Saturday, January 18, 2014

Team Mang versus the Heart Attack Hill

A view of Heart Attack Hill
The Stinky Spoke mountain bike ride is usually the first official event of the year that Team Mang participates in.  It happens in mid-January and this year was no different. Although the team spends a lot of time on road rides, the team does have a few avid mountain bike lovers and a few who dabble in both disciplines.  It's also a little known fact that the team started calling itself its namesake on a mountain bike ride in November 2012.  
This year's Stinky Spoke turned out to be a nice-weather ride (as opposed to the last two years where it was either wet and snowy or super cold).  Cool temperatures gave way to an awesome sunny weather ride (towards the second half). The ride organizers, though, couldn't resist the urge to add additional mud by placing an unavoidable sprinkler right in the middle of the trail.
The ride started out with a foggy first mile, including the 20.3% gradient Heart Attack Hill.  This year's advantage was that it wasn't as wet and slippery as the past couple.  A few of us made it up the hill with no problem - even got it on camera.  Those riders coasted through the whole course and weren't even satisfied with completing it in record time.  Yup, they even added a bonus hill - the climb up the Chateau St. Michelle winery (7 Hills Of Kirkland's steepest climb).  Yes, folks, our team has suffer-lovers.
Team Mang and friends at the start line
Most of the other riders took their time climbing...well, mostly walking...up the Heart Attack Hill.  After that climb, though, it was a brisk pace throughout the course.  The obligatory picture taking sessions were, of course, always completed, and new friends were made.  One of us did suffer a spectacular crash through the winding fire roads.  His bike ended up almost hanging from a tree on the side of the trail.  What's important is that it was okay - no major damage...oh, and the rider was fine with a few bumps and bruises.  Not bad for a first official ride.  More fun and adventures with Team Mang coming in February.
Here's the relaxed bunch at the end of the dirt