It started raining last Thursday and didn’t let up much, at least during daylight hours, until Sunday. After struggling through dead legs, I decided to just take it easy for a few days rather than run, trying to dodge raindrops. The forecast for Saturday was actually promising as late as Friday night so I’d hoped to get a ride in but it simply wasn’t to be – I woke up to rain and though it did stop for a short while, there was no way it was going to dry out enough for a ride. By Saturday afternoon I was feeling more than a little caged in.
Enter glorious Sunday. For the first time in days I didn’t wake up to the gentle pattering of raindrops on the roof. As predicted, while it was cold (close to freezing, frost on the ground), the sun was shining brilliantly, not a cloud in the sky! I decided that I’d wait a bit for it to warm up and hit the road at eleven. I made a nice, hearty bacon and egg breakfast, ate and got dressed to go out and tackle a little yard work before I left – and that’s exactly when the clouds blew in.
Mrs. Bgddy ended up going out for her ride first while I watched the girls and took a nice little nap. Afterwards, I got suited up in my coldest weather gear (cold weather cycling jacket, jersey, arm warmers, leg warmers, hat, full fingered gloves and foot covers) and hit the road. As one could expect, at first the cold sucked the life out of me but I was smiling by the end of the first mile. It wasn’t even 45 degrees when I started…not really cold by any real standards, but last year my cutoff was 50 degrees so I’ve made quite a bit of progress. The second and third miles were right into the teeth of the wind though and that had me cursing a little bit. Then a mile south, another into the wind and then two more south… And that’s when my day started looking up – six straight miles with the wind at my back and only one stop sign. By the time I’d hit the 13th mile I was considering amending my 25 mile planned ride to add another half-marathon’s worth. Then I turned north and had a nice little cross-wind which quickly had me thinking about changing that 25 mile route to an 18 mile ride. Kind of funny how that works, eh?
Within a mile I was back to smiling again – and that’s when I realized that my legs felt awesome. Even with the crosswind I was maintaining a 19 mph average and hardly working (in October and November – I have no goals other than to have fun and ride as much as I can). For the first time in quite some time I had no stiffness to work through – the cold wasn’t even bothering me. That three day stretch off was a little more needed than I thought. When I got to the point where I could choose 18 or 25 miles it wasn’t even a choice. I pressed on.
Once I got into town, it was a right turn dead into the wind for another three miles before heading south again for the home stretch. I pulled into the driveway with a comfortable 18.3 mph average and a whole lot of contentment at having finally gotten out for a ride.
Normally Monday would be a day off, but I be rode anyway. We’ve got a decent weather forecast before the rain rolls back through on Wednesday afternoon. One thing about fall in Michigan, the weather sucks a lot, so you can’t miss a nice day when it shows up.
On a fitting side note, I will cross my goal mileage for the year tonight on the last club ride of the season. We’ll be heading out, on our usual course, after dark has already descended, lights blazing and on the first road bike – my vaunted (and heavy) Cannondale SR-400. It’s only a 14 speed and it’s got down tube shifters but I figured it would be pretty cool to go old-school on an easy night.