I went for a ride yesterday and it didn’t have a whole lot to do with “want to”. I was hobbling around like a 70 year-old yesterday after my run on Saturday (for those not in the loop, first run in about 9 months, 5 miles 8:23m/m pace). To attempt to put into words exactly how much pain I was in would be futile and take up too much space unnecessarily. Just know I was freaking hurting (not injury pain, just my body saying, “hey, what the hell was that all about”?). In any event, after hobbling around for the better part of the morning I decided it was high time I go for a ride to loosen my legs up. At 11, not even out of the 30’s (1-2C), I donned the full get-up. Jacket, gloves, balaclava… I broke everything out, including a fleece running shirt that I wore under my jacket in lieu of a jersey and arm warmers… The goal was for an easy spin of course, I didn’t have anything left in my legs, I was just hoping to get them moving so I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t freeze in the process. Turned out I got it just right – for the first time ever, I didn’t have a little regret at having chosen to ride in the first few miles. In fact, for once I actually felt quite snug and that translated into quite the enjoyable little jaunt. And thank goodness because in addition to the cold, the wind was absolutely howling.
I kept a very slow pace, especially heading out into the wind, and at the eight mile mark things really got interesting. I felt the first drop of rain right on my beak (about all that was left exposed) and I started laughing out loud. What are the chances, I wondered – a 10% chance walking out the door and I’m getting hit. Within two minutes the rain drops started stinging my cheeks. Out of the frying pan and into the fire – sleet. Rather than turn tail and head home I stuck with it. I wasn’t cold at all and I figured I was actually a little lucky – at least if it was ice I wouldn’t get wet. Fortunately the sleet let up after a couple of miles and I had the wind at my back for the rest of the ride home.
To give you an idea of just how hard the wind was blowing, when I was heading west I was able to maintain speeds from 23-28 mph spinning. I rolled into the driveway with a 16-1/2 mph average and a couple of semi-loosened up legs (at least I was better off than when I left). I learned a valuable lesson yesterday, one that the All Seasons Cyclist has been trying to convince me of for going on a year now: Winter cycling really isn’t all that bad, just as long as I get the layers right. Last year my cutoff for enjoyable cycling was 50 degrees – I rode in worse but it was rare. This year, with all of the gear that I’ve accumulated over the last two, I’ve finally figured out how to dress to enjoy the low 30’s.
Now, that said, it’s raining right now and it’s supposed to turn into snow shortly… Daddy’s riding on the trainer today.