01 January 2011

Not Quite Hail

Ride #27
Saturday, January 1st

7.5 miles.
In Folsom.
In the rain.


A bicycling club I belong to was having a hill-climbing smackdown on this first day of the year. I declined to ride the hill, but volunteered to take photos. So I parked at my usual spot in Folsom and pedaled over to the event on actual streets in bike lanes and everything!

I had both flags flapping, a high viz jacket on, one headlight and two blinking taillights. I overheated going up E Natomas to Sophia, so I stopped and shed a layer. Then when I was coasting (25mph) down Sophia to Alexandria, all I could think of were the gloves I'd just taken off!

It was not too windy, and the rain was mostly showers, except for one cloud burst that if it had been any colder (it was 37 degs F) it would have been hail. They were big fat cold high-velocity drops. Ick! The sun tried to come out about 1/2 way through the event, but then the clouds came back even darker!

I parked my trike at the gathering point, got the scoop from the organizer, and wandered off to take lots of pictures of folks slogging up the hill and then flying back down again. And doing it again. And again. And again!

I carried not only 3 cameras, a complete change of warm dry clothes (including extra rain gear), but an umbrella (to shelter the SLR digital I'd borrowed) and even an entire English-style fruit cake to share. I used my nice Arkel panniers to carry all that. They worked well but I had to adjust my mirrors so I could see something other than bulging bags behind me. The trike handled well, although I took it easy on the long shallow slope down from Sophia to Blue Ravine: kept the speed to 12mph. My brakes finally dried off enough to stop honking and squealing.

It was windier and still raining (maybe even a bit harder) when it was time to head back, so I added high visibility rain pants. They were noisy but kept the cold rain and wind off my legs. I was worried that I might slide around in the seat too much, but it was just fine. I plan on taking the cuffs in and adding zippers to keep them from flapping around.

I need to force myself to slog up hills more often. I got winded, but my legs did not give out. I did get into the absolute granny once, more to give myself a little break then because anything was that steep.

Now, this is not a picture of me, but it will give you an idea of what the day was like:

I have started this year as I mean to continue: cycling.

Happy New Year everyone, and be safe out there.

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