Hard to believe we’re wrapping up another decade of the 21st century, but here we are! Now that the teens are in our review mirror, let’s take a look out ahead to maybe get a sense of where we’re going and what lay in front of us.
Of course there are the usual local cycling events: the Tour de Dung, the Sequim Bike Rodeo, the Tour de Lavender … all of which are on the 2020 calendar, but we’ll get to those in a bit.
First, let’s expand our horizon just a bit, looking beyond the immediate vicinity of Sequim. Much as we love our little piece of cycling heaven, there are other events close by that are worth considering.
The Cascade Bicycle Club’s classic “Chilly Hilly,” on Bainbridge Island, is exactly as its name suggests: it takes place on February 23rd and is therefore rarely anything but chilly — sometimes it’s downright freezing cold!
Throw in a good stiff headwind with rain blowing horizontally off Puget Sound and, well, you’ll remember your “Chilly Hilly” ride for a long time—or at least until the feeling returns to your fingers and toes.
And it is most definitely hilly. Here’s the elevation for the 33-mile course:
Full disclosure: I’ve done it five times and I am very much “pro-hill.” You may see it differently.
The first weekend in March can pose a bit of a dilemma because the Seattle Bike & Outdoor Show is on at Century Link Field Event Center … the same time as the first ever Sequim Sunshine Festival. But you can have your cake and eat it too!
Come out Saturday, March 7, and enjoy all the activities, including a totally free “Rolling Sunshine” ride from Carrie Blake Park to the Agnew Store and back, with a party after.
Then stick around for an illuminated drone show and Beach Party! For more details, go to www.visitsunnysequim.com. Then head over to the Emerald City on Sunday for the Bike Show, and be sure to stop by the OPBA booth!
More to ride
As of now, we don’t have a firm date for the Tour de Dung — the annual kick-off to the Pacific Northwest road-bike racing season — but it usually happens the last couple weekends in March.
It’s the only road-bike race in Sequim, but what a race! Unless you want to do the race, park yourself near the starting line at the junction of Kitchen-Dick and Lotzgezell roads, just across from the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, and catch the action.
You can also cheer on several local riders who do race.
Sometime in March as well, depending on snow-depth at elevation on the route, the third-annual Disco Bay Mixer will again take place. This is an informal, unsupported ride on mixed surfaces — paved, grave, and single-track mountain bike trails. It’s a wild and whacky 40-or-so-mile ride starting at Rainshadow Café and ending at the Peninsula Tap Room. And it’s usually gloriously wet, cold, and muddy, so if the Chilly Hilly ride appeals to you, you’re gonna love the Mixer!
OPBA’s third-annual Sequim Bike Rodeo is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at Helen Haller Elementary School. Part of OPBA’s mission to make the Olympic Peninsula “Cyclist Safe, Cyclist Friendly,” the Bike Rodeo is to teach young riders from K-5th grade how to ride safely, confidently and responsibly.
It’s another totally free OPBA-sponsored event. So bring your little ones out and watch them learn new skills, master the challenging “road scape” course, and become better cyclists.
The OPBA Safety Committee (Randy Barber, Tom Coonelly, Richard Bloomer, Dave Toman, Joan McDermott, Jeanie Robards, and Frank Finney), which plans the Bike Rodeo each year, is also sponsoring two new courses in 2020. The first is a Group Riding Skills course to help sharpen the skills needed for riding safely in larger groups, something we find ourselves doing more frequently as our local cyclist population grows; it’s a day-long course taught by Brian Watson, a League of American Bicyclists (LAB)-certified trainer.
The second is a course on first aid training for cyclists that can be completed on-line through the Red Cross or in person by attending first-aid training offered by Clallam County Fire District 2 in Port Angeles.
Complete either one and OPBA will give you an American Red Cross certified Sports First Aid Kit, which is perfect for cycling!
Planning is well underway for “TDL2020,” the eighth-annual Tour de Lavender.
The brainchild of Dan & Janet Abbott, owners of Washington Lavender farm and George Washington Inn, “TDL” is now the largest cycling event on the Olympic Peninsula. More than 1,000 riders are expected this year and the farms are rolling out the purple carpet in welcome.
Gravel grinding is coming to our area big time in 2020 with the advent of the Sequim Saga gravel series, put together by Garth Schmeck, owner of Pedego Sequim. This is for hard-core gravel riders — not the faint-of-heart.
The Saga “mini” is some 60 miles with more than 6,000 feet of elevation gain! We do have some local cyclists (besides Garth) who get a great big smile on their faces when they here stats like that, so if you’re one of them, check in with Garth for more information on when and where the Sequim Saga events will be held.
There’s lots more coming as well, but we’ll cover those next time!
Meanwhile, I’m thinking Sequim can rightly claim the title of “Cycling Capital of the Olympic Peninsula!”
Ken Stringer is a Sequim resident.