Les Darters d'Escargot:
Dart on Saturday. My friends at NOAA say we picked the wrong day to ride. But it's not all bad:
THE TEAM: First, I'll be with friends. On all the group rides I have ever done I have been EXCEEDINGLY fortunate to have nothing but excellent teammates. Always the good mix of skills: a decent navigator, someone who can watch the clock, a good shade tree mechanic or two, and of course ALWAYS at least one person who can see the humor in any sutuation. I have heard stories of others who had less amicable company.
This team is a good mix of experience and those thirsting for experience. I know most of the members and they are all people I would be happy to have at my funeral so really, what better recommendaton is there?
THE ROUTE: This will be a scenic ride on mostly decent country roads (black top and some chip seal), and less travelled highways. I am a little worried about the stretch between Raymond and up near Artic. It's up and down and windy. Drivers here have a tendency to go just a leeettle too fast for the road and so they compensate by using the shoulders.
NAVIGATION: This will be a snap. Really. Leave the GPS and the 57-turn-per-page cue sheet home. This is in my back yard. That leaves:
THE WEATHER: (If you scroll back up to the top of this post and click on the title ... well try it and see what happens.) As you can see the forecast is for showers (60%). In these parts, this means we will get wet. But the detail says "before 11:00am" and it also calls for a high of 67 degrees. While there are no guarantees when it comes to weather, this could mean that we'll start out cold and wet but be drying out by Raymond, then fairer conditions on the return. The wind is as much a wild card as the rain. The forecast says WNW 11MPH. 11 is not such a big number, but that's monster if you are looking at 200K of head wind. How it could play out is: We could have little or no wind on the way out, unless it blows early, in which case we could be riding into a head wind ... with a driving rain (ouch). Even so, I think there is a better than even chance that we'll have favorable winds all the way from Montesano back to Centralia. A gentle push on the back from mother nature on the last half of a ride is always appreciated. By the way, one of the things I really like about that NOAA weather site is that you can zoom, click, and drag on that little map and get the localized forcast for any place you care to. Your tax dollars at work.
I'm looking forward to this, it's social but it's also cycling, a great combination.