"We left that behind a long time ago" - Susan O.
The plan was for a perm pop starting at 6pm, followed by some sleeping and a tasty brunch. I was all over that.
The weather forecast was lots of rain on Friday (see this post), then colder, drier, and sunny on Saturday.
Corralled my slumber party supplies (sleeping bag and air mattress), and set about finding all my sooper cold riding gear. It wasn't going to rain, so no need to wear a rain shell and get soggy inside. I ended up wearing two long sleeved wool baselayers, a wool long sleeved jersey, thermal vest, reflective vest, Smart-Beest wool shorts with the PI Amfib tights over them, my fluffiest wool socks, toe warmers, new Lake Cycling boots, wool cap with brim and earflaps, Smartwool liner gloves and Descente Wombat gloves over that. And my helmet cover, to keep the warmth in.
Met everyone at the start, signed in, and got my card. Some who had planned to ride didn't show - car trouble, and too much wood chopping, respectively. Someone else was not yet there, but we knew she'd catch us.
Four of us (Susan O, Jeff M, Steve B, and myself) headed out in the sub-freezing temperatures and darkness. We rode north along SW 231st, which has new bike lanes, a raised bike lane (we didn't much like that one, for various reasons), and a bit of construction. The road was well lit; we were still in Hillsboro, passing by the Intel facility where I used to work. Then west on Evergreen, and so on, familiar roads to us locals. The pace was quite comfortable. There was a headwind, which we would lose after the control at the Gales Creek Shell station.
Once we were off the main roads, we could ride two abreast and chat. Jeff was checking out two battery powered headlights. I was enjoying my Luxos U :-)
We passed through Roy, and, a few miles later, arrived in Banks. Given that EVERYTHING would be closed past Banks, we stopped at the trailhead to refill bottles and such. I was drinking from the Polar insulated bottle first, because it was boiling hot when I left the house, and now was on the warm side of tepid (Gatorade Tea). I also crunched down a frozen Payday bar. Steve pulled on his rain pants; he was getting cold. I was fine, but didn't want to stand around too long.
Our missing rider hadn't caught us yet. She had gotten a flat, and would be along.
The four of us headed west on Cedar Canyon Road, which undulates up and down, through wetlands and over bridges. Yes. Bridges. Ice forms first on bridges. We saw some big patches off to the side. This road is well-shaded, and likely didn't dry out much during the day. 17 miles in.
Someone had a rare burst of caution and common sense, and we all stopped to discuss turning back. If we didn't turn back now, the decision to turn back later would make for a more difficult/hazardous return, just because of the roads we'd have to take. Also, everything was closed; no place to hole up.
Aside: no one wants to be the person who speaks up and says that maybe proceeding wouldn't be a good idea. I was certainly THINKING about black ice, but, not wanting to be that person... Props to our rider with the common sense.
Back through Banks, with a pause to scout the Thriftway parking lot for our still missing rider. No, not there. We found her a few miles later on Wilkesboro Road, and she reported slippy bits and some fishtailing. Of course, we weren't riding that fast trying to catch up, although I had noticed a few little squiggles.
So we all returned, electing to take Harrington->Kerkman->Cornelius-Schefflin, rather than Roy Rd, because we'd be off the main road longer.
Once we crossed Glencoe Rd onto Meek, Jeff and I compared headlights :-) I was still completely and comfortably warm. My feet were very happy. My hands were happy.
Once onto Evergreen, we stayed out of the bike lane - it was frozen. We took over the right lane; much safer. Same on 231st and Baseline.
Back to the start, where everyone headed over to Susan's, and I loaded up my car and headed that way as well.
We then proceeded to the rando slumber party, eventual sleeping, and the tasty brunch. :-)
Average temperature: 28degF