It was cold this morning. Not, “hey, let’s throw on the arm warmers and leg warmers” cold. It was this cold:
The unofficial temp was 23 gnarly degrees (-5 for the Metrics folks). Still, it was supposed to warm to a balmy 35 (call it 1 C) by noon. When Greg rolled up, I chuckled and said, “Geez man, I was hoping you’d at least show up on your mountain bike and give us a chance”. Greg is my age but he’s one of the fastest among the Tuesday night regulars. He races, well (Cat 3 if I remember correctly).
We started out immediately after that photo was taken and at a pace that was more geared to July. We were past 20 mph before the parking lot was out of sight. Thankfully I’d mixed a water bottle of Hammer Perpetuem before I left, we only saw speeds under 20 going up hills and to wait for a few stragglers, once. Greg, much to his credit, actually reeled the faster guys when the speed topped 23 or 24 so we could all stick together.
I was happily shocked at how I rode for the first 27 miles. I spent a ton of time in the front three positions (only short pulls up front, the horses were taking long turns up front so I had to be careful) but getting on in the ride I started to wear down. My friend Mike was feeling it too. We decided to fall off the back and take it easy for the last 13 miles or so but the remainder of the group waited up for us and once we were back on, kept the speed at a reasonable 21-22 mph. Imagine that!
Greg and the two guys who rode in with him had split off a ways back to head home and there were just five of us. Dave and his wife on a tandem, Rick, Phil, Mike and I. The pace was ramped up again, anywhere from 23-25 and with only four miles to go, Mike and I were finally smoked. We dialed it back to 15-16 and just enjoyed that last stretch.
40 bonus December miles, 35-36 of them well north of 20 mph, all of them with temps below freezing. Thank goodness for high-tech cold weather gear. I would have never considered riding in weather that cold a year ago. With the right clothing, it wasn’t that bad at all.
A funny last note, Greg asked me about half-way into the ride, “Man, did you get that bike detailed”? He added, “That bike’s so clean it’s hurting my eyes”. Yup, that’s what I get.