It was 52 glorious degrees when we rolled out for the seven mile warmup. It was a fast warmup at that. So fast we had 20 minutes to spare before the ride so we added a couple of more warmup miles.
It was sunny but the wind was starting to howl pretty hard from the NNW. When the clock struck Six, we rolled but the wind had really picked up – and the temperature headed entirely in the wrong direction.
Within five miles I thought about turning around and heading home. It was dangerous – 20 mph sustained with gusts up to 30. Instead, my buddy Mike and I decided to drop for safety’s sake.
We waited for a couple of guys who had dropped and ended up with a neat and tidy four man echelon. Eventually we caught Phill, and Mike and Diane on their tandem. The wind continued to pick up in intensity…
Now, many will be familiar with the fact that if you increase the heat slowly on a pot of water, you can boil a frog, yes?
Well, cyclists work on the same principle, but substitute cold air for boiling water. We tested the theory to perfection last night. It is now an irrefutable Law.
Even cutting ten miles off the normal ride we still only managed a 17.5 mph average. It was the slowest Tuesday night I was ever a part of – 4 mph slower than our normal average. We never got a true tailwind. Best case was a cross-tailwind from the NNW and NW as we headed SW.
Oh, and the Temp? When we started it was a balmy 51 degrees (11 C) with 15-20 mph winds. By the time we finished, it was 35 (2 C) with 20-28 mph winds. It was so cold, my face was numb, along with my feet, legs, hands, arms, and… well, pretty much everything. It was, without a doubt, the most brutal, sunny ride I’ve ever taken part in. I can’t ever remember working so hard to go so slow. However I slice it, and especially if I consider the fact that it took a shower and two more hours to warm up, the ride pretty much sucked – except for one redeeming factor: I was on the Venge. Every year, after a long winter of riding my Trek (and now mountain bikes), I get to fall in love with my bike all over again on Venge Day.
It really is that big a difference going from one bike to the other. My normal stance on high-end bikes still holds firm: Anyone who tells you there’s no difference between a $5,000 bike and a $750 bike has never ridden a $5,000 bike. There’s a mountain of difference, and that mountain is all good.