PORT ANGELES — About 800 people will skip the long lines of traffic getting into Hurricane Ridge on Sunday and dodge the entrance fee into Olympic National Park.
But the price they’ll pay is riding a bicycle from sea level to 5,242 feet.
The 14th annual Ride the Hurricane challenges cyclists on a 40-mile round-trip road trip from Port Angeles City Pier to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.
One day a year, the park closes the gate at Heart O’ the Hills to vehicular traffic from 7 a.m. to noon so cyclists can take over Hurricane Ridge Road without having to hug the narrow shoulder or watch for cars.
Cyclists must start the ride at the pier and are asked not to be on Hurricane Ridge Road before 6 a.m. because aid station volunteers and emergency medical staff will not yet be in place. They must also depart the summit no later than 11:30 a.m. to ensure all entrants will be off the road by noon when it reopens to traffic.
Early check-in is set for noon to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Port Angeles Visitor Center, 121 E. Railroad Ave. Ride day check-in will be from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Port Angeles City Pier
Five aid stations along the route from Heart O’ the Hills to one near the summit (approximately one every 2 miles) will be staffed by volunteers and offer light snacks, water and a portable toilet (except for aid station No. 5).
At the summit will be a snack center stocked with chocolate milk and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
For cyclists wishing to celebrate their achievement in reaching the top (or offer proof to doubters), a photographer will be available to record the moment. Another photographer will capture images along the ride. All photographs will be available for purchase after the event.
An After Party on the pier will open around 10 a.m. in time to welcome the first finishers. Only participants and volunteers will be able to enjoy a taco bar catered by Little Devil’s Lunchbox and craft beer from Barhop Brewing.
Cyclists must wear helmets, their bibs must be visible at all times and they must follow proper cycling etiquette and rules of the road.
Leslie Robertson, Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce events manager, said event volunteers are still needed, particularly to assist with early check-in on Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
A portion of the proceeds from Ride the Hurricane will go to the Peninsula Trails Coalition and the Washington National Park Fund.
Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached by email at [email protected]