By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The event — not a race but a recreational ride — gives cyclists free reign over the Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park from 7 a.m. to noon Sunday as they ride to the 5,200-foot summit.
“Hurricane Ridge is considered one of the top uphill cycling climbs in the country,” said Russ Veenema, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, which organized the event.
Since the first ride five years ago, participation has increase from 250 riders the first year to more than 500 this year, he said.
The ride has attracted riders from far and wide, Veenema added.
“It's really turned into a true destination event,” he said.
Online pre-registration will be open until Saturday at 7 p.m., and registration on the day of the ride will begin at 6 a.m. in the Peninsula College parking lot, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.
The fee is $40, with $5 going to maintenance and development of the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Ride vests will be distributed to pre-registered riders first, Veenema said.
Hurricane Ridge Road will be closed to motor traffic above the Heart o' the Hills entrance station from 6 a.m. to noon so that the large number of cyclists can ride safely on the 12 miles of narrow, winding mountain road.
Riders have two choices: They can begin the 36-mile round-trip ride from Peninsula College at 700 feet above sea level as soon as they complete the registration process — taking care on the lower Ridge Road, which is not closed to traffic — or they can start at 7 a.m. at the Heart o' the Hills entrance, at about 1,100 feet, for a 24-mile round trip.
If those who choose the longer ride reach the Heart o' the Hills entrance before 7 a.m., they must wait for the road to open for cyclists, Veenema said.
The event will supply four aid stations, which will have water and snacks available along with portable toilets.
The Summit House atop the Ridge will be open and snacks and beverages available.
Celebratory “I made it to the top” photos also will be taken and available online after the event.
Each rider will receive a goodie bag with sponsor information and a custom Ride the Hurricane jacket.
A first-come, first-served spectator shuttle will leave the Peninsula College parking lot at 7 a.m. and leave the summit at 9 a.m., with another round trip starting at 10 a.m. and returning from the summit at 11:30 a.m.
An informal after-ride party is set for the Peninsula College parking lot from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The day is forecast to be sunny and warm, so riders are encouraged to make sure they are well-hydrated during the ride up the mountainside, Veenema said.
All riders are required to sign a waiver and must wear a cycling helmet.
Signed waivers can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or brought to registration.
The presenting sponsor is Black Ball Ferry Line, with First Federal a major sponsor.
For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/PDN-ridehurricane.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.