We did ride but we weren’t able to do a January century but it wasn’t for the lack of trying.
We had 4 riders (including, Bill Flecher (on a fixed gear), Mike Hritz, Tom Driscoll, and myself)
At the start, the conditions were not bad at all. As we got further along the route into the open areas we could feel the effects of the winds. The winds were predicted to be around 16 mph with gusts at 43 mph. At about 20 miles into the ride I lost power in my legs and knew it was going to be a tough day but was looking forward to my first ever January century.
By the time we reached West Salem, Tom reminded me that we had serious wind for about 5 hours. It felt like we had been climbing for those 5 hours. Because of the lack of pep in my legs we averaged 12 mph for those 60 miles. We were really looking forwards to changing directions for the sweet ride home. Tom reminded me that we need to eat quickly and move on before the snow storm reaches us. A few minutes after that we got a call from Dan and Tina Maddox that went like this.
Dan: “Eric! Where are you guys?
Eric: West Salem
Dan: How many riders do you have?
Dan: It’s snowing like h*ll here in Oberlin!
Dan: We have a van and can pick you up. Call us if you need us.
Eric: Uhhh…, ok. (Not having a clue what was headed our way)
We looked at the sky and while it was cloudy couldn’t imagine it “Snowing like h*ll”. As we were packing up we saw some snowflakes. We took off. All day long the wind had been coming from the WSW but now the snow was coming from the N or NW. SO now we didn’t have that tail wind that we worked all day for. After a while I suggested that we start heading due east to rest my legs and that’s when it came. It was like a whiteout.
We were in a bind. We had to use busy roads because the back roads may not have been salted. I got really nervous because I couldn’t see with glasses on and couldn’t see with them off because of the snow going into the eyes. I must have asked Tom what we should do about 4-5 times. He suggested that we not get too far from civilization because we wouldn’t want to be caught having to walk with no place to get warm. Then the snow started covering the road! We decided to stop at a gas station to find out where we were. We found that the Lodi town square was only 1 mile away so we called Dan. A few minutes after we sat down the skies started to clear and the sun started to come out. We still couldn’t continue because we had about 30 miles to go and didn’t know about the road conditions and the other bans of snow showers.
What an experience! Dan and Tina saved us big time.
Temperature: ~32-37 deg.
Max. Miles: 70
Close Calls: 0
Mechanical Failures: 0
Wind speed: 16-43 mph