Cycling SeasonScheduled for February 28, the 33-mile loop going around Bainbridge Island will kick off the busy cycling season in Olympia, Washington. Cycling is an extremely popular sport in Washington state and in support, several official challenges are organized.

For the past 44 years, Chilly Hilly has been the unofficial launch of the cycling season. While the hills along this 33-mile stretch are not overly large, they certainly provide a good workout. Because of the terrain, this particular ride is appreciated by people of all cycling skills and experience.

The Chilly Hilly ride will start and finish in Winslow or by taking a ferry ride form Seattle. If visiting Washington state or participating in this ride for the first time, the ferry ride is highly recommended since it is among the most famous in the area. Although many rides are organized this year, Chilly Hilly is the one that draws the big crowd. For the 2010 ride, there were over 6,000 participants.

To get involved with Chilly Hilly there is an entry fee that ranges between $40 and $45. Considering this year’s mild weather, this year’s ride is expected to be even bigger and better than ever before. Along with Chilly Hilly, several other rides are scheduled.

Additional Washington State Rides

• April 17 – For the Daffodil Classic, people can choose a 40 or 60-mile loop through the Orting Valley. If preferred, both loops can be ridden. As part of tradition, finishers enjoy delicious strawberry shortcake.

• June 4 – Flying Wheels is another ride worth experiencing. This ride starts at Redmond’s Marymoor Park and offers routes of 23, 45, 67, and 100 miles.

• June 26 – The Two-County Double Metric ride is an annual event that has six distinct options ranging from 11 to 127 miles

• June 26 – The Tour de Pierce is also a great choice with cycling routes between 12 and 50 miles. This family-first ride travels through rural roads and along the beautiful Foothills Trails

• July 16-17 – Another highly popular ride is the Seattle to Portland (STP), which offers 10,000 open spots.

• July 28 – RAMROD is a challenging ride that goes around Mount Rainer. Seasoned riders will climb 10,000 feet over more than 150 miles while managing fast descents.

• August 7 – Without question, the toughest cycling event is Ride the Hurricane, which travels from Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge.

Additional scheduled rides include Courage Classic on August six through eight, Obliteride on August 13 and 14, High Pass Challenge for August 29, Passport to Pain on September 10, and The Kitsap Color Classic for September 27.