One of the side effects of riding my bike is that I’m out in the weather. There are plenty of folks who work real jobs outside in all conditions who also get a taste of what Mother Nature is brewing. However, most people go out of their way to stay out of the weather. I, on the other hand, care deeply about the weather.
What’s it doing now? What might it be doing later when I could possible be out on my bike. How hot, how cold? Some might call this obsessive except for the fact that I need to know what to wear in order to either 1) prevent myself from being hypothermic and/or getting frostbite, or 2) not totally overheat and collapse from heat stroke by the side of the road. Compounding my problem is the fact that my metabolism is such that I am a furnace (not that you would glean that from my portly demeanor).
It could be 40 degrees outside and I might be chilled to start but by that second hill sweat is dripping down my butt crack. Not a pretty thought, is it? Throw in some variables like rain or wind and how to protect extremities and the thought of preparing for the weather might paralyze a person of less fortitude. Just getting out the door when the weather is less than balmy can make you think twice.
This morning at the butt crack of dawn it was cold and clear. Shoe covers, leg warmers, a couple layers plus a shell, wool socks, warm gloves, and a hat. At this point I’ll admit that I am uncool. I see lots of people riding to work in cool clothes. I wear lycra. If I’m going to be on my bike for an hour, I want to have some padding for my booty and wear stuff that at least promises to wick. And don’t forget about that sweating thing we talked about earlier. I need a shower at work so I’m going to be changing clothes anyway.
I figure it must be about freezing since there’s frost on the car. The steep little hill 50 yards from my driveway confirms how cold it is when it takes my breath away as I speed down. The first leg is mostly downhill and I get colder and colder but at least I make all the trafic lights in downtown Vancouver. The Interstate Bridge is the first hill but hardly serves to warm. It always feels like cold air settles in Delta Park and it’s fricking dark down there. My hands are really feeling cold but far from dangetrously so. Past PIR, the second hill starts on Denver. At least the sweepers have been by to remove most of the debris dunes littering the bike lane and shoulder. Oh my god, the slough smells pretty ripe this morning.
Whoot! I make the lights at Lombard *and* Rosa Parks. By the time Killingsworth rolls around, my hands are merely chilled and the rest of me feels toasty. Well, except for my face. Which is very cold. The descent down Interstate is over before I can get colder and the little bump up the Broadway bridge keeps the furnace burning. By this time I hardly even notice the weather. I think it’s because I’m fully warmed and pretty close to done.
Once past the Broadway/Burnside intersection, I make all the lights up to Jefferson and then down to Goose Hollow MAX station. By this time, I am warm all the way through and a little sweaty besides. I have this route dialed well enough that I only wait a couple minutes before the 6:58am train comes to wisk me away to Hillsboro.
Now, the next question is, what’s it going to be like when I have to go home?