I’ve got two friends I’ll currently ride with; my wife, and my normal cycling buddy, Chuck. I like to joke among my friends that my wife and I are the only people allowed to draft, while everyone else has to suffer through “social distancing”. In fact, most people are strictly sticking to solo cycling around here, and that’s a good thing, if it is a touch sad. I tend to poke a lot of fun at the panic on this page because I’m trying to keep things light in the face of a lot of craziness and over-the-top political manipulation. In fact, that politicians continue to try to cover their asses while still try to manipulate the situation to their benefit while the vast majority of us are taking it in the @$$, doing exactly what we’re supposed to, tells you all you need to know about politicians.
My buddy, Chuck and I rode in the afternoon yesterday – we left after we each put in a full day of “working from home”… and let me tell you, waiting until 3:30 was exceptionally difficult. It was a little chilly and gloomy to start the day but it warmed quickly beyond that desired range above 45° (7 C) where cycling goes from bearable to fun. Then, as if God Himself snapped his fingers to make it so, the clouds broke. Within the space of 30 minutes we went from full cloud cover – not being able to tell where the sun was in the sky – to “not a cloud in the sky”. And the outdoor temp shot up to the mid-50’s with single-digit wind speeds out of the southwest.
We’d decided earlier that we were going long. We settled on a minimum of 50 miles.We also picked a perfect route that headed out into the wind – a 50/50 split of headwind and tailwind. Sadly, staying six feet apart into a headwind kinda sucks, but I did it. We kept our pace reasonable – slow enough we’d be able to hold it without help – and pressed on. It was a long 25 miles into the wind, but the glorious moment when the ride turned north and east arrived soon enough, and that’s when the ride got fun.
Chuck was comically overdressed with three layers and a wool cap but I got it just right. Arm warmers, knee warmers, and I even broke out the Specialized team kit and the Venge for the occasion – it was that nice.
We didn’t talk about current events at all, other than to lament the slog into the wind that we’d normally have six or eight more people to help. Other than that, it was mainly gratitude for being outside, on the right side of the asphalt, pumping air.
We chose a different way home that avoided traffic even though we’re in the middle of zombie apocalypse traffic right now (not much at all – it’s the best cycling conditions I can ever remember). Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought about it but we managed to cut off four miles in the process so we had to improvise and stretch the last six miles to ten at the end of the ride.
I pulled into my driveway grinning from ear to ear. 50.3 miles at 18.9-mph for an average with no drafting. My Venge is no joke, but I’m sticking with “it’s the guy pushing the pedals”.
I don’t like a lot about our current situation; that cycling was left on the acceptable list has me cheering.
Stay safe, my friends. Stay isolated. There will be a time soon enough when we won’t have to wonder if inserting our credit card into the reader and typing in a pin number could mean certain doom. If you’re allowed, cycle hard and remember; cyclesocial distancing and shelter at pace.
And to my friend, the Unironedman… How’d that be for a T-shirt?!