Tag Archives: weather

Storm of the Decade Tomorrow … So Will I Be Riding?

They really have been hyping up this storm for a whole week.  Biggest storm in nearly 10 years in Northern California.

I just got my bike back from the shop, as I took it in to get all the gunk I collected from plowing through a flooded bike trail (2 feet deep of standing water) from last week’s rain storm.  That was a pretty good soaker, but tomorrow’s storm should be even more massive.

Water collected in the frame, to the point where my seatpost (Aluminum) seized up in the frame (Titanium).  Titanium has great anti-corrosive properties, but the combination of Aluminum, with Titanium, and water …. not a good combination.  It took 2 guys, and a bike stand to free up the seat post from the frame.  Replaced the seatpost with a carbon fiber one … hopefully that won’t corrode as much.

So, with that in mind, ride or drive?  If I do ride, I think I’ll avoid San Tomas Aquino MUT … Or do I wimp out and drive?  Supposed to also be hella windy.

Riding Through a MUT in a Rainstorm

It has been well documented how severe the drought has been in California, so when we hear weather reports of significant rain, everyone is welcoming it with open arms (yours truly included).  Being the commuter I am, I didn’t want rain to stop me from doing that.  I outfitted my panniers with weatherproof covering, put a rain jacket on, put rain pants on and I’m ready to go.

I decided to go on San Tomas Aquino Multi-Use (MUT) trail, to avoid car traffic.  However, the MUT is right alongside a creek, and when rain levels get high enough, it can get onto the MUT, and even get flooded.  And that’s what happened on this day.

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Here I was chancing and hoping it wouldn’t be too flooded but looking at thus was ominous.

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Rats!  Well, I guess I need to plow through this.

This was just the beginning.  The further I got along the MUT, the deeper the standing water would get.  I it to the point where I would go onto surface street just to get across the underpasses, but eventually I had to go on theunderpass to cross Hwy 237, so I had to plow through the last one, which has to be close to 2 feet.  The water went almost to my waist.  I plowed through, but there was so much water, I had to shift to my granny gear just to get across.  Now that was tough … Tougher than a hill climb.

On the ride home, I didn’t want to go through this again, so I decided to ride over to Stevens Creek MUT, which didn’t have a creek alongside it (ironic, isn’t it?), so my chances of getting flooded would be nil. However, this MUT has a lot of trees, and it was dark too. The trail was full of leaves, branches, some mud, so I has to be really careful, and really lower my speed. So it’s either floods of going through underpasses or dodging leaves and branches on the ground. I think I’ll choose the latter.

So the question I have … Is this typical for PNW? Do I get some badass points for this? One cycling friend says I’m crazy. Others just are sympathetic for my hubs. I think I’ll take it in for a cleaning and tune up at the shop.

California Weather Wimp

I’m a weather wimp.  It was 90 F last weekend, when I was visiting dad in So Cal.  It was nice, like in paradise.  This weekend, much different story.  It was 42 F when I woke up this morning, and was going to go for a Meetup ride down to Boulder Creek, up Jamison Creek, but I hear it had a dusting of snow there, and the thought of black ice came into my head.  No thanks.

Then I found out SF Bike Expo is this weekend.  Good excuse to skip the ride and go there instead.  Hey, at least it’s still a bike theme.

Take Weather Forecasts with a Grain of Salt

If you are a cyclist, like myself, you normally keep an eye on weather forecasts, so you’ll know how to dress, and what to expect on your ride.  This weekend, we were going to have an epic ride in the East Bay which started at 8 am.  However, as I was getting prepared for that ride, I saw that the ground was wet.  As I stepped outside, it was actually raining.  The ground was wet as can be, so after tweeting a few other of my buddies local to me, none of them really wanted to go climbing Sierra on wet roads.  So we decided to wait till later.  I looked at the weather forecasts, and one of them, weatherunderground, was reporting light rain and drizzle … no duh … I could see that!  However, weather.com and accuweather.com, made no mention … no mention at all about rain, or wet roads … not even mentioning drizzle.

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Looking at weatherunderground, it mentions it will be clearing by 10 am.  Ok, fine, we’ll start our ride up Page Mill, then down to San Gregorio, then finish coming up Tunitas Creek.  Nice plan, right?  Marco and Ruth would be heading out and meet us somewhere in San Gregorio, so that would be perfect.

We went up Altamont (kinda eerie for me, because that’s the same road where I went down, although it was in the opposite direction).  So far, no issues … pretty dry.  Left turn up Page Mill, and on we go.  About half way up, we could see the fog shrouding the hillside, so one of my fears was how foggy it would get to the top.  So far, temperature-wise, I was okay.  There was a mist around us, and I could tell I’m getting a little damp from the dew of the fog, but I was still fairly warm.

Marco and Ruth called, and they were bailing on the ride.  It was raining too much on their side, so we’ll see how the rest of the ride goes for us.

After we got past gate 4, things started to turn on us.  The fog got heavier and heavier, and glasses really started to fog up, to the point where it was really difficult to see out of them.  I kept mine on, as there was still some parts of my glasses where there was a clear vision.  The fog turned to a heavy mist, which then turned to a constant drizzle.  Near the top, I could definitely tell it was getting colder, but at least we were still climbing.  That would at least keep our body temperature up a little bit.  The drizzle now was actually turning into rain, and we were really wet.  Finally reaching the top, and we could not see a thing.  We saw a few riders coming southbound from Skyline, saying that the visibility was almost nil, that you could hardly see anything.  That was enough for us to not continue on our original plan.

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We were originally going to go down to the coast, but with this fog and low visibility, we thought better of it.  First, we had to descend quite a bit, and that’s not good news with low visibility.  Second, we were all getting cold, and cold just does not do well for cycling, especially with a long ride that we had planned.  So the plan was to bail on the original ride, and just head back down.

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Going down, I was going to take my time.  I do not want to suffer the same fate from a year ago, where I went down on Altamont on slick roads that were even dryer than this.  Still, even at the slower than normal descending pace, my toes and fingers were getting really cold.  Water was seeping into my shoes, which just exacerbated the situation with my freezing extremities in my toes.  I took it really easy around the switchbacks, with no aggressive turns on the descent.  In fact, I was going so slow that Chris caught up to me, who is generally slower on the descent.  In fact, as he was passing me, he asked if I was okay.  I was thinking “yeah, not sure why you are asking” … Chris then mentions he didn’t think he would pass anyone at all.  I told him I would be going slow!

By the time we got to the lower section of Page Mill, the rain stopped, and there was even some sunshine.  My toes were still freezing, and the sunshine was just not strong enough to thaw out my toes.  Talk about Bay Area micro-climates!

As I looked towards the east, I could clearly see blue skies, and a few clouds, but definite signs that it was probably a bit warmer there.

On the climb up Page Mill, we all pretty much stuck together.  This is strange, as normally I would be caught alone on the climb … could it be I am getting that much better, or that the cold and damp is just sapping everyone to an even keel?  Possibly the latter.

I later found out from Donald that the roads descending Sierra were also wet.  I guess this is just a matter of high altitude and fog conditions … oh well.

Total stats, based on Ascent … 37.2 miles, 3101 feet climbing.  Hey, at least we got 3000+ feet climbing in on this day.  That’s not too shabby.

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What a Broiling Weekend That Was

This past weekend, I drove down to LA for my monthly visit to see dad.  It’s always great to see dad, and for those wondering, he is doing great.  As with most of us who are getting up in age, warmer weather seems to help our joints quite a bit.  After experiencing all the joint pains he has been feeling, he is giving me warning to make sure I take care of my joints too.  That’s good advise, so I’ve decided to start taking Glucosamine as regularly as I do my normal vitamins.  It’s a good practice, especially with all the cycling I do.

Then, on Saturday, I did a ride with my friends in Marina del Rey, down to Palos Verdes.  While at the top of PV East, temp registered in the mid-80’s.  All I could think about is how hot it is back in the valley, and also how hot it would be in the San Joaquin Valley, where my good friend is visiting her folks.  When I left Marina del Rey at 3 pm, it was 75.  By the time I go back to the valley, it was a whopping 95 F.

Since I couldn’t get approval to work from LA on Monday, I had to head back on Sunday.  I left the valley at 2 pm, only to get into a massive traffic jam, heading up I-5.  There was a car fire near Templeton Highway, just north of Castaic Lake.  The fire also torched about 20 acres of hillside.  Luckily, they put it out pretty quickly, but it still put in at least a 1 hour delay going through that area.

By the time I got through the Grapevine, then passing Bakersfield, my car thermometer was reading in the 100’s.  On my way to Kettleman City, it go to 110 F … dang, that’s hot!  The highest I saw it register was 113 F.  It didn’t look that hot, looking outside, as the sun wasn’t beating down too hard … but as soon as I rolled down the window, I could just feel the heat …

Then, when I got on Pacheco (Hwy 152), and going up into the hills, the temp started dropping to about 85 F.  Wow, what’s with this sub-100 degree heat?

I am impressed with all those farmers, who have to endure heat like this …. also, think about all those service workers, who have to work those telephone poles, caltrans working those road conditions … it must have been brutal.  And I’m only experiencing this from an air conditioned Prius!