Seattle is a much hillier town than most people realize. Hills of 15% grades and 2-4 km in length are a dime-a-dozen, and there are several, such as the Lighthouse and Dravus, that are considerably more. Lighthouse is around 22% while Dravus’ grades make me test my track-stand abilities (I have none).
Our normal route, the Seattle Tre Chime, takes us up the Lighthouse, and it never failes to tire me out. It’s about 1.5km long, with the last 700m in the 18%-22% range; difficult enough that you really have no choice but to ride it hard, which is why, on my more masochistic days, I use it for intervals (my record is three, Jim’s is 5).
Yesterday, Michelle and I rode what we call the “Double” (pronounced doo-bluh) which is the Tre Chime with a Northern Loop hitched on for a day of 2.5km vertical sufferage. It happened to be a particularly windy day in town and it was a dead-on coming up the Lighthouse. How do you make the Lighthouse harder than it already is? You add a gale-force headwind to it. I normally average between 13-15 kmph on the climb; yesterday’s painful average was about 8 kmph. Not fun.
Michelle, with her mind as razor-sharp as it always is, recognized the ideal recovery plan: pick up a bottle of rum on the way home. And she was clever enough to snap a photo of me riding home with a bottle of booze in my jersey, old-skool-style.