So This is What Winter Is Like

We haven’t had a whole lot of rain, and even when we did, it was just wet, and not really too cold. Recently, we had some cold fronts from Alaska, bringing in cold temps. It did rain, and it brought the snow level, to the point where our local mountains had a dusting of snow at the mountain peaks.

The most iconic ones are Mt. Hamilton and Mt. Diablo. Mt. Hamilton is more local to me, and I heard there was a bit of snow in the mountains, so I had to check it out. It also gave me an opportunity to get in a metric century+, and in hopes to get my endurance up.

It was cold by California standards. Near the top, it was 41 F … now that may seem balmy for everyone else, but it’s a winter feel for California (especially if you aren’t living in the Sierras). I remember the jacket I used for DMD kept me pretty comfortable, so I wore that. I had wool socks, but I have no idea why I didn’t even put on my shoe covers. It would have kept my feet nice and toasty, but fortunately, the combination of wool socks, and toe warmers kept me warm enough. I had my skull cap, which I can lower to cover my ears, and I also had a balaclava, to protect my face against the wind. With this said, I was ready to climb the mountain.

I curiously saw a sign (it looked like a permanent sign) that indicated road closed at Grant Park (which is half way up the climb). I ignored that sign, and continued on up, and at Grant Park, I did see a road closed sign .. Damn. However, the CHP there just told me he won’t stop me from going up, but he warned there was reports of ice near the top, and a few people went down. I guess that’s expected, especially if they are ice conditions up there. I’ll keep my speed down (going uphill), and stay upright (keep the rubber side down). However, since they were stopping cars, who were not locals, this meant we have the road all to ourselves (well, with the exception of a few locals, and Caltrans going up and down with the snow plow). It’s like riding Glendora Mountain Road, Bay Area style!

About 3000 foot level, I saw my first evidence of snow on the road. Eventually, I saw it cover both sides of the road, and it was awesome.

 

It felt like I was inside a refrigerator, but it was cool, not cold. This deserved a stop for some pictures. I was definitely in a winter playground, and it was awesome. It was all natural, not man-made. I just had to take it all in.

The colder weather does have an impact on my climbing. I didn’t have as much energy as I would have, if it was a 70 degree day … my motivation today was just to make it up to the top, no matter how slow, or how much energy I expended doing it. I did see a handful of riders (maybe 5-10) descending the mountain, but I only saw maybe 3 other riders going up. I guess it’s just too cold for the average rider … I’m channeling Rule # 9 … if the weather is inclement, and you are out riding, you are badass! So here I am, badass’ing it up Hamilton.

I finally make it up to the top, and I see more of that white stuff. It is fabulous!

 

There is one California mistake I made … I took off my gloves, and I put them on the ground … the wet ground. After I picked it up, I realized what I had done … wet gloves, descending down … oooh … that’s going to be a cold descent. I went down slowly, just to keep the speed down, and not suffer frost bite on my fingers. I did stop one time, just to warm myself up. After that, I was fine, but it was a cool descent. Luckily, we did have to small climbs on the way down … it was just enough to warm myself up.

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