Well after almost two weeks of being scared to take a deep breath, I was *really* looking forward to this morning's ride. A couple days of rain cleared the smoke out of the air and it was glorious. I dug out my rain jacket and neoprene booties last night and mentally prepared myself for a January kind of morning, but the rain stopped over night and the sun was coming up into a blue sky so it was just freaking perfect.
The roads were all still pretty wet so we just kind of slogged up at a slower than usual Summit Pace. A lot of grit on the road too, which stuck to our tires and made for kind a noisy rolling. I wiped off the tire once but the grit just came right back so I gave up. Also, grit got on my water bottle nozzles so of course it got in my teeth and lips as well.
Wildlife Encounter: a mangy coyote below Clavicle Cracker.
From Junction to Juniper, we went through a pretty dense cloud bank and the wind kind of picked up - but it was still some good bike riding and I was breathing deep and thankful for clean air and good health. Above Juniper the fog started to thin out a little. At Muir it looked like they maybe had a small brush fire sometime since my last ride. Finally after Devil's Elbow, we popped up above the fog layer and had a clear approach to The Summit.
Not a lot of riders on The Mountain this morning - some of the ones I did see were wearing shorts. Every one of them had a big smile on their face though.