Monday, July 6, 2015

2015_07_03 Whidbey Island Ride - Jim Wilcher and Chris Fox (The rogue, northern Cyclopaths)

Author:  Jim Wilcher

As an alternative to the Triple-By-Pass ride that many of the Cyclopaths rode, Chris and I decided to seek cooler temps by escaping to the Puget Sound islands. Chris Fox is an expert guide of the back roads of Whidbey Island, and he loves to share them so off we set at 6:00AM towards the Mukilteo Ferry landing. We parked the car and boarded with our bikes and big smiles. Oddly, there were only a few cars on the ferry which bid well for our plans to ride car free (carefree) roads.

Chris prepared his GoPro, and we set off with a quick left-hand turn just off the ferry dock. The high-bank island provides an immediate climb up to commanding views, a cool breeze and vacant roads. I remembered the first time that Chris had invited me to ride with him on Whidbey — assuming the island was flat. I was unprepared for the steepness and number of climbs — a mistake I hope not to repeat. This time I loaded my jersey with road snacks and prepared myself for some steep hills.

“Watch for deer” Chris barked as he hooked a right turn that dove under tall alder trees and onto a narrow path lined with stinging nettles. Soon, we returned to the quiet roads where we pedaled steadily and spied views of the Sound between cottages and beach homes. We saw a few runners, just a few cars, and – yes - we saw a deer. A short stop at the coffee shop had a deadline of just a few minutes to get coffee, use the bathroom and remount in order to catch the ferry for the return trip. No more lolly-gagging, we had an agenda, we were going to be riding fast from here on out. We reached the Three Bitches, a series of hills that lived up to their name in terms of steepness - then the forested ride up the long track dubbed the Cathedral — an inspiring climb through an enchanted island forest and dappled light streaming though the semi-old growth Cedars.

The last few miles were an all out push in pace line formation to catch the ferry, zipping over the dock just in time. On the front deck of the ferry, we basked in cool breeze, rejuvenated, all of it punctuated by the morning sun glinting off the Puget Sound. On the way back to the mainland, we turned our thoughts to our cyclo-brothers as they would soon be chomped down on the hot tarmac of Cayuse Pass in what was sure to be a bit warmer temps.

Link to Chris Fox's short video of the ride:

Chris and Jim on the ferry...

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