborhood until the altimeter clicked over. This is the black splotch in the map above.
Totals for today: 71.6 miles, 5,289′ ascent, 4,440 calories, and an average heart rate of 124 bpm. As I’m looking at my chart, I notice my speed was on the low side; however, I was able to do all of this without going anaerobic once.
Good job. Sounds like you had a great ride and got in a lot of climbing. With all the cyclists going by on NE 132nd St., I was thinking that I should have ridden 7 Hills of Kirkland this year, but to some degree I’m glad I didn’t as I don’t think I would have had a good ride as I’m still recovering from what likely is a case of the flu.
Your cycling events calendar and ride reports clued me into this ride. I really appreciate it. I did 11 Hills, had a great ride, and enjoyed it very much. I was using it as a training ride for Tour de Blast. Your site – including links to other’s comments – has also provided me with a lot of info for that ride, too. Thanks for sharing it!
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