Velominati › Ride 542 - The Mount Baker Hill CLimb

The ride up Mt. Baker is long, hard, and stunning. Photo via Mike McQuaide

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

by eightzero / Jun 29 2012 / 66 posts

@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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