Spocalypse of ’18

Tuesday morning  And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards New Orleans?  (apologies to W.B. Yeats).  Sunday Giro returning – things split up on the way back The weekend weather had been cold – very cold. Saturday’s Giro Ride turnout could be counted on one hand, and the usual route was discarded because of the 35° air. I ended up riding the lakefront levee with a visitor from New Jersey (I think), so got in 50 miles or so. Sunday, it was even colder, 32°, but Tuesday morning  And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards New Orleans?  (apologies to W.B. Yeats).  Sunday Giro returning – things split up on the way back The weekend weather had been cold – very cold. Saturday’s Giro Ride turnout could be counted on one hand, and the usual route was discarded because of the 35° air. I ended up riding the lakefront levee with a visitor from New Jersey (I think), so got in 50 miles or so. Sunday, it was even colder, 32°, but the turnout was better and we did the usual Giro. Go figure. By noon on Sunday it was much, much warmer, but apparently winter wasn’t done with us quite yet. Someone left the sprinkler on Saturday night along the Lafitte Greenway The respite from serious cold weather was predicted to be brief, and since Monday was MLK day and I was therefore off from work I planned for a longish ride out to the Spillway. I also planned to start after, rather than before, sunrise. It was still a little chilly, but in comparison to some of the previous mornings, the low 40s at 8 am seemed practically balmy. I’d sent out some notices about the ride in case there were any others who might be interested, but that had netted me only Pat. It was fine, though. Out at the Spillway Monday morning. A little windy but otherwise beautiful. I wanted to get some miles in the bank early in the week because it was looking like Wednesday and possibly Thursday would be out of the question, riding-wise. We put in 50-something easy miles riding up the river under a clear blue sky with a moderate wind, averaging under 17 mph. Just a few of  us on Tuesday morning Tuesday morning would be colder for the pre-dawn Tuesday ride, but the real weather wouldn’t arrive until Wednesday night. Tuesday morning’s ride netted us only four riders, one of which we lost at Williams Blvd. despite the relatively mild 43° temperature. The wind, however, was already noticeably increasing ahead of the cold front slowly creeping its way across Louisiana from the northwest. With only three of us and a significant wind we cut the ride a little short in order to get back on time. Wednesday morning. Unusual and slippery and cold, but not as bad as it was elsewhere. By the time I rode to work an hour or so later, the wind was probably over 10 mph, but the front was still a long way off. By mid-afternoon that day, however, the weather warnings started coming out. Rain, sleet, and snow were already causing massive traffic problems to the west in a state with no salt trucks or snow plows, and drivers who are adept at dealing with rain but completely overconfident about driving on ice. By 4:30 the city, along with practically every school in the state, had shut down, was in the process of shutting down, and had announced a closure for at least the following day. My office basically evacuated at 4:30, and I rode home into a stiff wind. It wasn’t until late Tuesday night that the rain and sleet started. If there was any snow around my house, I didn’t see it, but the sleet was impressive enough. By morning everything was covered with a layer of ice, including the streets, and every interstate highway into and out of the city had been shut down. The temperature in town got down into the lower 20s, I guess, but the real problem was the ice. It was like being snowed in without the snow. There were a lot of reports of frozen plumbing, and I was glad that my pipes all run through the enclosed basement where the temperature never dipped below 48° or so. Needless to say, I didn’t ride. Not that I didn’t think about it, of course, but I didn’t want to risk starting out the year with a broken bone from slipping on ice. Fortunately, I had a new chain and headset that I’d been waiting to install, so at least there was something productive I could do at home other than repeatedly raid the refrigerator. I scanned a few old NOBC things for the website before they turned to dust, but otherwise just hung around the house bored out of my mind. I don’t think the temperature ever got much above freezing. Candy and Danielle decided to walk over to the Tulane Reily Center to work out. Candy slipped on ice and hit her head pretty good, but they stayed for an hour anyway. When they got back she asked if I thought she should go to the ER to get checked out, but since she wasn’t showing any concussion symptoms other than a mild headache where she’d hit, we decided to just keep her under observation. Late Wednesday night Tulane send out another notice that the university would remained closed today. For those right in town, travel was back to normal, but I think things were still a mess outside of the metro area. Right now the temperature is at 27° officially, although the thermometer on my front porch is showing 31°. At any rate, things will finally start warming up and I’m planning on going for a ride around noon, by which time it should be above freezing. Should be in the 60s by Saturday. This has been one of the worst winters so far that we’ve seen in at least ten years. Last winter I hardly missed any riding at all because of the cold. This year, I’ve already missed a number of ride days. Fortunately, other than rain, I don’t see anything below 40° for the next ten days.

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