Wednesday, January 2, 2008

37th Annual Jerry Baker New Years Day Ride

{words & images reed}

January 1, 2008 – I did manage to keep one New Year’s resolution this year – I rode my bike on New Years Day. After a month of cooler than normal temperatures (.9 degrees cooler for an average of 39.8 degrees), snow on December 1st, and record rain fall (3.5 inches above normal and measurable precipitation on twenty five days) I was just not that enthused about getting out on the bike in the rain and cold. I know, pretty wimpy, 39 degrees may not seem cold to many of you. Hey, I just don’t like being wet and cold – there I admit it.

Fortunately the weather broke on December 31st and Seattle’s bike riders got a two day break from the long dark tunnel of overcast skies and rain. I joined in the celebration of the New Year and the weather break by joining the 37th annual Jerry Baker First Ride on New Years Day. Jerry has been an active and important part of the Seattle cycling community and industry for many years. He won the first Seattle to Portland in 1979 when it was a race and has ridden every one since. Jerry has been at the forefront in promoting and administering local cyclocross racing and the Marymoor Velodrome Association. He is a venerated leader of the cycling community here in the Seattle and many riders come out for the First Ride just to say hello and thank you to Jerry.

Around Noon the riders began to arrive at Enatai Beach in Bellevue under the Interstate 90 bridge that links Mercer Island to the Eastside shore of Lake Washington. Although it is hard to see in the photo below, that strange “ball of fire” in the sky is the Sun – a rare sight this time of year here in the Pacific “Northwet”.

About 75 riders started off a few minutes after Noon and the “First Ride” was under way.

After 37 years the “New Ride” has evolved into a social event with friends coming out to see each other and talk about the holidays, last season’s rides and the upcoming season’s plans. The route is well established and the pace pretty “conversational”. Along the way the New Ride picked up other riders joining from their own New Year’s rides and by the halfway point the ride was well over 120 riders strong.

The ride heads north from Enatai, through Bellevue, Medina and up to Evergreen Point for the annual tradition of heading out and back to the dead end of Evergreen Road/76th Ave – hey it’s a tradition!

The ride then heads east on a bike path along Highway 520 to Northrup Way and the south back through Bellevue. Details on the route, including the distance and profile can be found at...Bicycling - click here.

As the ride wound south through Bellevue many riders pulled off to head home or out for a longer training ride around the south end of Lake Washington. It was a smaller group of about 50 of us who finished back at Enatai Park and exchanged New Year’s greetings. It was a great start to 2008 and I know I will be back for the 2009 version.

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