Cyclists should get their bikes tuned up, the McClinchy Mile Camano Climb bike ride is back after a two-year pandemic break.
B.I.K.E.S. Club of Snohomish County is putting it on again for the 40th year Sunday, April 24.
The first ride was based in Monroe in 1982 It’s named after Stuart McClinchy, one of the club’s founders, who died before the inaugural event that cost $5 and had loops to Carnation, Duvall, Fall City, Lowell Park and Sultan.
Now registration costs $55 through April 15. After that it’s $65.
Riders can’t sign up the day of the event, and there are normally hundreds of them.
In 2005 the event moved to Arlington and cost $17 or $20. It relocated in 2019 to Camano Island and Stanwood and expanded its ridership and routes.
Now there are three routes designed for different riders: 15, 35 and 50 miles. All begin and end at Stanwood Middle School.
This isn’t an event where people need to worry about top-10 finishes no matter the path.
“It’s never a race,” said Patty Garrett, a longtime club member and ride volunteer. “This is just a scenic, leisurely ride.”
The longer the route, the harder it is.
At 15 miles, the Stanwood Farms Route is “mostly” flat and meanders along the farm land.
The 50-mile loop encircles Camano Island, which is known for inclines as well as views of beaches, Saratoga Passage, and Cascade and Olympic mountains.
In peak years, around 800 cyclists showed up. Normally, there are about 400, club treasurer Debby Grant said. A far cry from 43 cyclists who paid $5 each on the inaugural ride.
Organizers pared back from their last event in 2019 and cut out the 100-mile ride. Instead, daring cyclists can combine the 15-mile and 50-mile routes for a “metric century” route that measures over 100 kilometers.
Steve Boskovich, 68, has biked the entire island where the lives. It’s about 50 miles and takes a bit of cycling conditioning.
“There’s some big hills out here that unless you’re in shape for bike riding you’re going to have a tough time,” Boskovich said.
He and other Stanwood Camano Kiwanis members hosted the annual Camano Climb bike ride since 1997. Dwindling Kiwanis membership made it harder to organize that event, so they decided to combine it with the McClinchy Mile in 2019.
He said Camano’s north half is the most scenic with views of Skagit Bay, Mount Baker and the Olympics.
Garrett, 63, agreed that Camano Island has a lot of elevation gain. Cyclists refer to one of its inclines as “super hill.”
“That one’s a challenge,” she said. “If you want just a relaxed day of getting out, I would suggest the 15-mile route.”
With more people riding bikes recently and new club members, Grant hopes some relatively new cyclists come out for the ride. But she knows it’s often a weather-dependent event, and Western Washington springs aren’t known for consistent sunshine.
“Rain doesn’t stop people,” Garrett said. “I’ve done my share of riding in the rain or the snow.”
One of the other changes for the ride is an expectation to see more e-bike riders. But as a club-sponsored event, the insurance only allows Class 1 and Class 3 bikes.
The McClinchy Mile is the club’s main fundraiser. B.I.K.E.S. leaders hope to get $4,000 to $6,000 from it this year, which they use to cover expenses from marketing, park and road permits, drinks, food and other supplies. The rest helps promote cycling.
“Hopefully we give away most of the profits,” Grant said.
Arlington Velo Sport owner Mark Everett is volunteering as mechanical support. Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop staff also will be there with a bike repair station.
There are food and water stops at Cama Beach State Park and near the former Tyee Grocery on the 35-mile and 50-mile routes.
After the ride, people are invited to celebrate at SAAL Brewing at 10209 270th St. NW, Stanwood. Appetizers are included with registration, but not drinks.
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