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Cycle season wheels in at Chilly Hilly

It's go time: The cycle shoes hitting concrete sounded like a herd of horses when hundreds of cyclists surged onto three chartered ferries bound for Bainbridge yesterday morning. As soon as each ferry pulled into dock and lowered its ramp, the cyclists many wearing lime colored jackets, tight pants and wrap around shades were off. Cheap Jerseys

The bikes: The trick to riding a unicycle with a 36 inch diameter wheel is to lean forward going uphill and to descend very slowly, said Irene Genelin, a 19 year old University of Washington student.

"It's a different way to see the world," she said. "It's fun, you're up higher and you can see things. It's also more of a novelty. People just come up to you and start talking."

For Sue and Jackson Weaver of Issaquah, getting the hang of riding a tandem bike took some time especially as Weaver is left handed and naturally tries to dismount the opposite side as his right handed wife. Wholesale Jerseys

"The bike shop guy said that tandeming either makes or breaks a marriage," he said.

Bill and Mary Ann Mundy favored something called a Bike Friday that folds down into a suitcase. It's cheaper for plane travel and works well, they said. They should know: Last year, they cycled more than 3,000 miles from Florida to Nova Scotia on their Bike Fridays.

Other bikes ranged from high performance racing machines costing thousands of dollars to mountain bikes that looked as if they had spent more time off road than on.

At least one rider used his hands to power himself on a specially modified machine. Navy Senior Chief Rich Dodd decided there was no better place to re enlist for three more years than at Battle Point Park, 15 miles into the ride. Capt. Mike Neller and sonar technician Garold Munson performed the ceremony as Dodd raised his right hand and swore to defend Americans from their enemies. Cheap NFL Jerseys CHINA

Neller said he is "ecstatic" that Dodd is due to become the senior enlisted person on the submarine Henry M. Jackson and will be responsible for managing up to 180 sailors. "A good chief of the boat makes all the difference in the world, and is critical to everything that goes on in the ship," Neller said.

Another person marking a special day was John Arrigoni, who celebrated his 12th birthday yesterday. He is 48 years old but has experienced only a dozen birthdays because he was born Feb. 29 Leap Day.

"He's pretty muscly for a 12 year old," said wife Sue Arrigoni, who had little to celebrate herself as she pushed her bike up the notoriously steep Northeast Baker Hill the route's highest climb after she got a flat tire.

Also pushing his bike up Baker Hill was Mike LaManna of Redmond, a first time entrant who rounded a bend at the bottom and knew what was ahead. "All I saw was this wall of yellow jerseys," he said. "Everyone was stacked up, going up."

Young and old: With striking white hair and a distinctive purple shirt with polka dots, Vic Groening was among the oldest riders, at age 85. With him were his son and daughter, both in their 50s, and his 15 year old grandson.

"Every year, I forget how many hills there are," said Groening of West Seattle, the uncle of "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening. "85 is not like 84."

"Each year you lose a bit," he said halfway through the route that he has ridden at least 10 times.

In equally colorful gear was Francis Doll, who will turn 11 months old tomorrow. Riding in a bike trailer pulled by his parents, he wore a red fleece suit and a blue helmet covered in fish, frogs and turtles.

"He just grew into his helmet," said mom Denelle Peacey. They had gone through 60 gallons of chili and soup, 80 pounds of bananas, 115 hot dogs and Polish dogs, 150 baked potatoes and 600 scones and other baked goods at the Battle Point Park lunch stop.

An hour later, at the finish line, the Fort Ward Neighborhood Association reported it had been doling out chili all day without stopping, selling more than 1,000 bowls. The line of customers was still out the door.

The Chilly Hilly helps raise money for the organizers, the Cascade Bicycle Club of Seattle, along with several Bainbridge Island charities. It's also a boon for the young entrepreneurs selling lemonade along the way.

Organizers said that by the middle of last week, more than 1,600 riders had pre registered from 14 states and Canada. About 70 percent were male. About 38 percent were from Seattle, 8 percent from Bainbridge Island and 5 percent from Bellevue. cheap nfl jerseys

The end: "This is the ultimate: eating chili at the end of the Chilly Hilly," said Tommy Brown of Seattle, who finished despite developing cramps at 28 miles.

Groening, the 85 year old, also completed another Chilly Hilly. He said he has no secrets to staying young enough to do that other than eating a bowl of oatmeal in the morning:

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