Guest Article: Ride 542 – the Mt. Baker Hill Climb

Guest Article: Ride 542 – the Mt. Baker Hill Climb

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@eightzero is throwing down the sweaty gauntlet here. He has a vision of a V-kitted, Rule compliant freight train of pain. Normally this post would be directly slotted into the Cogal section but it technically is not a Cogal: it has an entry fee, it’s too organized and people will not get lost. We have, however, included it on the Cogal Calendar as an Event. Actually I’m surprised there is a road up Mt Baker. From what I remember it looks like Mt Cook in New Zealand, crampons not tubs. Hill climbs are few and far between, it is important for us to support them by saddling up. Ride information and registration at Festival 542.

VLVV, Gianni

I first encountered the Mt. Baker Hill Climb (a/k/a Ride 542) in 2009. Friend of a friend said, “it’s really nice.” Little did I know it was code words for “holy bat-shiat, that climb is a mo-fo.” The event is put on by a local group, NorKa Recreation, and is something of a fund-raiser and local support event. In 2012, it will celebrate it’s 10th running.

I freely admit to being a little biased toward this event. A local group trying to bring business to their commercial area while at the same time supporting cycling and some local charities has a lot to be said for it. In 2009, the weather was spectacular. The photo of Mrs./Dr. Eightzero and me at the summit tells 2 stories: first, that we made it and our smiles couldn’t be bigger; second, my kitte reflects my PV (Pre-Velominatus) naiveté.

The ride itself is perhaps not overly long, nor is it murderously steep. The road is *fantastic* and I can’t image a more beautiful ride. It is just that the climb is…relentless.

In other words: just fit for Velominati.

In 2010, our ride to Artist point was in a downpour. Rule #9 was Obeyed in spades. Mrs/Dr Eightzero was Not Happy on the descent in freezing pouring rain, as she discovered she needed short reach brake levers. Ice on the fingers reduces braking strength, making one go faster, making one colder, making the braking power reduced… well… you get the idea. It is what we as engineers used to call a “negative feedback loop” or some other such foolishness that we no long care about naming when riding a bike down off a fucking volcano in freezing rain. It was one of those rides that you say “I did it” and then never wish to repeat.

2011 again had a return of great weather the day of the event, but due to a cold spring, the last 3km to the summit were closed as they were under 50 feet (yes, feet) of snow. This meant a drop of attendance (again) for the organizers.

So… being that La Vie Velominatus is all about community, I’d like to see as many V-Kittes on the event as we can arrange. Not only is it a good cause, but dammit, getting together with you assholes is really lots of fun.

To that end, I ask the Keepers to make an exception to the Cogal rule involving entry fees. The Mt. Baker Hill Climb/ Ride 542 is actually a race, and it has a modest entry fee, but would like to add this as a Cogal-Event to the calendar. I offer the following: any winner of any category (including the cyclocross event scheduled that weekend as part of festival 542) doing so in a V-Kitte and in substantial compliance with The Rules will get a custom Cogal V-Pint expense paid by me. The competitive field really is, and has a prize purse. The ride is timed, and has age categories, as well as men’s and women’s fields. There is even the “U-DUMB” event – the murderous “Up Down Up Mt. Baker” – two laps of the climb. Rule #10 aficionados will savor this.

The event is September 8,9. Details at Ride542.com. Yes, I know we’re talking about an event 2 months in advance. But Rule #4 demands strict attention to detail.

How cool would it be to have a V-Train hammer that competitive field? If a Velominatus in appropriate Sacred Garments took the win and set a course record, I wonder what honors we assholes could bestow upon them? And of course, there will need to be much hilarity and celebration afterwards in any case. I know of a great place near Glacier, and they have an uber-fantistic beer selection.

So say we all?

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  1. I may just have to sign up for this. Was debating a few ultra races on the MTB single speed for the fall, but this could be more enjoyable. Anyone have a course profile of 542?

  2. From a ride up there three weeks ago

  3. At that time this was

    the end of the road due to snow pack

  4. I will have to make the trip sometime.

    With snow still up there, I guess May would not be the best time to make this climb…

  5. Gents, they are getting it cleared:

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Northwest/Baker/ArtistPoint/

    Open to Artist Point next week. I am registered on line for the rec ride (I am not a climber, but I will get it done.)

    I recommend we consider festivities at the North Fork Beer Shrine:

    http://www.northforkbrewery.com/

    Great Pizza, fine selection of ales. Perhaps meet up there on Saturday before the hill climb? Crossers race saturday morning.

  6. I rode up there today. The road pass the chairlift is closed to cars but you can ride the bike around the gate and get all the way to upper parking lot on Artist Point

  7. Awright you doubting Thomases. WA DoT is opening the road to Artist Point tomorrow 7/24/12:

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2012/07/23_sr542artistpointopens.htm

    We ride. VLVV.

  8. A little more info: I’ve confirmed with the race organizers that the festival is ON, even though the web site contains some older information. We are registered and in for the rec ride (yes, I’ll get my fat ass up that hill, but I’m still 2 months from peaking) and will be staying overnight in Glacier on Saturday.

    I really like this place:

    http://www.northforkbrewery.com/

    Good pizza pie, good malted recoverey beverage selection. I’m up for Saturday revelry there BEFORE the ride, and heck, even a revist AFTER the ride. Who’s in?

  9. My wife and I are registered. Looking forward to it…

    /cough/

    (We just did Hurricane Ridge, and I climbed like a dairy cow with stomach flu, but I’m dosing on Rule V and just got 33-compliant, which will no doubt help.)

  10. Excellent! Now we just need to shame @frank, @scaler911, @g’rilla and the usual cast of local theives into the festivities.

    Hurricane Ridge is on my To Do list, but the local accommodations seem lacking. I was quoted like $200/night, 2 night minimum stay for a motel 6 in Port Angeles.

  11. @eightzero

    Excellent! Now we just need to shame @frank, @scaler911, @g’rilla and the usual cast of local theives into the festivities.

    Hurricane Ridge is on my To Do list, but the local accommodations seem lacking. I was quoted like $200/night, 2 night minimum stay for a motel 6 in Port Angeles.

    I would really love to. Since the Seattle Cogal, I’ve been riding/ racing a lot, I’m weighing 68Kg. But then last Tuesday, I got in a bit of a accident in the bunch at 53Kph+ and now I’m a bit banged up gonna be off the bike for awhile.

    Yep my ass right there. I’m sorry and you’re welcome all at the same time. Glad I’m not having surgery on my scapula like my teammate that went down in front of me.

    Maybe next season…………

  12. @eightzero

    Hurricane Ridge is on my To Do list, but the local accommodations seem lacking. I was quoted like $200/night, 2 night minimum stay for a motel 6 in Port Angeles.

    Dash it. Next year give me a shout. We’re between Sequim and Port Townsend. We’ll put you up free, gratis, and for nothing. We have a little outbuilding with a finished room up top. Plenty of floor space for any V-types who want to roll out sleeping bags (at the cost of a hot night in PA).

    @scaler911 Sorry about your hide and glad it wasn’t worse.

  13. @PeakInTwoYears

    @eightzero

    Hurricane Ridge is on my To Do list, but the local accommodations seem lacking. I was quoted like $200/night, 2 night minimum stay for a motel 6 in Port Angeles.

    Dash it. Next year give me a shout. We’re between Sequim and Port Townsend. We’ll put you up free, gratis, and for nothing. We have a little outbuilding with a finished room up top. Plenty of floor space for any V-types who want to roll out sleeping bags (at the cost of a hot night in PA).

    Kewl! Might take you up on that; very kind of you.

    @Scaler911

    Sucks. Glad you’re at least somewhat OK. 68Kg? Jebuz, I think I’ve taken bigger craps than that. Good on ya!

  14. @eightzero I’m not going to be able to make it this year. The late summer cyclocross season starts up that weekend so I’ll be occupied in Seattle.

  15. @G’rilla

    @eightzero I’m not going to be able to make it this year. The late summer cyclocross season starts up that weekend so I’ll be occupied in Seattle.

    There is a ‘cross542 scheduled for Saturday.

  16. The ride542.com website now has a link to their confirmed entrants list.

  17. And there is now a link to a downloadable pdf entry form: http://www.norka.us/Assets/2012%20registration%20form-1%20page.pdf

  18. @scaler911

    Yep my ass right there. I’m sorry and you’re welcome all at the same time. Glad I’m not having surgery on my scapula like my teammate that went down in front of me.

    Maybe next season…………

    Oh damn! Get better soon.

  19. Festival 542 includes Beer Garden, Live Music, local charity contest: http://www.norka.us/content/norka_contests/norka_contests.asp

    The Mt. Baker Hill Climb will be a training ride for me for the Viva Bike Vegas gran fondo 2 weeks later. Flyin’ the V-Kitte.

  20. The long range forecast appears favorable. The organizers have limited the field, and generally do not allow day-of entries.

    We plan a visit to the North Fork Beer Shrine post-ride on Sunday for the malted recovery beverage and pizza.

  21. Sadly, it appears the ‘cross542 has been cancelled. The Ride542 however, is very much on; the weather forecast still appears favourable.

  22. @frank,you’re registered for the competitive field, right? RIGHT?

  23. Weather appears favorable for the ride on Sunday. Will be lining up with Mrs./Dr.eightzero in the Sacred Garments for the 8am rec ride (along with @PeakInTwoYears.) I think @Frank is in for the cometitive ride (right?) and @g’rilla? Anyone else for the north fork brewery festivities after the ride?

    My target is 2:20 in the pain cave. VLVV.

     

     

  24. NB: Registration closes 5pm TODAY: http://www.norka.us/content/register/register.asp

     

  25. @eightzero, I’m still planning on riding this.  I start with the 9:30 group and aim to finish in 1:45.  Will keep an eye out for you in the V-Kit, and I’m certainly down with a malted recovery beverage apres velo.

  26. @imakecircles

    @eightzero, I’m still planning on riding this.  I start with the 9:30 group and aim to finish in 1:45.  Will keep an eye out for you in The V-Kit, and I’m certainly down with a malted recovery beverage apres velo.

    Excellent! We will finish off the descent, likely make a quick change of clothes, and head for the North Fork Beer Shrine. Will save a seat for ya, and will look for you at the top as well.

  27. My velomisweetie and I had a great morning of riding uphill with @eightzero and his VMH, and then quaking and shaking back down the 1300m and 38km because we weren’t prudent enough to send clothing to the top of the mountain for pickup.  (Having done a bit of mountaineering, I should know that “55F and cloudy” can mean “low 40s and blowing shit” in an alpine environment. Tant pis, we survived.)

    Then a proper set of pints and pizza with them and @imakecircles.  I attach an image from that recovery session that I consider to be auspicious.  I have to like a place, and a day, that serves you good IPA and pizza and then a fortune cookie like this one.

    Genuinely good times on and off the bike with people I hope to ride and drink with again soon.  Sometimes the Universe is a friendly place.

    peak_in_two_pints.jpg

  28. …sorry for the double image post…

  29. Here’s the track:

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/220960087

    2:27 in the pain cave. This was 7 minutes off my fastest time to Artist point in 2009. Was targeting 2:20, so it is clear I need to still ride lots.

    Great time with @imakecircles and @peakintwoyears his VMH.

    Pic and more later. My legs need to be told to shut up again.

  30. @PeakInTwoYears that’s a sensational piece of fortune right there (scuse the pun), $4 pints sounds pretty good too.

  31. Here’s the track:

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/220960087

    2:27 in the pain cave. This was 7 minutes off my fastest time to Artist point in 2009. Was targeting 2:20, so it is clear I need to still ride lots.

    Great time with mrs/dr eightzero, @imakecircles and @peakintwoyears his VMH. Sorry no pics from the top, but we didn’t dawdle in 40 degF temps.

    More later. My legs need to be told to shut up again.

  32. Great to meet you @peakintwoyears and hang out again @eightzero.  Looking forward to the next COGAL.

  33. A commercail photog got me rockin’ the V-Kitte on the way up:

    http://www.pbase.com/patrickkennedy/image/145964614

    2:27 in the pain cave. That off my 2:20 target but still 7 minutes faster than my recrod to the top in 2009:

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/220960087

    Didn’t dawdle at the top in temps in the low 40s degF in icy fog. But the ride was dry, and all around a nice ride.

    Had a great time w/ mrs/dr eightzero, @peakintwoyears &VMH & @imakecircles .

  34. @imakecircles

    Great to meet you @peakintwoyears and hang out again @eightzero.  Looking forward to the next COGAL.

    Well, for reasons known only to the Keeprs, I can’t post in the guest article.

    A commercial photog got me on the way up in the V-Kitte:

    http://www.pbase.com/patrickkennedy/image/145964614

    Here’s the track. 2:27 was outside  my target of 2:20, but beat my 2009 record by 7 minutes. We didn’t dawdle in the low 40 degF temps at the top. Was dry and overall a good ride; the descent rather chilly.

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/220960087

    Had a great time with mrs/dr eightzero,  @imakecricles and @peakintwoyears and his VMH. See you all at the Whidbey Cogal.

  35. This is a test of the commenting system.

  36. Well, for reasons known only to the Keeprs, I can’t post in the guest article.

    A commercial photog got me on the way up in the V-Kitte:

    http://www.pbase.com/patrickkennedy/image/145964614

    Here’s the track. 2:27 was outside  my target of 2:20, but beat my 2009 record by 7 minutes. We didn’t dawdle in the low 40 degF temps at the top. Was dry and overall a good ride; the descent rather chilly.

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/220960087

    Had a great time with mrs/dr eightzero,  @imakecricles and @peakintwoyears and his VMH. See you all at the Whidbey Cogal.

  37. @eightzero

    This is a test of the commenting system.

    Pull the string tighter, I can barely hear you.

  38. @PeakInTwoYears

    @eightzero

    This is a test of the commenting system.

    Pull the string tighter, I can barely hear you.

    Ha! The logjam breaketh. Ser ves me right for hitting the “post” button more than once. Fuck.

  39. @eightzero

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @eightzero

    This is a test of the commenting system.

    Pull the string tighter, I can barely hear you.

    Ha! The logjam breaketh. Ser ves me right for hitting the “post” button more than once. Fuck.

    You look positively comfortable in the commercial shot, I love how the Lazer’s are basically made for a cap underneath. Sans cap & all you get is a whole lotta forehead.

  40. @Mikael Liddy

    @eightzero

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @eightzero

    This is a test of the commenting system.

    Pull the string tighter, I can barely hear you.

    Ha! The logjam breaketh. Ser ves me right for hitting the “post” button more than once. Fuck.

    You look positively comfortable in the commercial shot, I love how the Lazer’s are basically made for a cap underneath. Sans cap & all you get is a whole lotta forehead.

    I need to wear the size uber-XL helmet. I’m always jealous of how compact the pros’ helmets fit. I always look like I’m wearing a turban.

    Here’s another from the same photog’s site, a little further up the hill. @eightzero not lookin’ so tranquillo:

    http://www.pbase.com/patrickkennedy/image/145964802

  41. Good form, good form.

  42. @Oli

    Good form, good form.

    yes, but the yellow vested rider two back on the climb is mrs/dr eightzero, who I had just gone all Froome on. Fortunately, she had given me free reign on he stage at that point. I was quite intent on the v-locus, and didn’t realize I was creating a gap.

  43. Oh, poor Mrs Eightzero…

  44. @eightzero yeah I know that pain…my L/XL can have something of the mushroom cap about it when captured from the wrong angle.

    Just noticed that headtube length on the second photo…we do something of a line in uber tall riders here don’t we?

  45. @Mikael Liddy

    @eightzero yeah I know that pain…my L/XL can have something of the mushroom cap about it when captured from the wrong angle.

    Just noticed that headtube length on the second photo…we do something of a line in uber tall riders here don’t we?

    That’s a 23cm HT. I’m a big guy, I can wear big accessories. Size matters.

  46. @Oli

    Oh, poor Mrs Eightzero…

    Yeah, I congratulated her on her new best time, and she called me a cunt.

  47. Haha!

  48. http://mcqview.blogspot.com/

    Pics of the event from Mike McQuaide’s blog. I chatted with him on the way. Seems like a good chap.  I need to buy his book.

  49. * …on the way DOWN.  (Had it been on the way up, I would not have been able to talk much.)

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