When it comes to the Seattle area in January there is, in general, only 2 types of weather. Wet and rainy, or clear and cold! This makes cycling in January a bit challenging. Even though I do it, riding in the rain is NOT my favorite thing. In fact, yesterday morning, I was suited up and ready to ride to work. I looked outside to see it raining sideways. I decided to carpool with Michelle! (I did do 20 on the indoor trainer that night though!)
If the cold snap hits after a rain period, then I have to worry about icy roads. I learned this the hard way last week when I crashed and burned.
However, sometimes the weather gods smile on you, and you get a day like today…
I woke up to dry weather, and happily above freezing temps. I won’t call it warm mind you, but 38 degrees means no ice! I saddled up and had a good ride to work. The weatherman on the radio even indicated it might be dry when I rode home as well. Already it was looking better than yesterday!
Then, when I looked outside my office window toward the mountains, this strange yellow orb was appearing
Yep, it was going to be a sunny day! Which as you read above, normally means its going to get cold. However, as long as I get out when the sun is still up, the roads and paths don’t have a chance to get icy. I wasn’t worried about the commute.
For most the day I was ‘head down’ at work. I have a class starting Monday in Spokane and I am attending a web-based class this week. It didn’t give me much of a chance to look outside. Occasionally I would hear someone say how nice it was outside, but I didn’t think much of it.
At noon, though, I did the lunch time walk while making a Starbucks run for Michelle. As soon as I got outside it hit me. WOW!! It IS nice! It was at least 50, no wind, blue sky, sunshine, and then the itch hit me.
“Itch?” you ask… YEP the itch to ride! As I’ve said these days are rare. This weekend they are calling for heavy rain, and next week I am without a bike in Spokane. I did NOT want to miss this day. An after work longer ride wasn’t an option, as the sun sets and temps drop at about 4:15 or so this time of year.
At times like this, the mental check list kicks in. What have I gotten done so far compared to what I NEED to get done today… In this case the results were on my side! There are times being salary instead of hourly is a good thing. I don’t get overtime, but on days like this, I can leave early! And leave I did! When things like this happen I am reminded of one of Michelle’s favorite Facebook pictures
Since Michelle and I work together, I took the opportunity to toss my commuting panniers in her car!
In the winter time, I pack for all kinds of weather, just in case. But hey, today was almost Spring! I didn’t need any of this….. <cue the foreshadowing music>
I headed out in bike shorts, decent (unzipped) top layers and light gloves. At the last-minute I grabbed a beanie I wear under the helmet and some heavier gloves, just in case.
I did my normal ride south on the Interurban Trail into Seattle. And it was just what I thought, gorgeous!
But even though it was only 3 PM, and I had over an hour of daylight, I had forgotten an important point. The sun, being low this time of years, puts us into shadows early on. Shadows are cold! I switched to the warmer gloves, put the hat on under the helmet, zipped the windbreaker to the top, and carried on. (HEY, I was NOT turning around!)
When I got to Fremont and Burke Gilman trail, I was back in the sun for a bit AND even the dinosaur hedges seemed to be smiling
Further along, I had to stop and just take a look at Lake Union. For the first time I stopped here at the statue of Sri Chinmoy.
I haven’t had a chance to Google him yet, but I always give him a nod as I pass. Today, it just seemed like a good day to say “HI!” He has a great view of the Fremont Bridge.
But I would say there seemed to be much more going on behind him today.
After leaving him, it was time to head home! As I traveled along, I stated regretting leaving the packs with Michelle and started thinking that shorts may have been a bit optimistic… In short, it got damn cold!
First the toes got seriously numb! However, since I stubbed the pinky toe this morning hard enough that it looks like this
it was better than icing it! It did help reduce the swelling!
Editors note: YES YES I know, why the HELL am I riding when the toe looks like this and hurts??? Cuz one does NOT waste a day like this. And to quote, Shane Falco in The Replacements, Pain don’t hurt, Chicks dig scars, Glory is forever! So ride I did!
Soon though, the legs, face and even head was getting cold. The BG Trail is in serious shade most of the time, In the summer I love this, today though….’
One last miscalculation on my part. I did 20 hard miles on the rollers last night. In less than 24 hours, I was throwing 30 more on these legs. In May, this would be no big deal. In January, the last climb of 4 miles to the house took a while!
In the end it was 33+ miles, and 2 hrs 41 minutes. Of course this counts time stopped for pictures. It was day NOT to waste, and I am damn glad I didn’t! Tomorrow though, will be a carpool day!