It was remarkably frigid this morning for the Orinda-Palomares ride. We woke up to 32 degrees F at our house, and we’re up on a hill so it’s usually about five to seven degrees colder at the bottom during the winter. Riding to Orinda BART the leftover moisture on the road was gleaming and rimmed with frost—ah, the joys of black ice! It was just Roger, Jeff, and me. Others who had RSVPed all backed out, probably out of wisdom—hypothermia is a harsh mistress. Both Roger and I had decided to put on a fourth layer before heading out the door. For the record I had on a new Showers Pass wool/poly long sleeve base layer, a thin windproof jacket, then a thick Assos jacket, and on top of that was a thick Descente vest. Oh, and I also had on a Gore-Tex helmet cover with a skull cap to cover my ears, a neck gaiter, and thick shoe covers over my wool winter socks. I was cold almost the entire time regardless; my finger tips never did fully warm up despite having thermal gloves.
I looked over the temperature readings on the Garmin and most of the day it was 34-38 degrees and only warmed up (!) to the mid-forties along Danville Blvd. In the end I decided to shorten the ride because the weather forecasts were mixed as to when the rain would start. Since the clouds were dark and ominous from the get-go, I wasn’t up for playing in frigid conditions and rain. I’ve been caught in the rain in the mid-thirties before (I was on top of Independence Pass outside of Aspen) and it was a heinous memory burned forever into the fear center of my brain. By Castro Valley it was looking about the same, so we cut out Palomares and headed directly to Dublin instead. The ride was still a respectable 56 miles. In the end it didn’t rain this afternoon but I ain’t a gambling man! The moving average I got for our ride was 14.3 mph, which is right on target for a C-paced ride (= 12 to 15 miles per hour moving average).
Speaking of gambling, it looks like New Years Day is going to be sunny and clear, which bodes well for everybody’s favorite NYD ride: going up Mt. Diablo. When it has rained, only the truly hardcore (and you know who you are) went out and rode it anyway to start the year right. This year we are apparently being spared that difficult choice. But it’s going to be righteously cold: predictions are for below freezing temps in Walnut Creek on New Years. For you City folk heading over who aren’t used to freezing weather, here are some tips for the ride: wear more layers than you think you need and be able to shed them or put them back on easily; don’t even think of doing the ride without good gloves and shoe covers; and no one’s going to serve you hot coffee at the top unless you bring it yourself. If you suffer from fingers that chill easily—as I do—bring some disposable hand warmers to put in your gloves. On a positive note the forecast for Walnut Creek is for a high of mid-fifties on New Years. So by the time we’re back at the bottom it should be more than tolerable. See you on Diablo!