Since it’s the week before the SFR 200K brevet this Saturday, a front came down from Alaska, bringing rain and colder temperatures to the San Francsico Bay Area. Mt. Diablo got a dusting and I’m pretty sure when the clouds recede, Mt. Tam will be all snowy-topped as well. Last year, the weather gave us a kinda-sorta-misty-drizzly-rainish-wet all week before. I set up fenders, removed them, and then remounted them before the ride. This year things are much more focused and robust. NWS estimates put chance of rain at 100% on Saturday.
And it’s (ok, you folks who get real winter weather and have to ride through the dark months with icicles and stuff hanging off you, please hold your laughter and derision until the end of the show…) cold.
Cold is OK. Wet is OK. Cold and Wet is kinda energy sapping.
Probably ought to revise my caloric estimates upwards a bit.
Just making a bunch of mental lists really. Some of the things seemed dreadfully important at the time, but in the light of the following morning strike me as inane little panics. But, a lot of the threads were helpful, if not in the immediate sense then more so in preparing myself for what could be a long day out on the roads this weekend. The bike seemed much happier after a good washing and things came together slowly but surely.
When I stopped whimpering about the weather, I realized that even on wet and cold commutes, my good rain jacket has kept me warm with just a single layer of wool beneath it. We’re not climbing above 1500′ anywhere on the route, so a replay of the Andy-Hampsten-Gavia-Epic. It may not be important to be comfortable the whole day, but it is helpful to be “manageable”. My jacket is a Pearl Izumi with eVent fabric, and I was lucky enough to get a pair of Rainlegs for Christmas. With fenders below, and those up top, that should mitigate the worst of the dampness.
I’ve been playing around a bit with gloves, and while I don’t think I’ve found the definitive answer, there are some good options. One thing that has worked suprisingly well is just wearing a pair of wool gloves - not even cycling specific ones. Every winter cycling glove seems to either fail too quickly or gets extremely clammy and wet.
The wool seems to handle cooler temps pretty well, though I haven’t tried them in serious rain. My plan is to tuck a few of those chemical warming packets into the bag, if things get crackly cold.
My hands were reasonably problematic on last year’s 200K, (something I didn’t really remember until I reread my writeup) so this year I’m going to make sure I elevate them and take a little more care.
My working theory is that the little things are dangerous - it’s funny how a reasonably insignificant issue can get magnified over the course of a long ride. Maybe attention and intention will help.
Haven’t quite ironed out the lights. Unless things go very badly, illumination needs are pretty minimal for a ride of this length. So, I’ve decided against bringing the Niterider that I rigged up last year. Instead, I’ll bring one or two “be seen” lights and keep my headlamp. The headlamp alone was plenty for the after dark part of the Lighthouse ride last month.
Other than a trip to the hardware store on my lunch break for some short bolts to attach the fender flaps, things are pretty well in order. Gotta trim the fender stays, wash the wool, then lay everything out.
I guess one other thing that keeps coming to mind is that I really need to keep thinking about the small sections of this ride, rather than consider the whole thing. As mentioned earlier, mileage is a bit less going into this one, but now I really know what a 200K day is like, so there is a tendancy for my brain to connect those two facts and create a pretty negative potential outcome. So, I’m going on maybe five rides Saturday - Bridge to Inverness, Inverness to the Lighthouse, Lighthouse to Inverness, Inverness to Marshall (maybe a Bovine Bakery stop, even!), Marshall to Nicasio, Nicasio to the Bridge. All doable chunks, eh?
And I’ve got a bike I trust, a bag big enough to stash some dry socks and good friends on the route. Should be a good day out.