We are a strange lot. OK, maybe not we, could just be me. I go to bed, night before a stormy morning ride, looking forward to it. There’s something about being out there, when it’s really dumping, and nobody else is on the road (except maybe your son who you dragged out, and an aging airline pilot who is often smart enough to stay in bed, but not always), and the rain is coming down HARD, everything’s soaked through so you’ve already reached equilibrium (there’s no way to get either more wet or dry off)… it’s just a matter of keeping the fire going strong enough to stay warm.
An ideal epic ride would be heavy rain, temps anywhere in the 50s, and maybe a bit of wind to howl through the Redwoods. What kept this morning from being idea was a lack of really heavy rain (seriously, that’s not optional) and it was just too darned cold. Sure, 40 degrees is a whole lot warmer than the 28 degrees we’ve been seeing on some recent rides, but 40 degrees and wet? After the water’s found a way to sneak through your clothes, just before hitting the descent? That’s not part of the requirement. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to dress for that, to tell you the truth. On the other hand, I might not be too far off from nailing the cold & wet dress code, since I never did feel like shivering, never got that oscillation going when descending because your arms and legs are shaking so bad.
So now I’m thinking, maybe I have too many restrictions on what qualifies as an ideal epic ride? Maybe it’s not truly epic if I say it doesn’t need to include the really bad stuff. Maybe there are degrees of epic, and I should be going for the ultimate!
Or maybe I’m becoming mildly sensible in my getting-older age.
Unbelievable that just a few days after Joy Covey lost her life, we see someone turning right in front of a cyclist at the same intersection. I rode up there again today, wanting to get an idea of how the sun might have affected visibility at the time of day the accident occurred, and hung around for quite a while, maybe 30 minutes, letting the video run and observing how cars and cyclists interacted. In this case, not well!
The cyclist was wearing a light-colored jersey and had a flashing front light. No fog (sorry about the fuzzy video; apparently I hadn’t wiped the lens clean). Did the motorist not see the cyclist? Or mis-judge the speed? You would think there would be a heightened sensitivity with greater care taken in making that turn. There is clear visibility for over a quarter mile on the downhill (north) side, so there’s no rocket science involved in making that turn. You make sure there’s nobody in sight coming up the road, then make the turn only when there’s nobody on the uphill (south) side.
I agree that it’s a dangerous intersection, requiring extra care for those turning into or out of it. But with that extra care, I think virtually all accidents are avoidable. Of course that’s expecting too much, so this intersection might be in need of serious redesign, perhaps adding roadway on the west side (right side when heading uphill/south) so that you could realign the entire roadway further west, giving a better view of traffic to someone on Elk Tree Road, and possibly even a left-hand turn lane incorporated on southbound-Skyline. It’s a whole lot of trouble for a lightly-used intersection, but this may have been the third serious (and second fatal) accident there.
More video, shot a couple minutes before what’s shown above, giving the motorist’s point of view. Many had questioned whether a motorist can actually see much up the hill. Yes, they can. If they’re looking. Make sure to run it full-screen so it’s a bit more realistic, since a car window is just a bit bigger than 3 inches across. And especially note the car at the end of the video, which never stops at all as it enters onto Skyline from Elk Tree Road. Is it really possible the driver gave anything more than a cursory glance before heading onto Skyline?