Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Power of Opposable Thumbs

Or the lack thereof if you don't have them!

The weather report said 100% chance of rain, but the temps wouldn't be that cold. I headed out to meet Debbie at the park with the team. When I got there, I told the guys not to worry about Debbie and I. 

The route was Johnson Creek clockwise. That meant we would head in the direction I had just come from. Debbie and I were quickly separated from the team, but that was fine. Vaughn even passed us with his broken derailleur (he was just going home).

We rode to Rich Rd, then to 89th. I think the team would have turned on Fir Tree and gone over to Rainier Rd, then to Steadman. I decided Debbie and I would do the Kerri Duke route which meant we would get on the trail from 89th.

The rain was coming down and the wind was blowing. My hands were already feeling the cold. I had mistakenly worn my regular gloves instead of my lobster gloves. In 45 degree weather, the regular gloves should have been fine. However, when you add wind and rain, they, apparently, are not so good. Debbie didn't have shoe covers on, so her feet were frozen (combined, we would have had one completely comfortable person--or, one completely miserable person--depending on how you look at it...).

Just before reaching the turn for Johnson Creek, I asked Debbie if she would prefer to stay on the trail instead. It was really raining, and the headwind was merciless. At least the trail would be shorter. She agreed, so we rode the trail (and Old Military Rd) into Tenino. By the time we were getting close to Tenino, my hands were frozen claws. Debbie's feet were frozen bricks. Debbie broached the possibility of having Chad come pick us up in Tenino. I have never once in my cycling life given up on a ride and called to be picked up. Never! However, I was ready to give up. We pulled over under cover at Subway so Debbie could call Chad. At the same time, though, we noticed it was suddenly remarkably brighter. When Chad didn't answer, we decided the weather was better enough to keep going. Plus, I figured we had to get to a tailwind at some point! 

We didn't want to go up 99, so we rode over to what becomes 143rd to Tilley. With the wind at our backs for the first part, it was not bad. The rain had even stopped (just briefly, anyway)! My hands thawed a little bit.

On Tilley we continued with the tailwind, but the rain returned. Soon, my hands were, again, useless claws. In order to shift, I had to use forearm strength. My fingers could nolonger push the shift levers on their own. 

When we got to McCorkle St., we opted to turn there so Debbie could just go home (she would retrieve her car at the park later). I left Debbie at her street and continued the rest of the way on my own.

When I got home, I was pretty well soaked. Even with the "waterproof" shoe covers, my feet were squishy with water. With my frozen, claw-like hands I was unable to unbuckle my helmet. My thumbs were there, but non-functional. I tried repeatedly, but finally gave up and had my husband unbuckle it for me. Getting the shoe cover Velcro undone was also a challenge. I managed to grab the edge between my fingers and heel of my hand and peel them off. Pulling the tights off? Also a challenge. I don't think I would do well on a polar expedition!

Of course, this could have been avoided if I had just worn my lobster gloves. Lesson learned! I will never again underestimate the power of opposable thumbs!

My total ride was still 47 miles. Not bad for so much rain and gale-force winds! 

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