It was a great idea; celebrate Kevin's 56th birthday by riding 56 miles.
We met 24 minutes before sunrise and rolled out. It was 37 degrees and raining lightly. Six brave souls were out to honor Kevin.
The rain increased and it seemed to get colder. We were riding amazingly slow but our spirits we high. We were exploring a few hills and somewhat circling Lake Washington. I drank my Hammer products and did NOT mix the Sustained Energy with any simple sugars and all was good. THAT is a lesson that can have nearly crippling impacts if ignored.
As the miles rolled on the rain increased and those who had extra layers put them on. We were all flirting with hypothermia and found ourselves happiest on the climbs. With less than ten miles to go the rain turned to hail and my nose felt like it was raining X-acto knife blades.
As we neared the end, for the first time in all my years of ending the weekly ride at the Volunteer Park Cafe, we took a short cut. The road was snowy and when Tom's rear wheel spun out, he stopped, dismounted and walked the super steep climb. A final right turn and we arrived at the cafe. We were all hungry and cold and wet.
Hank was so cold he couldn't get his blue fingers to turn off his blinking light. We stood in line to order food and everything looked good. I wanted to reach over the counter and start eating then and there. I managed to hold off until I reached the front of the line and it was socially acceptable to chow down. 3,800 feet of climbing. It was fun in a type 2 fun kind of way.
My old reliable PI rain jacket kept me dry and the rain beaded up on my arms like a freshly waxed car. My PI thermal tights were almost okay, but it was not a sustainable situation. I could mumble about "micro-cilmate" but all I would be saying was even when I wasn't cold, I was wet. When we stopped, even for a minute to fish out a snack; my legs started to get cold. My Castelli shoe covers kept my feet dry until my tights got soaked and then the water ran down into my shoes. My secret weapon, Hotties Toe Warmers made the first three hours pretty tolerable.