A snowy ride

I wanted to test my new Firstgear Kathmandu overpants in bad weather and that’s exactly what happened over the weekend. Cutting to the chase, the pants performed admirably but that’s not the interesting part of the story.

Keep in mind, it’s the middle of March and Spring officially starts tomorrow. March in western Oregon can be mild and meek and pleasant, and it can also be hellish and fickle and tumultuous. So far, it’s definitely been the latter.

It was sprinkling lightly when I left the house but I had honest-to-goodness rain within a few miles. My goal was to ride up the Clackamas River highway to the small community of Three Lynx, turn around and then come back home, hopefully through as much rain as possible. I put Pledge furniture polish (“Lemon, mmm!”) on the outside of my helmet’s face shield and shaving cream on the inside, made sure the zippers were all closed on my pants and jacket, donned my Aerostich tripple-digit overgloves, and hit the road. All of my gear worked great, although my hands eventually got cold (which is nothing new).

The highest elevation my route traversed was 1,210 feet, just east of Estacada as the highway passed above North Fork Reservoir. I saw snow flakes in the air but nothing was sticking on the ground. It rained off and on, heavy at times, all the way to Three Lynx where I turned around and headed back. This pattern of weather continued, with rain falling at least 80% of the time.

When I got back to Eagle Creek the rain turned to big, fat snowflakes and it started to stick on my fairing, arms, legs, and helmet. I used the squeegie on my tripple-digit glove covers to wipe the building snow from my face shield. The snow wasn’t sticking on the road surface but it was sticking on the ground next to it. By the time I got home a few minutes later, I had to wipe the snow from my face shield every 5-8 seconds and visibility was reduced from the volume of snow flakes in the air. Snow had built up on my bike’s fairing and completely obscured the view through it. I had snow over my boots, knees, and covering my arms and shoulders. There was also 1/4″ of snow built up on my helmet (only the face shield was free of snow buildup).

Within 20 minutes, the sun was shining and the 1/2″ of snow on my front yard was melted and gone as if it never happened.

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