Weather cannot stop riders in ‘Bon Jon Pass Out’

By Kirk Boxleitner
Posted 6/19/24



A dismal weather forecast put a damper on what was set to be a record turnout for the “Bon Jon Pass Out” gravel bicycle race in Quilcene on Saturday, June 15.

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Weather cannot stop riders in ‘Bon Jon Pass Out’




A dismal weather forecast put a damper on what was set to be a record turnout for the “Bon Jon Pass Out” gravel bicycle race in Quilcene on Saturday, June 15.

As always, three courses into the Olympics, the longest of which was 80 miles, were directed by Peninsula Adventure Sports, and hosted by the Quilcene Historical Museum.

Race Director Lorrie Mittmann reported that the Bon Jon Pass Out met its registration goal of 296 participants, compared to 267 last year. But with the predicted weather, just 196 cyclists showed up.

“The ones that did are very hearty and intrepid folks, with truly adventurous souls,” Mittmann said. “Normally, the uphill climb is the most challenging part of the race for most people, but because of the cold wet weather this year, the downhill portions were actually extremely difficult.”

Mittmann added it was potentially dangers, as well. Cyclists were soaked by rain for hours, and the effect of the wind during the quick downhill run could cause “major chilling, and even hypothermia,” if the riders weren’t dressed properly.

“Another challenge in the wet weather was the potential for bicycle malfunctions, when their parts got overly coated with mud,” said Mittman. “Our riders needed to be diligent about watching their bicycles’ performance.” She expressed gratitude for Quilcene Fire and Rescue, “who were on the scene, ready to respond to any medical emergencies, even though there were none, fortunately.”

Mittmann was “especially impressed” with Gay Hunter, the race’s oldest rider. At the age of 72, Hunter spent the day before the bike race kayaking from Victoria, B.C., to her hometown of Port Angeles, as part of an event to raise awareness and support the fight against human trafficking on the Olympic Peninsula.

“She showed up at the Bon Jon Pass Out with a forehead so sunburned that you could see where her sunglasses were,” Mittmann said. “She went from kayaking in the sun to getting soaking wet and freezing on a 32-mile bike race.”

Mittman also noted that this year’s long course open winner, 41-year-old Ted King of Vermont, not only completed his course in 3:09.53, but donated a set of Rene Herse tires to the second-place finisher, 36-year-old Mark Laughery of Seattle, who finished behind him by only 6 seconds. King was sponsored by Rene Herse and already had a set he had won.

Mittman was amused that the top three finishers of the short course for “juniors” (under 18) were a trio of Port Angeles siblings; 15-year-old Isaac Hales in first place with 3:56.37, 17-year-old Julie Hales in second place with 4:10.52, and 15-year-old Samuel Hales in third place with 4:13.36.

“I bet they have a lot of competitive fun in that family,” Mittmann said.

According to Mittmann, the planned start of this annual event, in 2020, was delayed until 2021 by COVID, but since then, its registrations have continued to increase on a year-to-year basis.

“It should still be one of the biggest events in South County this year,” Mittman said.

“We were looking for a locale on the east side of the Olympics, and Quilcene was a perfect fit. This is a grassroots race, in partnership with the local community, for which the village of Quilcene has literally thrown open their doors to welcome the race’s organizers, racers and attendees alike.”

With Port Townsend’s Social Fabric Brewing staffing the taps for the beer garden, and Brinnon’s Halfway House Restaurant catering locally sourced meals for the cyclists and attendees, Mittmann characterized the volunteerism in Quilcene as “beyond impressive.”

“It’s truly been a joy to work with all of these great people, putting in tons of hours to support this event, and putting themselves out in the cold and rain to take care of our riders’ safety,” Mittmann said.

“Also, the Quilcene Historical Museum’s Worthington Park is a gorgeous venue! What a gem! It has everything you need for a great event, in addition to how incredibly beautiful it is.”

Quilcene Historical Museum Board member Brian Cullin added that this event benefits local nonprofit organizations, as he teased a number of other summer and early fall events still to come in South County, including the “Up, Up, Up Circus” July 27, the “Tasting Gala” Aug. 9, the “Oyster Races” Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K Sept. 15, and the Quilcene Fiber Festival Oct 12.