The other day I wrote what was meant to be a humorous post about a ride in which several of us got stuck out in the snow – and believe me, looking at the photos with my bike covered in snow and slush and snow clogging my helmet vents, it was funny.
There’s another dimension to that though… After speaking with my friends and wife, we all agreed that there was more fear involved in that ride than any previous.
First, on one hand we didn’t really have any choice as we got caught out by bad weather that showed up two hours earlier than forecast. On the other, even with bright, neon clothing and a flashing light, motorist visibility sucked. Add to the lousy visibility for the motorists, the fact that we couldn’t see either and that the roads were so wet riding in anything but a straight line was nerve-racking, the experience was one that I will not look to repeat any time soon.
In fact, of the five of us involved in that little adventure, all five of us lost our breath every time we heard a car coming, wondering if we were going to get plowed into.
The important aside to that post is that riding in conditions where motorists are going to have a tough time seeing should be avoided at all costs. While we got stuck out, there’s no way I’d have gone out if that snow had been in the forecast – at least not on the paved roads. It just wouldn’t have been worth the risk.
While I am glad I toughed out some difficult conditions, I just thought it necessary to add the caveat that I also wouldn’t do that on purpose. Better to ride on the trainer and be bored than risk not coming home in one piece. Motorists appear to have a difficult enough time seeing us in good conditions.
Yesterday’s forecast was much like our humorous suffer-fest on Saturday. Only colder. A lot colder. With the windchill it “felt like” 14 degrees and sadly, that’s not Celsius. The snow was supposed to show up again at noon. As it turned out, there was still ice on the paved roads. When my buddy Mike called I told him no chance, I was riding on the trainer.
Mrs. Bgddy made a wonderful farewell breakfast for our in-laws who were heading home with our kids for a few days… Mike called again shortly after breakfast and said he was riding the dirt roads on his mountain bike. My wife wanted to go. “Crap”, I thought. “I was so looking forward to not being cold today.”
We dressed and I prepped the bikes. I figured, “Ah, well, it’ll beat the trainer anyway”.
As it turned out, it had warmed up a little bit, maybe mid-twenties. Sadly, that’s not near warm enough to melt the ice on the roads so we had no choice but take the mountain bikes and stick to the dirt roads where we would at least have some traction.
We rolled out and spent a little more than an hour and fifteen minutes in the saddle. We only made fifteen miles of the ordeal, spending an inordinate amount of time just trying to find a line over and around the frozen ice-capped potholes…
Unlike the 70 to 100 mile days of summer, I don’t get much beyond fitness out of riding in the cold. I do it because it’ll make me faster and appreciate the warm days more but other than that, it pretty much sucks. It just sucks a little less than the trainer.
To wrap this up, it was a bit of a down week with only 163 miles, but considering the weather I’m quite happy with the total. My weight seems to have stalled out a little bit but I can tell that’s due to muscle gain because my “gut” is quite a bit flatter and the mirror is backing that up. That said, this week is going to be tough sledding. With unseasonably cold temperatures entrenched for the rest of the week, I’ve resigned myself to a lot of trainer miles. I’m not terribly happy about it but it beats riding in the freezing rain, which would obviously be beyond stupid without special equipment..