Sunday, June 20, 2010

Team HPC Weekend Report C’mon Al, are you sure?

I try and do the right Seattleite thing and support the concept of global warming, but I am about ready to suspend belief. All this talk about the planet warming and disrupting normal weather patterns-fact or fiction? This is the first day I really even thought about the lousy weather we have been having. I’ve just been doing my thing; riding my bike, avoiding the rain, and wearing a little more clothing than normal. All of a sudden, Seattle does indeed seem to be the coldest place in the country for the last month, as many have reported. Seattle must be the coldest place in the world, at least north of the equator.

Today would have been a better day for a “how to brush the grit out of your teeth while riding" clinic, rather than the pacelines and efficient group riding team clinic we did before the ride.

Who dresses for a full saturation deluge on a 51 degree day in late June? Certainly not our group of seven, especially after viewing multiple forecasts of 65 degrees with a 10-20% chance of isolated showers, and certainly not the hordes of people riding in the Livestrong event. What a horrible day to ride 100 miles with a Montreaux climb coming at mile 80! By 51 degrees, I don’t mean at the start, I mean at the finish of our 40 mile ride. It really was a bone chilling ride, compounded by the fact that no one had more than a light jacket to hide under. Thank God for the jet tub!

The Livestrong event appeared to be extremely well organized, with hordes of volunteers directing people, and police manning many of the intersections. Most of the people we saw appeared to be relatively new cyclists, and most were not geared up at all for the weather. We didn’t hear any of them complaining, and I bet almost all of them went the distance, whatever distance they signed up for.

Normally we expect a bit of a traffic jam coming home from Seward through Bicycle Sunday, when the road is closed to cars and open to what at times seems like a million cyclists and pedestrians. The weather was so crappy that we pretty much had the road to ourselves, and four of us put in a nice 23+mph paceline up Lake Washington Blvd. At this point, it was more to get warm than anything else.

It’s still raining as I type this. We are sitting on 54 degrees, the likely high for the day. Only four people showed up for our Meet the Team Ride yesterday, and they rode in a drizzle. Only seven came out today to ride in the cold rain. My hat is off to the many riders who were out supporting the Livestrong cause.

11 comments:

Matt said...

Yeah. Jeesh. I rode the earth dreams ride yesterday, 100 miles with no rain. We had temps in the 60s. I geared for the same today with a rain vest in my back pocket to insure against the 10-20% chance of rain.

Oh what a difference a day makes.

I unceremoniously took a sag wagon ride back to town at mile 68 after I was shaking so badly that I couldn't hold a line on west lake sam and got a flat.

Great support. My driver was an hpc guy

Tom Meloy said...

Did you catch the driver's name? David Longdon?

Garrett said...

As you noted the ride was well supported but the conditions were "brutal"-as described by almost everyone who came in after me. Matt probably made a good choice to take the "Sag wag" back to town. If you couldn't hold a line on westlake than you would have had more trouble riding through downtown traffic at mile 101-103...which is another issue completely (the finishing route was dangerous and completely unprotected-especially for unexperienced urban riders).

I rode the 100 at a blistering pace with one other rider from about mile 60 to the finish, we finished in 5hrs 6 minutes, 5 minutes behind the solo leader (one of Lance's buddies). The pace would have been slower if it were a few degrees warmer but we pushed it harder to get back as quickly as possible to try and stay warm, even skipping all but one "powerstop" (there were 8 on the course) to prevent us from cooling to the point where we could not get back on the bikes.

I nor most of my fellow riders were prepared for the inclement weather due to the forecast we were all given from our local forecasters yesterday morning. Heck the streets were dry all the way from Issquah to Seattle on my drive into town at 6am. This of course led me to believe that only wearing my mild weather gear and not brining any rain gear would be sufficient, boy was I misled. It was comfortable and dry until we crossed onto May Valley Road around 8:30 and the deluge began and never stopped, not even for a moment.

Myself and the other rider both ended up with mild cases of hypothermia and required medical treatment once we got to the finish. The medical staff were completely unprepared for the number of riders who had come back in a hypothermic state. Since I was one of the first to return I was given quick attention and was able to get what I needed to get my core temperature back to normal (which took almost 2 hours), but the riders coming in after me were in much worse condition and many had no support helping them and had no dry clothing to change into (which I did). The medical staff only had hand towels, space blankets and small cups of chicken broth (being warmed over a single-burner camp stove) to offer the riders. There was no place for them to undress out of their wet clothes and no other equipment on hand. It was a bit of a disaster to say the least. I am not sure if there were worse cases that occured on the course and required transport to the hospital, but many riders who made it back to the Seattle center told me that many of the riders who were stopping at the final power stops were in pretty bad shape and many could not go on.

I hope the Livestrong organizers will take a lesson from this experience and be prepared for any kind of weather in the future. As a rider I know that I will be better prepared to protect myself against exposure in the future, simply having my insulated tights on and a rain jacket would have made a significant difference for me.

Sun should be back tommorrow.
Happy riding
Garrett

Eagle Jackson said...

The weather was ok -- for an early spring day -- until May Valley, then it turned brutal. That's really the best word for it. I was cold enough by the end of May Valley to decide on the 70 mile instead of the 100. Issaquah-Hobart was even worse than May Valley. At least by Montreux the deluge waned but the road was dangerously slippery up the climb. And the uncontrolled ride in downtown to the finish was treacherous. I was able to be just warm enough above shivering. Rather than hang out at the finish, I got in my car and got home to a hot shower as fast as I could.

Scott said...

I flew from Detroit for the event, and despite the weather, really enjoyed the course. Such a beautiful area. Can anyone share the details on Cougar Mountain? How long and at what grade?

I did see many people being flagged off the ride at rest stop 6 due to signs of hypothermia. They were put in ambulances, then take by SAG to start/finish. One guy I remember just looked blue.

Eagle Jackson said...

Scott, yes, it's a beautiful course and imagine how nice it would be in good weather (like today!). The Cougar Mountain climb is often referred to locally as "Montreux" and detailed on http://www.bicycleclimbs.com/ClimbDetail.Aspx?ClimbID=7

Scott said...

Thanks for the information. Knew it was a beast. My ride partners Garmin was not giving us correct data at that moment. Are there any pics of this section posted anywhere that you know of?

Eagle Jackson said...

Scott, I don't know of any pics of the climb per se, but check out Google maps with satellite view zoomed in or street view for Village Park Drive Southeast, Issaquah, WA.

林奕廷 said...

支持你就對了!

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