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.
Here are a few pics from a ride last week for those in the warmer climates who don’t get to see the vivid change in seasons:
Funny – I rode my 12-speed Peugeot out to Valley Forge and back this past weekend! I love riding it – I admit I feel really cool riding old school steel – but I was decidedly slower on the hills and my average was only 12.7 for the 50-someodd miles with 23something feet of gain.
The weather has taken a turn for the colder – highs in the upper-40s – mean I’ll be back to figuring out my fish-stick toes issue soon. So far it’s been glorious and any photos I snap on the rides do not do the beauty of autumn justice.
Taking a few days off has been forced on me a lot this year but I feel like I am faster and stronger because of it. That and a lot of spinning. 😀
Great rides! Congrats on accomplishing your mile goal for this year!
23something feet of gain is in thousands, not hundreds. Just to clarify. 😉
23,000 feet of gain in 50 miles? Good Lord!
sorry – 2 thousand 3hundred-something. Not 2hundred thirty-something. It’s still a lot for such a “flat” state like Pennsylvania. 🙂
23thousand in 50 miles would kill me. Probably. 🙂
I was going to say! Flat State like Penn… LOL!
Well it’s no Colorado that’s for sure! LOL
Thanks Laura. Yeah, the Cannondale is aluminum (the frame only weighs 3 pounds), but the wheels are steel and heavy as all get out. It’s not so bad I can’t maintain my normal speed on it… What gets me is the cold. When we’re down in the 40’s that’s easily 1 mph off my normal average. Good luck with your toes (have you tried wool socks and foot covers?)
Yup – I’ve tried almost everything!
End of the winter riding season last year I picked up winter cycling shoes, thermal insoles, thermal liners, and two pairs of Wooly Booleys. My toes were honestly the only issue I had with my layering (although I think in the 20-29* range if I add one more layer to my core it may help).
No toe issues until the temps get below 40* … but that’s coming soon. 🙂
That’s a real bummer – I remember you writing about that last year… I wear my normal summer shoes, a standard cycling sock and my foot covers and the feet are sweating down to freezing.
I wish! Although I get by with simple full-finger gloves (Pearl Izumi Cyclones) where my companions are breaking out the thick winter lobsters and having cold fingers.