Chilly Hilly 2018

Last weekend I rode in Cascade Bicycle Club’s Chilly Hilly ride, a ride around Puget Sound’s Bainbridge island. Here’s the route.

Rounding a corner in the Chilly Hilly 2018 ride.
Cascade Bicycle Club’s Chilly Hilly, 2018. Riding past the Sinclair Inlet. Courtesy Woodinville Bicycle.

You show up at the Seattle ferry terminal at 8 or 9am on a Sunday morning in late February, join a horde of cyclists loading into the Bainbridge ferry, cross the Sound, unload, and bike 33 hilly miles around the island. At the end is a charity chili feed and a ferry to take you back to Seattle. It’s a fun shakedown ride to open the year.


The great success for me this year was my knees! I’ve struggled with moderate knee pain for about ten years. For some months last fall, after a challenging hike, I wasn’t able to ride for more than 15 minutes without serious knee pain.

Desperate and frustrated, I bought knee braces. And they worked for me! I was able to work up to longer rides, culminating in the Chilly Hilly. I’ve got a set of sleeves for biking and a set of strap on braces for running. The sleeve type knee braces are more comfortable, but they slide down my leg if I take them for a run.

Blood Sugar

My next challenge is managing my glucose! I hit the wall hard in the last six miles of the ride. As I was working along the southwest corner of the island my vision began to dim and I had trouble balancing on the bike as I cruised down hills. Pedaling up hills became impossible. At the finish line, I stumbled into the chili feed, received my bowl, and then sat recovering for an hour, stealing cornbread muffins that other bikers left on the table as they departed for the ferry.

Another rider let me know that he also “bonks” on rides. Armed with a word I could Bing, I found the solution to my problem: consume calories throughout the ride. Expect more posts on my progress.