Erin go blaugh

Snow makes the coffee taste even better.

I will never be smart. But occasionally I am correct.

On Wednesday, I had been thinking about going for a run, but decided to gallop around Elena Gallegos Open Space on a cyclocross bike for 90 minutes or so because Thursday’s weather was looking iffy and I’d probably need to run then.

On Thursday, the weather was indeed iffy — as in raining — and I considered taking the day off entirely. But then I reconsidered and Herself and I went for a run, because Friday was shaping up to be even worse.

And now, here it is Friday, March 17, and it is snowing. From several directions at once, too.

Emboldened by a short streak of rightness, I announced with authority, “This almost never happens.”

And boom, just like that I was back to being not-smart. Also, wrong.

This is why we take notes. I glanced back through a half-dozen old training logs and found reports of March snow in 2019 and 2022, and as late as April 28 (2017 and 2021).

The forecast for St. Patrick’s Day — and for several days afterward — is for more of the same. I guess it’s a good thing I made a big pot of soup last night, because it sure doesn’t look like we’ll be getting a Paddy melt today.

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20 Responses to “Erin go blaugh”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Meena just reminded me that historically speaking, spring can be pretty snowy in these parts.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      And elsewhere, too. Remember your Iron Horse. Memorial Day weekend and hypothermia is often on the menu.

      Sure is pretty, though.

      • JD Says:

        Yepperdoodle re the Iron Horse. Did it a couple of times “Back in the Day” and nearly froze and/or got blown off my bike.
        Did manage to beat the train though! 🙂
        Just had 1″ of snow here in the Bibleburg area ….. high of 30F today.
        Stay safe and healthy all you leprechauns!!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I was just rooting through some ancient training logs and checked my Iron Horse career. I was doing that sucker in a 53/42T-12-21T combo in 1990 and finishing mid-pack. Snowing and wet on the descent in 1995, and I had pulled a hammy on Coal Bank after some ill-advised saddle adjustments and crank lengthening.

        We called this sort of thing “fun” back then. I’m not quite sure why.

        • Shawn Says:

          A 42-21? Hmm. I think I did Haleakala with similar gearing on a not so light steel frame back in ’84. I guess we were just tougher back then.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I was so happy to discover the 39T little ring and the 12-23T cassette. And later, the 50/34T compact and the 46/30T subcompact. There’s something about that 30-34T combo that just flattens those hills right the hell out.

        • khal spencer Says:

          I ran a 52-42 and 13-22 in grad school on Long Island where for some reason, I had more time to train. Also, the hills on the North Shore could be steep but generally less than about a third of a mile in duration, so you could sorta sprint them. Plus, I was running a lot and kept my weight at about 150 lbs.

          Moving to Hawai’i, the hills were longer and having a real job(tm) made training tougher. As did my preference for going home and putting down a few cold ones after a day at the Rock Factory. So I went to a 53-39 and 13-22. That served me well on Tantalus, Round Top, Sierra Drive, and the Pali Climb.

          I finally gave up the ghost on youth at Los Alamos and put on a 13-26 in the back. I kept a spare bike with a 53-39 in front and a 13-30 in back for the Red River Century, where you hit Bobcat Pass at the 96 mile mark. Getting over the pass was the point, not doing it on a corncob cluster.

          And like O’G, as the age gets higher, number of teeth on the cassette go up too. All Hail Compact and Subcompact Cranks!

      • SAO’ Says:

        Got to the trailhead and the kids asked, what’s wrong with the sign? Did someone squash it?
        Couldn’t put my finger on it, but they dug up the photo of the last time we were here.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Wowsah. You folks got some snow up to there. Reminds me of one time I was motoring along I-80 west of Reno in evil weather and the snow was up to and in some cases obscuring the big green highway signs. The Donner gala came to mind. But I was traveling solo and would’ve had to eat myself, which I would not have done under any circumstances. I knew where I had been.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Fortunately for me, by the time we moved here I was too old, feeble, and lazy to attempt the Iron Horse. Did the Red River a few times, including the year I descended back down from Bobcat Pass (the steep side) being pelted with sleet and hoping not to wash out the front wheel on the slick stuff. That was plenty enough fun for this guy.

    • SAO’ Says:

      Halloween and April Fools are statistically more likely to see snow around here than Christmas Day.

      Which makes today a good day to make enough carnitas for the rest of the week. Going with tequila lime this time, then crisp it up with a little OJ at the end.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Don’t plant your tomato plants until the mesquite trees bloom. Then you know.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Boy howdy. And don’t put the bib tights and long-sleeved jerseys away until June. I was rocking knickers and arm warmers on Wednesday.

      This is one of those days when I miss the Lopi wood-burning stove we had up in Weirdcliffe. Sprawl on the couch and listen to that bad boy crackle as the snow comes down.

  3. Dave Watts Says:

    Snow WILL happen when you are sure it won’t. 1999. May 5th. A Saturday. In Chicago (area). The club begins a simple and moderately paced 48-mile round trip ride directly south to the town of Minooka. Maybe 15 riders. Started at about 10am. The point of the these rides is always twofold: 1) the ride, and more importantly, 2) food at a restaurant at the halfway point. Looking out the restaurant windows, with food on the table, it begins to rain. A few minutes later, sleet. Then snow. Lots of snow. None of this was predicted. The meal was finished in record time so that record time could again be made those 24 miles back. Of course, the wind was against the riders, a situation known here as “wind off the lake.” That’s also always bad. The ride leader said they noticed one rider short every two miles coming home. Now normally, they’d slow the pace to let the dropped rider rejoin, because that’s what good humans do. But… it was life or death those last 24 miles. Couple inches of hail on the road (yes, that’s dangerous) and a few more of snow on top of that. With skinny road tires. In subsequent years, that ride would go down in club history as The Minooka Death March. We’re pretty sure everyone eventually made it back to the Park District’s parking lot, but nobody is 100% sure.

    • Shawn Says:

      It sounds like it would have been a good day to have called up a Chicago Limo service and coordinated a ride back to town. Or perhaps locate the local U-Haul facility and rented a truck for a one-way trip back to town loaded down with bicycles and lycra coated popsicles. Can you say “shotgun”?

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      Ah, the wind off the lake. Don’t mess with “The Hawk.” I grew up in Waukegan about a mile from the lake shore.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “The Minooka Death March.” Aptly named. Yeech. That heartland weather does not play fair.

      I don’t recall any training rides that bad when the Mad Dogs were rolling around the Greater Bibleburg Metropolitan Area. Wind was the primary enemy, as I recall. Long rides out east on Highway 24, north into the U.S. Air Force Academy, south down Highway 115 to Penrose and back, west on Highway 24 to Woodland Park.

      It’s the worst feeling in the world to lose the wheel in the wind. It’s like Hemingway’s line about going broke in “The Sun Also Rises”:

      “How did you go bankrupt?”

      “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

      • khal spencer Says:

        “It’s the worst feeling in the world to lose the wheel in the wind. ”

        Truer words never spoken. I recall back on the Dick Evans Road Race one year I was playing domestique to our best women rider after she flatted going up Kunia road (knowing full well I had no chance of winning). I did a lot of the work up to the North Shore and then pulled into the wind rounding Kahuku, getting about 100 or so feet from The Bunch. She and her teammates jumped to the Bunch. I gave it a valiant effort and completely blew up, although I still managed to finish the race somewhere in the lower third as I guess a lot of folks blew up behind me.

        Decided after that it was more fun to ride motorcycle escort and clown around with the HPD motorcycle cops.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        One of the windiest rides I ever endured was a leg of the Adventure Cycling Association’s 2010 Southern Arizona Road Adventure, a 45.4-mile leg from Tombstone to Bisbee. It followed another pretty windy leg, the 54.2-mile stretch from Patagonia to Tombstone, serving up (as I wrote for Adventure Cyclist magazine) “a heaping helping of blistering headwinds and crosswinds that turned every descent into a flat, every flat into a hill.”

        Chriss Lloyd and I did some pulling for road pals Peggy Sax and Christine Carragee, who was riding a burly Salsa Vaya, and as you might expect I had some thoughts afterward:

        During our first night’s lecture in Supported Touring 101, I got the distinct impression that drafting was frowned upon on Adventure Cycling excursions. But riding solo into that maelstrom would have made Sisyphus’ rock-rolling look like a stoner playing hacky sack.

        With sandstorms smearing the southern sky, I was reminded of “Lawrence of Arabia,” only with pavement and large motor vehicles operated by the insane. So I kept Christine company on that leg while Chriss shepherded Peggy. It was the sort of day that made a guy think about flagging down the first nihilist who came along, trading his bike for a bowling ball, and hunting up The Dude and Walter to see if you could replace Donny on the team (see “The Big Lebowski”).

        • khal spencer Says:

          The tailwind on the Dick Evans would finally hit as you crested Makapu’u Lookout but by then, it was a matter of relief for me rather than a chance at catching anything other than my breath. Still, that tailwind the last few miles after the relentless into-the-Trade-Winds down the windward side was a relief. Also left me asking “why the hell am I doing this to myself?”

          Good Adventure article. Glad you linked it. BTW, have you seen Tammy Schurr lately? Been years since I have crossed paths with her.

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