Chuck was late getting out of work, so I was hoofin’ it to his place at ten after five. It was cold and we were due some rain, possibly snow, later in the evening. I won’t pull any punches, I hate the cold. Hate it, despise it, don’t like it (if your sensibilities are a little too frail for “hate”). I can live with it, I can even enjoy it from time to time, but for the most part, I’m supposed to be a semi-tropical person.
On this particular occasion, however, I dressed correctly – and by correctly, I mean I dressed to be comfortable in the cold. My Specialized Element 2.0 jacket (I’ve had that jacket for eight years now and it’s still spectacular), a thermal running shirt, neck gaiter and hat that has the little ear flaps. I’d had a thin long-sleeve jersey on but once I stepped outside and felt the cold, I marched directly back into the house to switch base layers.
I had a crosswind the first mile to Chuck’s, then a fantastic tailwind for the second (that we’d be eating shortly). I was up to temp after the first mile, and that mile wasn’t even bitter.
Normally, I dress a little cooler so that I can ride a little harder without worrying about sweating (sweat wicks body heat away something like 25 times faster than air, if I remember my Survivor Man correctly). Last night, I dressed warmer and rode for the temp, which meant a little slower… and I really had a good time.
Once the sun went down, traffic thinned to a trickle. By the time we hit dirt, we were all alone. We had a few laughs, talked some about current events, and spent a bunch of miles silent, enjoying the ride… and then everything changed.
I was feeling surprisingly awesome for a cold night ride, but then the wind picked up enough that it was surprising. We were back in our normal “Jimmer Loop” subdivision, going for a “Chucker Bonus Lap” when what to my wondering eyes did I see but little droplets in my headlight… then one hit my cheek, but it melted. It was starting to snow. We were headed for home at that point, about six miles from home, so I picked up the pace a little bit, trying to push it to get home.
Then something surprising happened… I realized I wasn’t cold or miserable. I wasn’t in a bad way at all. We had a tailwind for four miles and we enjoyed the boost. With two miles to go my Garmin died (it had warned me the battery was low at Chuck’s house so I turned off the backlight, hoping it would get me home). Not even eight minutes from the house.
Ah well. The final shot to the house, I was ready to be done. I pulled into the driveway with 23-1/2 miles and a smile on my face. Whatever I did last night to get my temp right, I’ll have to try that again. I hate the cold… but I didn’t last night.
Dear God, Brent, I may need to look at a fat bike.