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Daily Archives: March 9, 2021

A Perfect Late February Weekend on the Bike… In MICHIGAN?! Indeed.

In all the years I’ve been cycling and running, we’ve never had a decent weekend in February for outdoor activities. My weekday riding buddy, Chuck and I rolled out Friday afternoon for an easy and fun 25 miles at an average pace around 17-mph if memory serves (memory did serve, 16.9 or 27 km/h). It was a little on the chilly side and I was slightly under-dressed, but the sun was shining and it was fantastic getting outside for a spin.

Saturday was about as good as I could have hoped for. We’d received some rain the night before and, due to temps right at freezing, it took forever to dry out. The sun started breaking through the clouds about an hour before we left and it dried out quickly. Our first three miles were a little damp, but thereafter it was fantastic cycling conditions – and we were fast for the 35-1/2 mile route. This early in the spring, with all of that winter garb on, I’m hoping for 18-1/2 for an average. At 18-1/2 in the cool weather, that translates well for Tuesday nights in another couple of months. I’ve still had a smile on my face three days later over the fact that we did 20.

Sunday Funday was fantastic. We had rain in the forecast, to start between 11 & noon, so we rolled out at 9. It was cloudy, breezy and a little on the chilly side, but I didn’t want to be out in the rain, either. My wife wanted the tandem, so that’s what we took. Thankfully, when I put it up for the winter, I’d put the bike through a fairly extensive winterization process so it operated flawlessly and silently.

We rolled out with a target of around 16 to 17-mph and I had no desire to break it – I was tired from Friday and Saturday’s rides. The going was easy and I was amazed at how easy we were rolling heading west. Last I saw the weather, we’d have a tailwind coming home and we’d be fighting it on the way out. Two miles in I saw a flag in someone’s front yard, and it was not good. We were being pushed. Most of the return leg was going to be dead into an ugly southeasterly headwind. By the time we hit our right turn to head south, we had built up almost a 19-mph average… and we set about giving it all back.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression this was, in any way, bad. It wasn’t. My wife and I matched up excellently well so we simply took the pace as it came. The ride was enjoyable and exceptional…

Until about six minutes after it started misting with eight miles to go.

It was just a stray drop at first, just cold enough to jolt you. Then the drops grew more frequent until it was a straight-up mist. With temps a few above freezing, I expected to be colder but the extra work of the tandem (and my Funkier winter jacket) kept me warm. We kept a consistent, decent pace all the way home. And just like that, we were at the driveway, 28 miles and some change at 16.8-mph. Honestly, it was one of those “it’s still better than the trainer” rides. Not much better, though. Also, thankfully, I never bothered taking the mud guards off the tandem. The bike wasn’t exactly sparkly when I got it home, but it wasn’t gnarly by any stretch, either.

A fine February weekend on the bike. Three days and 88 miles. It was a great start to the new season.