Organizers of this year’s Mount Baker Hill Climb say the recreational bike ride on Sunday will be the only event at the Festival 542 fund-raiser.
The annual bicycle ride to Artist’s Point at the end of Highway 542 is scaling back this year and won’t include the competitive timed event with cash prizes for winning cyclists.
Another change is that Highway 542 will not be closed to traffic during the bike ride, and the field will be capped at 200 riders on Sunday. Also, there will be limited support along the route.
Ride manager Charlie Heggem said he’s scaling it back “for logistic, business, and sanity reasons.”
The ride manager warned of the changes in a letter to registered riders and offered refunds for the difference between the registration fees for the recreation ride and the timed event.
Improvements for 2014
Heggem said improvements are coming next year that will aid in its future and attract the right partners and access. “Looking forward to re-launching in 2014 with many improvements and increased firepower.”
Check the registration page on how to register for the bike ride, which benefits a number of Whatcom County charities. Registration will close when the 200-rider limit is reached.
As usual, the ride starts at Chair 9 Woodfire Pizza and Bar, 1 mile past the town of Glacier which is 34 miles from Bellingham. Bicyclists will be leaving there in 25-rider waves beginning at 7:30 a.m. until about 9 a.m.
The ride to Artist’s Point (5,140 feet elevation) is about 25 miles, making for a 50-mile round trip. In the past, some cyclists have opted for a century ride with two trips to the point.
Organizers say riders should use extra caution because the road will be open to traffic.