Technically, the stars were still not aligned- the forecast had turned cold and called for a 40% chance of rain. But after talking it over, we decided to brave it and see what it was like in real life.
I am very glad we did, because we saw this.
Sure looks like terrible weather, eh?
We decided to ride the east side, from the ranger station to the top.
We suited up, and I was glad for every bit of fleece and wind breaking stitch. I was actually borderline too warm near Sisters, but I knew I'd want all the clothes once we made altitude.
For the curious about bike fashion, I wore socks, my solid bike insoles (I have mesh ones for hot weather), my Trek women's bike shorts which are super-comfy, fleece tights, a base layer, a jersey, my fleecy arm warmers that I've had for so long that the logos have worn off, and an ear warmer instead of a headband. Bringing beanies wouldn't have been a bad idea. I had one set of full gloves. M was definitely too cold in his half gloves, and even I could have used more wind breaking in my gloves. And I stuffed my wind breaker into a seat pouch. That definitely saved my bacon on the way down.
A little man-bragging here. It was M's first mountain climb on a road bike. He's only been seriously cycling since we got together and I've always been the more hard core. Riding up a mountain is pretty hard core. He ROCKED it. Nice steady climbing.
Then we got to the top.
Near the top is the time that the ride really turned cloudy. Soon after this picture I pulled out my windbreaker. Even so, we were stopped long enough to cool down and get chilly. We went to the top of the observatory.
How cold was it?
M had to chip ice out of his cleats.
The ride down was fast with me holding it in all the way- the road at the top is windy and narrow and I didn't trust myself to open it up for top speed. It was windy enough that my windbreaker was acting a little like a sail!
We got to the bottom.
Great ride, but I was sure cold! We got back to the ranger station, and high-tailed it to the nearest coffee shop for the hottest liquids they could give us!
All in all, awesome awesome ride, and definitely a ride that every cyclist in Oregon MUST do. I am so glad we did it!
Overall, the greatest victory of the day was mental. Don't you hate that feeling when you talk yourself out of doing something? You convince yourself that it isn't worth trying or that the timing isn't right and next thing you know, a big chunk of life or adventure has sailed by. We took the risk to at least attempt the adventure and it turned out awesome. (Of course, we would have bailed if it had been bad weather at the start point or if it has been snowing or raining in the passes on the way there. This is your safety disclaimer, Mom!) We just went for it, and the chance paid off in spades!
And in other news, I was really, REALLY happy to have warm, dry socks waiting for me in the car.
That was a cold and awesome bike ride!