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The Perfect Storm -- freak snow in SD

Posted By: KP
Date: Thursday, 14 February 2008, at 8:28 p.m.

Can you feel it! Can you see what's going down.

Can fill it in your bones.


This morning I met up to ride with James, visiting from Hood River Oregon, Julie and Elizabeth, who live here in southtown, the Big SD. Weather reports said cool but pretty good day in store. We left for Dudley's Bakery at 8:00am and it was 44 degress. Typical morning out here this time of year. I was dressed in my Oomph kit, arm warmers, no leggings and just shoes. It started raining pretty steadily by the time we reached Ramona. Julie and I both got flats as we entered town. Mine cut through the tire. I placed a dollar bill in there and changed the tube. We were getting cool and I wanted a new tire before descending from Dudley's, so we headed for Kirk's bike shop. Closed!

We left Ramona and turned onto Old Julian Highway on our way up to Dudley's and it got colder. Fast. By the time we were a couple miles from Santa Ysabel it was about 30F (-1 C) degrees with mixed rain, hail and snow. I looked up ahead and all the hills around the Bakery were dusted with snow. I had _never_ seen that before. On the final straight to the little town, head wind gusts were 30-40mph. Like something out of the Twilight Zone this rogue storm was throwing hail and snow into our faces. I head Elizabeth say "ouch". We all geared down to 39/25 and creeped along at 12mph to the Bakery. When we got inside the strom seemed to pass. Ten minutes later I suggested we get the heck back down before another tidal wave. I stepped outside and it was freezing, literally. By the time we were halfway across the long straight the snow was flying. It was sticking to my gloves, my soaked arm warmers and my bare legs. As we crested the first hill, rain mixed in with hail started up. Then HARD rain. Then thunder and lightning. I was getting seriously cold with the faster speeds. When I finally looked back the girls were gone. I assumed they went back to Dudley's and I continued downhill to Ramona. Only my descent from Brainard at Epic Camp Colorado 2003 was near this cold. 40min later I got to Ramona and found James (who had turned around before we reached Dudley's) in a cafe having soup and coffee.

The snow levels had dropped to 1500 feet and were filling the streets and gutters of Ramona. It was still about 35F and 2C degress and hail was collecting in the streets and gutters. I called a cab 60min from home after getting in 3:20 of chilly riding. Memorable ride. Below are the girls outside the home they ducked into.

coach KP

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