We tried to figure out how to contact Jack Hughes, the local Chilly Hilly pro, as we were organizing the ride but weren’t able to. I just met him randomly and luckily at the entrance gate.
This is about a 33 mile loop with 2675 or so feet of elevation gain and with a 23 mile option. The sissies, myself and two others I won’t name, took the 23 mile option. The other 7 riders went the full 33 miles. This was a fun ride on a lovely afternoon. It was a gas to crank up hills on a unicycle and pass bicyclists that were walking their bikes up and some that were riding. We got lots of positive feedback from the bicyclists who we thanked and conversely gave the “where’s your other wheel” questions the verbal abuse that they deserved.
I had to walk up about one third of the distance of one of the steeper hills. Other than that it was crank city for me. In another fun instance Tom Blackwood, whose sig line is “tailgate at your own risk” wiped out with me cleverly trailing him by 18" so he got to take me out. I had that coming. JC circled and came back just to see if he would do it again. Very vulture-like of him. The folks who took photos will hopefully post them here soon.
This is the biggest Coker herd we have ever had. We had nine for International Harper Day which will be Sunday, 28 August this year for an Iron Horse Trail ride on my 53rd birthday. To bad Pete was pooped from his record breaking antics because he would have been a nice addition to the group.
The big story today wasn’t the sissies, it was Abram. The first time he laid eyes on a Coker was when he borrowed JC’s back-up less than a week ago. After basically one 20-miler practice ride, he knocked out 33 miles today against some VERY strenuous hills, and kept pace with the vets throughout. It’s also worth noting that the ride started and finished at the same ferry terminal, so all the 2675 elevation gain was matched with equal descents.
I make no apologies. Harper, along with basically everyone else on the internet, has been warned.
Bainbridge Island is in a funny gravity zone. The first 1/2 of the ride is predominanty South and West and wasn’t too bad, except for a huge hill right before the 14 mile rest stop. But Northbound, every grade, no matter how slight, had much more gravity.
There was the occasional “other wheel” or “circus” comment but the overwhelming mood was that of encouragement. Having 10 riders was an impressive show. Shortly after the start we broke into a fast group and moderate group and regrouped at about 6 miles then at the 14 mile rest stop. After that it was the super human group and the not-quite-as-super human group.
Abram not only cleaned the course, he rode home from downtown too!
I tried 170’s because of lack of pre-conditioning. They were nice for slow uphill grinds but I found them too bouncy for faster cruising. I also had some soreness below the knees, don’t know whether that was from repetition or the larger cranks. Back to 150’s and better conditioning for next big ride.
There was a new record set for the number of riders in the Chilly Hilly this year. Over 5000 attended. Of those, ten were unicyclists. We represented 0.2% of the total cycling population for this event.
The Chilly Hilly was fun this year. An amazing showing of unicycle power.
I did the Chilly Hilly last year with Irene. It was colder last year. I remember trying to warm up my toes last year at one of the rest stops. It really was the Chilly Hilly last year. There were more riders this year. In fact, it was a record year for the number of riders. Last year there were about 3700 riders and this year there were over 5000. It was noticeably more crowded on the roads this year, especially on the climbs where the bikes all bunch up as some people stop to walk up the bigger hills.
I made a gallery for last year’s ride: Chilly Hilly 2004
I haven’t (or more accurately we haven’t as a group) made an organized gallery for this year yet. I made a temporary spot for my photos here. I took better photos last year.
I felt better at then end this year, but I did better on the hills last year. I ended up walking the last bit of one long steep hill that I rode up last year. And there was one short little hill that I UPDed on for no real reason other than inattention and trying to doge weaving bicyclists while trying to stay out of the oncoming lane of car traffic.
It was a surprise to see Jack Hughes waiting there in Seattle for the start of the ride. We were too disorganized to think of trying to contact Jack ahead of time to find out if he was going to do the Chilly Hilly this year. It was just luck that we met him in Seattle.
All in all it was a fun ride and even better to have 10 unicyclists along. I’m a little sore today. 33 Chilly Hilly miles seems to feel like 60 regular miles. It’s brutal on the legs. Those of you doing the Alps tour are in for some punishment with all the climbing you’ll be doing.
Last year I rode with 150’s and no trunk bag on my uni. Instead of the trunk bag I wore a backpack style hydration pack. This year I went with 140’s and the trunk bag on the uni. I wore a small 50 oz. bum bag style hydration pack for water. Having more weight on the back of the unicycle due to the trunk bag made the climbing more difficult. Normally I don’t weigh it down as much but for this ride I had extra food, my camera, extra clothes, and tools in the trunk bag. That really throws the weight distribution off for climbing and makes the uni feel sluggish while climbing. If you’re going to be doing a lot of climbing it’s better to have the weight on your back rather than on your uni. For the flats it doesn’t make much difference, but for climbing I now believe that it does.
I’ve been riding with 170’s for the Winter. I just switched back to my 140’s last week and I may go back to the 170’s again for a month or so.
It takes a while to get used to spinning the 170’s on the Coker. At first they will feel really bouncy when you spin at around 10, 11, or 12 mph. Gradually you start to get smoother and you can learn to spin them at 14 mph. If I was more of a daredevil I could try going faster with them.
Riding with the 170’s has helped my pedaling. My pedaling is now smoother and I’ve gotten a little bit faster. Since switching back to the 140’s my max speeds during normal rides have been around 16 mph. During the Chilly Hilly my max speed at the midway checkpoint was 16.1 mph and my max speed at the end was 16.3 mph. That’s a big improvement for me from before. I used to rarely go above 14.5 mph because I didn’t like the feeling at faster speeds. With the 170’s I’ve been hitting about 14.7 on my normal rides now (not really trying for max speed on those rides).
Practice with the 170’s. Learning to spin them on the Coker will make you better.
Maybe I should have kept the 170’s on for the Chilly Hilly myself. Would have made the hill climbing easier. But I was curious to see how I would do with the 140’s since I did the Chilly Hilly with 150’s last year.
I had a really great time doing the Chilly Hilly with a whole herd of unicyclists. Meeting up with Jack Hughes was a great surprise. I also enjoyed getting to ride with Abram and Jeff Sloan, two people that I haven’t had much time to ride with. Jeff, I like how you ride with your arms behind your back. I actually tried doing this for a mile or so during the Chilly Hilly. Abram, I am really impressed with your ability to keep on riding after we got off of the ferry in Seattle. The lure of the car was calling my tired legs.
Yes, it was indeed fun, but really I’m not going to ride it much unless we do another group ride (anybody?). My commute to work hardly justifies a Coker, and I have a lot more fun on my 24 inch. Just tell me when you’ll be around and I’ll ride it over there.
The ride back was quite pleasant. I had had a break on the ferry, and it was virtually flat in comparison to bainbridge.