Lesson #1: If it is 38 and raining at sea level, it is probably snowing in the mountains. If it is snowing in the mountains, there is probably a lot of mud and snow and slush. And if it quits snowing and warms up a few degrees, all of that snow is going to start melting and dripping down onto you. This snowmelt will be cold. And very very wet.
Lesson #2: Wear booties and waterproof gloves. Your feet and hands are going to be the first things to suffer if it gets cold and wet. And if you have a beanie and chemical hand warmers in the car, by all means, bring them. You can make room for this extra gear by leaving behind the two heavy slime, thorn-resistant tubes you are carrying. If it is snowing, you can bet there probably aren’t any cactus.
Lesson #3: In non-desert climates, feel free to sleep in. There is no reason to leave the house early, particularly if it has been snowing the night before. In fact, sleep in, read the paper, and mow the lawn. (Poor Seattlites, they must have to mow the lawn year-round, huh?)
Lesson #4: If you are going to be doing alot of climbing, stop eating so much. This one doesn’t really have anything to do with the snow. But if you are going to do long, sustained climbs, it is time to lose those 5 extra pounds.
As you’ve probably guess by now, I did a mtn bike ride this morning in the snow. The day after I did a road bike ride in the rain. Saturday, I rode the entirety of the Burke-Gilman trail and added in a little bit of road just for good measure. The tally was about 40 miles in just over 2 hours. Shocker! That might be the fastest I’ve ever gone solo. Might have something to do with the fact that the whole thing was flat, flat, flat and there were only a couple of spots where I had to stop for traffic. The ride followed Lake Washington for a long while and there were plenty of trees and vegitation. Not sure this will become a regular road ride for me, but it did seem like it would be a good launching pad for other road rides. By the time I got back to the car, I was wet and my feet were cold. My poor bike was all muddy. Living in Phoenix, it has never seen a drop of mud in it’s life!
The important lesson from yesterday was that wool socks are necessary. I went to REI last night and bought a couple pair. And thank goodness, because they were definately needed today. After yesterday’s flat ride, I was in the mood for some climbing today. I thought riding the gravel roads at Tiger Mountain would be a good plan. I quickly realized my mistake as I passed through Issaquah and saw the quickly approaching snow-capped peaks. Then the snow wasn’t just on the peaks. It was on the highway. The Tiger Mountain parking lot was a mess of snow, rain puddles, and slush. I decided to give riding a shot anyway. It was pretty miserable. The road was slushy and the trees were dripping rainmelt down onto me. I never got really cold, but it was a pretty thin line keeping me from it. It was, however, beautiful and an adventure. The vegitation in this area is so dense! I’ve never lived anywhere like this–trees so thick that you can’t see more than a few feet ahead. Lots and lots of streams passed under the road and there was one bridge crossing over a larger stream with a small waterfall. I am sure this is heaven–in August. By the time I got to the lookout, I was in pretty deep snow and in a huge fog bank so I couldnt see anything. It was time to get back to the car. Suprisingly (or not so suprisingly if you have more forsight than I), the road was significantly better on the way back and when I got to the parking lot, it looked like it might be a nice afternoon. I decided to ride the other road heading right out of the parking lot, but turned around after a couple of miles when I realized my feet were just too cold to continue on. All in all, I rode for about 2.5 hours and maybe about 19 miles. And quite a few feet of elevation change.
It was a pretty mellow weekend for me time wise on the bike, and I almost feel a little guilty (especially since I know I won’t be riding much the next couple weekends). But I also have to realize that it takes a little while to learn a new area. It is better to allow yourself to have some adventures and see what happens. Live and learn….