It's been pretty crappy around here weather wise, weeks upon weeks of rain and snow have put us at over 200% of normal precipitation for the year. Not good for trying to train for a race across Colorado in 3 months. Last weekend was no different, rain on Thurs. and Fri. with showers on Sat. and Sun. We decided to get out of here and head over to Downieville with the trailer for a ride on the North Yuba Trail and then make our way to Reno for Sunday.
We arrived in Downieville about 10 am and I headed out quickly hoping to get the 32 mile out and back trail done in short order so we could make it over Yuba Summit and on to Reno at a decent hour. It's an absolutely stunning trail, all singletrack for 16 miles and then turn around and head back, simple plan eh?
As I made my way to the end at Rocky Rest I was hit with a few light showers and I realized I had left my rain jacket in the trailer, not good since the temp was hovering around 40 degrees. I hit the end of the trail a little early, a large group of elderly hikers was heading in the same direction and rather than pass them all only to pass them all going back the other direction I decided to turn around a couple of miles early, might have saved my ass!
Pretty much as soon as I turned around the sky opened up. The first few miles were fine, it was mostly uphill and the tree cover was providing some protection. As the miles unfolded I was getting progressively colder, the trees were now dripping wet and all the foliage next to the trail was soaking me as I brushed against it, I was soaked and still had 13 miles and an hour and half out in this. I walked and ran as much as I could as my core temp kept falling, I was shivering uncontrollably on the downhills and most of the uphills were not much better, my body was starting to shut down as I climbed higher and higher and the rain shifted from rain to sleet. The last 4 miles of this trail descend back to Downieville along a series of switchbacks and at this point I can barely walk as I am shivering so bad and my breathing is becoming ever increasingly shallow. The last few miles were a blur, I knew I couldn't stop and at least it was getting slightly warmer as I descended down the trail, the rain was coming down sideways at this point and puddles were everywhere.
I finally reached the truck and to my horror, no one was in it, SHIT I'm going to die trying to keep myself warm in the concrete outhouse was all I could think of! As I rounded the trailer I was euphoric to see Mary's bike sitting outside and the lights on in the trailer. I opened the door and the look on Mary's face said everything, I was not in a good place....
We stripped me down and cranked up the heater as high as it would go and got some warm and dry clothes on me. It took me a bit but my breathing finally came back around and the deep cold left my frigid extremities.The thermometer read 39 degrees at 2200'.
I know better. I've carried a jacket on days I knew I would never need it, I don't know what I was thinking and I was certainly mad at myself. Another hour out there and I was a search and rescue candidate/victim and I will never make that mistake again.
Not one picture from this horrible day........