Rain, Rain Go Away
By Nicole Montgomery
A beautiful and sunny start to what we thought would be a beautiful and sunny day...boy were we wrong!
It seems as though in my recent days I solely plan my epic adventures on days the weather is absolutely crap! The day before and after my journeys are a nice 23 degrees, sun shining. However, the day of my rides are usually subject to horrific rain, wind, and cold, which is exactly what I experienced on my semi-recent ride of the St. James Cycle Trail, all 60 kilometers of it. I made the decision to do the entire trail in a single day since it is not overly technical and doesn’t have a ridiculous amount of climbing (1,220 meters over 60kms- could be worse). However both of these features seem to amplify when it is raining with near gale force winds. Maybe this is my subconscious way of trying to toughen myself up.
Picture this: It is just you, your bike, your new Swiss friend Angie, and the St. James Cycle Trail. You have no cell reception and you just got dropped off at the trailhead, leaving you (at the absolute minimum) 30kms from your car if you take the road back rather than the trail. The rain begins to pickup at the two kilometer mark (only 58 more to go...), you can’t see through your sunglasses (I’m not too sure why I even have them on at this point…it’s not even sunny), and your feet are already soaked. You seem slightly worried that maybe you've made a terrible mistake, but soon nervously laugh it off because there is absolutely nothing you can do at this point except keep riding.
All smiles on the outside...but miserable on the inside.
Now let’s flash forward roughly 35 kilometers down the trail. It’s still pouring rain, your feet are soaked from the numerous creek crossings and mud puddles and now they are numb from how cold it is. The entire contents of your backpack, which were really just dry clothes, are soaked. Luckily you have made it to Scottie’s Hut and can seek refuge inside this tiny hut for a few minutes.
It was here that Angie and I ran into the first people we saw in roughly three hours of biking in a torrential downpour. There were four guys out hunting for the weekend, plus the two of us crammed into the tiny hut the size of a small bathroom, seeking refuge from the rain. The boys were making pancakes and were quite shocked to see us in our current soaked state. For whatever reason, I decided to change out of my wet socks and put on a fresh pair of wet socks. Ahh so refreshing, but at least I starting to feel my toes again. I soon came to find that my bottle of chain lube had spilled all over my pack, so I got nice whiffs of chain lube the rest of the ride.
All hope for dry feet was lost very early on in the ride with lots of creek crossings throughout the ride.
It sounds like a pretty miserable day, right? Well, yes, yes it was a miserable day, but it sure did make the soak at the Hanmer Springs Hot Pools afterwards so much sweeter. Now don’t let this tale discourage you from doing this ride, the scenery was breathtaking and the ride was top notch, but maybe just do the ride on a nice sunny day especially if you don’t want to spend the next few weeks cleaning the mud off of everything.
We made it! Muddy, cold, and soaked. Still smiling though!