PORT ANGELES — The success of Ride the Hurricane isn’t measured in the number of participants (it’s capped at 800) or course records broken (it’s not a race, so it isn’t timed).
Instead, the annual cycling event from the Port Angeles City Pier to the summit of Hurricane Ridge uses other gauges for success: Was the weather nice? Did the cyclists have a good time? Was anyone hurt?
The answers Sunday were: Yes, it was a beautiful, clear sunny day. Yes, a couple of cyclists had such a good time they actually rode the course twice. And, no, other than a minor deer-cyclist collision in which both parties walked away unharmed, no one was reported in danger of being hurt.
“This was far and away the best Ride the Hurricane we’ve had,” said Leslie Robertson, events manager for the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event.
“Check-in went smoothly, and all the feedback that we got was positive.”
This year’s Ride the Hurricane also marked the return of cyclists from Canada after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions during which they were unable to travel to Port Angeles. About 85 Canadians participated, many of whom arrived on the 7:40 a.m. Coho ferry to “welcome back” signs.
Robertson said the chamber had responded to comments from riders last year by placing more signage along the route to let them know the distance to the next aid station and to the top.
In addition to water and energy bars, each of the five aid stations had on hand a different surprise treat like gummy bears, trail mix and chocolate truffles.
Two changes being considered for next year’s event are tiered pricing to encourage people to register early and an add-on fee that would enable spouses, friends and family to join cyclists at the after party. (Right now only cyclists and volunteers can attend).
Robertson said demand to participate in the event far exceeded capacity; on Sunday, there were about 200 people still on the waiting list. It is Olympic National Park, not the chamber, that limits the number of entrants to 800.
Ride the Hurricane raises funds for Washington’s National Park Fund, the Peninsula Trails Coalition and the Chamber’s free community events like the annual 4th of July celebration.
Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached by email at [email protected]