Weather made for a tough ride today. We knew that a “quick front” was coming through, but it was still dry as breakfast started. Word passed quickly, “its raining”. People with tents pitched quickly dashed out to pack the tent before things got wet. I had chosen to sleep inside, so just packed things up.
I took off about 7:45am. The first nine miles was a slow climb of 2000+ feet. The clouds closed in with wind driven rain. I couldn’t see very far as we were mostly in the clouds – no views but peaceful amidst the sound and fury of the storm. At 9 miles, reached the summit and then slight descent to Laguna Store. Several others had caught up to me by then. Some bought extra mittens. Fortunately I had some wool mittens and balclava to add.
The next twenty miles the riding became tougher and colder. Initially we stayed in the trees, but as we got lower we came into more open areas. The wind picked up. I could feel the gusts and had to work hard to keep straight. Other cyclists passed. One woman from New York passed and then struggled with being blown off the road. After the second time, she was blown off, she started walking. A SUV noticed her walking, and stopped to offer a ride. From later conversations with other riders, this was a common occurance.
I kept going slowly against the wind. Another rider came behind and followed for a bit. We cycled up to small ride and were stopped by a strong gust. Moments later it started to sleet. Strong pellets of wind driven sleet/hail stung our faces. We hopped off and walked with faces avoiding the hail. A short walk and then back on the bikes again, now watching for slick roads.
The last six miles to Julian were slow going. Hail, wind, sleet and cold added to the excitement. While it was only mile 31, I was happy to see the cutesy little town. At end of the block was Miners Cafe with several bikes outside. I added mine to the mix and entered.
It was nice to get out of the wind and cold. As I ate lunch, I started shivering. My legs were wet and cold and I wasn’t exercising as much. This didn’t look good, so though about SAGging along with other riders who were gathered. It would be a bit for a ride, so walked through town. Despite cold, I was feeling better. So decided to try riding.
Next few miles went around Julian and then descended into Santa Ysabel. As I descended, it warmed. Yeah! I was feeling better as reached Santa Ysabel at mile 40. From here a fairly straightforward ride north to Warner Springs. A challenging weather ride.
Riders traded stories about the day. Common themes of being blown off by wind gusts, stung by ice pellets and extreme cold. Quite a few SAGed, though some others had ridden as well. It was nice to get here and hopefully the storm will blow through from here.