On Sunday, at the corner of serendipity and wimpiness, I found a lovely ride. Strange spring weather plagued the Northwest this year. In March, SIR postponed its 300km ACP brevet due to ice and snow. (I missed the makeup on a beautiful day the following weekend). In addition to the postponed brevet, we also scheduled a new RUSA 300km brevet for May 2nd. I planned to ride the course this past weekend this past weekend in preparation for using a new route.
With a conflict on Saturday (an all-day retreat for the board of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington), I invited folks to join me on Sunday. The choice of Sunday was serendipitous - Saturday brought hail, sleet, and snow at sea level along the Hood Canal. A Saturday ride would have been somewhere between uncomfortable and downright dangerous. In Portland, Susan France postponed the Oregon 300km due to wintry conditions.
Faced with iffy weather for Sunday and in contravention of our self-cultivated hardy randonneur reputation, we prepared for an alternate ride - the 215km Hood Canal South permanent. Like the 300km, the permanent started from Bremerton. With permanent owner Geoff Swarts along for the ride, we opted for the wimpier choice at the Seattle ferry terminal. Peter Beeson and Geoff had prepared cards for the permanent and Geoff took our registration forms on the ferry. Bob Lagasca and David Harper were there too and RUSA and SIR treasurer Eric Vigoren joined us in Bremerton.
While it snowed and hailed back home, we had terrific weather for most of our ride. I rode the first third of the ride (to Hoodsport) with Geoff, behind a lead pair of Peter and Eric and a middle pair of Bob and David. North of Hoodsport, we found David fixing a flat and stopped to offer commentary. After that we rode in two groups of three, with Bob joining Peter and Eric and David riding with Geoff and me.
On a day of strange weather microcells, Geoff, David, and I enjoyed a charmed ride for 185km. A few raindrops and (I believe) a few snowflakes fell as we rode around the canal, but we mostly enjoyed nice, if cold, weather and an unexpectedly large amount of sunshine. The winds kept shifting and managed to be at our backs most of the day, changing directions just before we did. Just a glorious ride!
Only over the last 30km or so from Belfair did the weather turn on us, with colder temperatures and a pelting hail accompanying us much of the way to the finish. I found the hail more amusing than unpleasant, enjoying the crust of hail that decorated the exposed wool sleeves of my jersey and marveling at the odd texture of the hailstones that I caught in my mouth. On the ferry back, we relished the ride we had sneaked from winter's clutch and told our usual collection of old rando tall tales.