Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I'm going out, I may be some time

After reading the weather forecast for last weekend, I was eagerly looking forward to testing out my new Canari jacket. Thus, I was slightly disappointed to find that, at 9:00am on Saturday morning, it wasn't even raining, even though the roads were wet. In fact, there were patches of blue sky everywhere and it looked like a nice day. Damnation!

Nevertheless, I suited up with an undershirt and short sleeved woollen jersey underneath the jacket, along with various other paraphernalia, and bravely sallied forth, puncturing almost immediately. It wasn't a bad day, even though it was wet on the roads and 2 degrees, but when I turned around after 45 km I could see a large gray cloud that was unavoidable. Pretty soon it began to rain, then by the time I came to the foot of the mighty Col de la Cafe Trap Op (3 km at 2.7%), it was sleeting very nicely. Due to the 60 km/h winds, it was sleeting horizontally as well. I had to look up sleet when I got home just to confirm that it was indeed frozen pellets of rain - sort of halfway between rain and hail. And it bloody stings!

My legs started to feel like someone had replaced them with an ice prosthetic, my hands were pretty much history despite wearing a short and a long pair of gloves, but my torso wasn't too bad thanks to the Canari (tm). I noticed that it was both rain and sleet repellent.

Fortunately the sun came out after a bit and I could enjoy a frozen ride into the icy north wind on the way home. At some points I was down to 23.7 km/h and not enjoying being out there any longer than I had to. Of course, the wind brought with it more sleet and with 10 km to go I was doing 23.7 km/h *and* getting stung to death by icy pellets, forcing me to take shelter momentarily next to a tree. The jacket was keeping me toasty warm though.

The sun had come out by the time I got home, but I still had some difficulty getting my keys a) out of my saddle bag b) into the door lock and c) turning them (that was the hardest part).

Sunday was somewhat better, even though it snowed overnight and in the morning. I had to wait until midday to get out and ride through the slush, which was fun in a cold sort of a way. The sun was out for most of the ride, and that makes a huge difference when the temperature is hovering around zero. So it was almost pleasant compared to Saturday (that wouldn't be hard).

This week, the weather is predicted to be "variable cloudiness with risk of snow showers, or cloudy but dry" which I reckon is a bit of a cop out. I love talking about the weather. Favourite site at the moment: www.meteo.be

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