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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wet and Wonderful

I went out and got my renovated bike dirty.
It poured rain Friday night and well into Saturday morning. Our weekly 10 mile Saturday morning hike was going to be wet - AGAIN!!
I was ok with wet, because I would be testing out the new ride and an inclement commute would give her an opportunity to show her true colors.

We had a great time.

I left the house at 6:05 am, with my headlights illuminating a steady drizzle. A pounding on the kitchen skylight had stopped just a few minutes shy of 6:00, so the roads were deep in puddles. A steady head wind began driving another deluge against me about the time I got lost in Pleasant Hill on a "short cut" to the canal trail and never yielded for the balance of 8 miles to the Relieze Valley entrance of Briones Regional park.

Pastor and Matt called around 6:30 - wondering if I was coming. I was, but that reminded me to begin rehearsing my list of excuses for being late - (Headwind, Got lost, Rain, Got up late -(possibly omit this if possible)).

I showed up relatively dry and completely intact. My new ride had served me very well, and the new fender had prevented the "skunk stripe" that would otherwise have graced my nether regions. That, plus the ensemble of rain and cold weather gear assembled over the past few years has come nearly to the point of making these rides enjoyable.

I switched to a rain jacket with a hood, stuffed the other in my backpack, and embarked on a muddy adventure with my fellow crazy persons.

After 35 minutes on the bike, and over 3 hours on muddy trails in the driving rain, the only wet clothing was my socks and shoes, and shorts - completely acceptable under the conditions. My windproof / waterproof gloves held out for over an hour, but finally succumbed somewhere in the vicinity of Briones Peak.

After a short ride to meet up with the girls for the afternoon events, my upper body was completely dry, in spite of some intense perspiring back on the trail.

The only notable shortcoming was my adaptation to the temperature. We hiked at temps hovering between 30 and 40 degrees, which meant depending on our rate of ascent or descent and current elevation I was either stripping off gear or shivering beneath it.

Science has nearly mastered the "keeps you dry - yet breathable" concept for rain gear. Now if it can just find the "keeps you warm, but cool" layer to add to it.

... And the sooner the better - This weekend isn't looking too good either.

At least it will be warm.