Not Looking Good
After 26 consecutive days of riding, we are almost to Chicago. Today, we crossed the the old Chain of Rocks bridge into Illinois. Despite the rainy forecast, we had a sunny morning, and only a little rain in the afternoon. The group I rode with today rolled into town in time for a late lunch and some relaxation. On Tuesday, I would spend my birthday riding within 50 miles of the town were I was born. A few days of rest would only be two days away. Things were looking up.
But just as I started feeling good about a the prospect of a successful first leg of the transcontinental, the weather gave me reason to be nervous. Tuesday's ride to Bloomington is set to be a bit of a problem. 127 miles, crosswinds and crossing headwinds forecasted at 25-35 mph, 70% chance of rain and thunderstorms, and a high temperature of 48 degrees. Even on a sunny day, riding 127 miles with those kind of winds is challenging. This could easily be a 10-12 hour day. Add the rain, and things get even worse. All of that aside, however, it is the temperature that has me really worried -- I have no waterproof gear for my legs and feet.
48F is intolerably cold when you are wet. Even without the wind. And 48 is the forecasted _high_ temperature. Until now, I've been just wearing my long fleece pants and fleece shoe covers in the rain. With temperatures in the 50s and 60s, they have kept me warm enough -- as long as I kept moving. But, with wind chills in the 30s, fleeced lycra will not be enough. I cannot ride 2 hours, let alone 12, with hypothermic legs and feet.
There is a Wal Mart Supercenter here in town, so I took a spin over there tonight to find some rain gear. They had no rain gear. Absolutely none. Not even rubber pants. Left with no choice, I had to try the McGuyver thing. So, I bought a few silver emergency blankets, a thin plastic tablecloth, and some stretchable kitchen garbage bags. The idea is the fashion some sort of wind and moisture barrier to wear under my fleece. I'm still not 100% sure on how I'm going to do the wrap, but I've got a few hours to think it through.
I managed a few shots of St. Louis, the Chain of Rocks bridge, and roadside Illinois before the rain kicked back up.
Thursday: 71 miles from St. Louis, MO to Litchfield, IL
Miles this year: 4123