My first Mt Baker Hill Climb, my first time riding up to Artists Point, and my first road bike race! I signed up for the rescheduled date two days before the race, borrowed a bike, arranged a carpool (thanks Ben Shaklee and Cal Skilsky) and I was all set! I’m used to racing my bike down rugged trails not up smooth roads so I had low expectations for myself in terms of results.

The night before the race was the WMBC Shoot the Trails event so I was out late with friends. Up after only 4hrs of sleep I was surprisingly excited to race. That’s the beauty of a local Sunday race. You don’t have to change your entire weekend plans to make it work.

Cal picked me up from my house at 6:20 and we headed towards Glacier. I had Cal take a quick stop at the Nooksack Market so I could pick up a coffee and breakfast burritos. Not the best nutrition plan but at least a proven pow day staple. It was shaping up to be beautiful ride especially in contrast to the stories Cal was telling about the years previous in the pouring rain. As we arrived at Chair 9 we heard a loud hissing noise in the back of the car. OH NO! It seemed like one of our bikes had a flat tire. We quickly unloaded them but it seemed like the tubeless sealant had done its job and everything was fine. Off to a great start haha!

I donned my favorite Hawaiian shirt and lined up. And we were off! The pace was fast but manageable. I was having a blast! I hardly ever get to ride in a group that large. Then we hit the base of the actual climb and the pace started to ramp up. I knew that Cal was going for the win and I tried to hold with him for as long as I could. This eventually caught up with me as I felt the coffee and breakfast burrito burn off and in it’s place was the beginning of a nasty calf cramp. As I watched the lead group pedal away I sat up to enjoy the beautiful mountain views. It really was a perfect day.

As I made it to Picture Lake and got the full view of Shuksan I was reminded of mountain passes in the Alps and the Dolomites that I’d ridden earlier in the summer. I felt grateful to have such world-class views so close to home. As I crossed the finish line, my legs in ruins, I was greeted by what felt like one of the best snack stations I’ve ever seen. I started to eat my fill of bananas, PBJ, candy, and beef jerky when I heard my name called to the podium. I was shocked! I had still managed to get 3rd in my age category. I quickly rushed with my snacks to the podium.

What a fun event! I hope to do it again next year.