Kevin really didn’t want to get out and ride this morning. It was cold. It was wet. The house was warm (unlike just over a day ago, when our power was out for about 24 hrs) and dry. Even the dog didn’t want to go outside. But y’know, once you’re up and drinking coffee and into the pre-ride routine, failure isn’t an option.
Cold? Well yes, it was cold, but we were prepared for it. Thermal tights, four layers up top (heavy base layer, long sleeve winter jersey, winter jersey/jacket plus rain jacket). Electric gloves. Toe warmers plus booties. Curiously, for me, my nose and ears and head in general have never been an issue, while Kevin does the balaclava thing.
The roads were damp but the sky clear when we left, about 15 minutes behind schedule because we had to transfer stuff to our rain bike and I hadn’t set the camera up on it. Very glad I did move the camera over. This was definitely a day for video!
I sucked, I mean REALLY sucked, no power. I blamed most of it on the cold; it got as low as 30F and never warmed up above 39 or so, until the very end. Going through the park was a real struggle, and I was wondering if I’d just be looping back at the park entrance. But no, can’t do that, and it wasn’t long before Kevin was spotting small patches of snow. I thought it was just heavy-duty frost, or maybe hail, but as we continue to ride up the hill, yes, it was snow.
It became fun wondering what would be around each corner, knowing the answer ahead of time- more and more snow. It’s pretty easy to get excited about snow around here, obviously! Not that big a deal for me; I’ve had a number of rides, occasionally epic, in snow. One particularly memorable was a late October ride up Sonora Pass; it started snowing about half-way up, and the snow would pile up on the handlebar. I’d scrape it away until I decided, why bother? Just let it accumulate. Today was nothing like that, because it had stopped snowing maybe an hour or two ahead of us; the closest we got to be snowed on was through some tree covered areas where it was dropping off the leaves. Even had a close call with a “snowball” from the sky at one point.
Tire traction was fine until the last half mile or so, when the road got a bit slushy. Tires would slip now and then, but nothing too bad, nothing that suggested a smart move would be to turn around. Not that we would have anyway.
Eventually we made it to the top, with one or two stops along the way for photos. There was a Sheriff’s car at the intersection, waiting for someone in a car to get stuck, very friendly to us, even offered to take a photo of us if we’d like. They also confirmed what I figured out on my own; this would not be a good day to be heading south on Skyline to 84. I really didn’t want to be descending a possibly-sketchy road with cars that wanted to go a lot faster. The better idea was just to head back down Kings, a road you can descend at whatever pace you like in the morning, and rarely have an issue with cars.
The first mile heading down was, in fact, a bit dicey. Kevin lost his footing early on and did a low-speed crash, hurting neither bike nor himself, and a bit further on, we got to watch a car ahead of us slide off the road into the side of the hill. He was fine, car was fine, maybe just a few scrapes, but he was able to get back onto the road.
And Kevin? Kevin was mad at me, in a good way, that I talked him into the ride because it was so much fun, so interesting, not something to be missed. He hates it when I’m right. 🙂