It was 40 degrees and spitting rain when I rolled to today’s High Performance Cycling team ride, just at the margin of what I consider tolerable cycling conditions, though perfect for Randonneurs preparing for their upcoming Solstice 200K.
I hadn’t been on the road in a few weeks, and was feeling desperate. Only one other teammate, Tobias, showed with a plan to ride to Issaquah. “55 miles” he said. My mental math had it at more like 70 and an increasing likelihood of snow the further east we went.
I suggested: “Let’s roll around Mercer, head toward Newport, and then make a route decision depending on how miserable we are.”
By the time we got to Mercer Slough, I had decided an adventure to Issaquah was out of consideration. We headed toward Cougar via 164th. During a quick snack break at the top we agreed to add the Newcastle Golf Course climb. I started to feel cold on the climb and that’s when I began to channel my inner Philippe Gilbert, a pro known for being at his best when the weather conditions are the worst. In my case, my inner Philippe was merely getting it done.
At the golf course I mentioned that it was starting to snow. Tobias the optimist replied: “Nope. It’s just rain.” As we descended we could see the snowline well below the antenna tower at the top of Cougar. Tobias pointed upward and admitted we were riding through “thick rain.”
We saw lone riders hunkered down struggling against the weather here and there, then crossed paths with an entire crew from bikesale.com who were mid-way through the Newcastle climb. I gave them an enthusiastic “Hey guys!”
At mile 27 we decided to head for the barn, and passed a lone rider wearing a grimace. “Nice day for a ride,” he grumbled. Misery and all, at least Tobias and I wore smiles. But, I was starting to fantasize about a long hot shower.
I ended up with a mere 38+ miles, less than the 50+ target I had for the day, but any mileage on the road is better than an hour on the trainer.
Now that I’m out of the shower and my legs are warm and pink, my fantasies have turned to skiing powder.