I will resist the urge for hyperbole in the face of the age of hyperbole, and simply say it’s been a fairly rough January. In the first thirteen days of the month I’ve ridden outdoors just once. Now, to be fair, there have been two other days I could have ridden outdoors but a lack of a desire to be cold for an hour and a half injected a little sanity into the whole mix. I opted for the trainer instead.
Yesterday, however, presented one of those rare Michigan January days above freezing, with little wind, and decent roads… well, semi-decent as we found out the hard way. Chucker had been bugging me for two days to join him so I kinda felt locked into it, so after I got home at 4, I suited up and readied the gravel bike and got dressed. Unfortunately, I underdressed a tad. If I’d have had a neck gaiter, I’d have been perfect.
We rolled out around 4:30 and started with a fairly brisk pace averaging an easy 15-mph for the first mile. It went down from there, and I was ecstatic about that. It was one of those “out for a walk but on two wheels” rides and that was right up my alley. I’d taken a couple of days off after some solid trainer efforts, so the easy pace and a breath of fresh air was just what I needed.
Even though the temperature was solidly above freezing all day, we did run into some trouble. Our first subdivision in our loop is always a little sketchy after the first snow but the first quarter-mile was melted as far as we could see, so we gave it a go. It wasn’t until we hit the first turn in the road that $#!+ got hectic in a hurry. The slush wasn’t terribly deep, it was just enough that you’d fall and bust your melon protector if your handling wasn’t perfect. I dialed the speed way back through that little stretch of road.
Another three miles later, entering the second sub on our normal loop, the first stretch was great as far as we could see, so we followed our normal route. It wasn’t until we turned that the roads turned into an unpassable mess. It was so bad I did the “unclip one foot and Fred Flintstone it” through much of the next mile. The roads had never been so much as scraped since the last snow. One false move through there and you were cooked. So I went slow enough I couldn’t make a false move. A little bit of a wet ass later and we were through the worst of it and out on normal roads again.
The ride home, after the sketchiness, was fantastic. We laughed about current events, about fat bikes (Chucker just bought one – I know, Brent, it’s just a matter of time now), supply chain issues (and I mean literal supply “chain” issues, like the lack there of if you’re trying to get a hold of a 10-speed chain or cassette for your steed)… it was just a great time. I almost didn’t even mind the cold.
Anyway, we shortened up the route to skip a second lap through the snow and slush and I pulled into the driveway with 17-1/2 wonderful, easy miles on the gravel bike.
And Chuck’s already texted to see if I want another go of it tonight. It’ll be the last call for a while – it gets really cold again tonight. I’ll have to think about this one… that trainer sure was looking tempting after the slush from last night.
I had the good fortune of dating a woman from Norway who got me into cross country skiing. To do that, you need weather UNDER 32F. It’s great fun. Was super experience to draw on for my winter biking. My biggest worry is ice on the path. Otherwise, smooth sailing. You might be on your way to enjoying winter biking …
I have a friend, Doug, who is a massive fan of cross-country skiing. My wife and I were into downhill for a while. I’m definitely open to cross-country… it’s just a matter of doing it at this point. Great comment. 👍
I really wish I wasn’t so anal, I used to ride some in the winter, but what the salt did to my bike was bad. Probably best to have kind of a beater bike just to get out and ride.
That’s my gravel bike, brother. I’d never ride a good bike out there.
I have joined a Peloton challenge that requires 5 indoor rides per week. Hope one of my off days will have nice weather and I can get out for a ride.
Nice! How do you like your Peloton?!
I like the Peloton. It is a very well built spinning bike. I think the resistance mechanism is very smooth and the power meter in there is quite accurate. Also it is more than just a bike. I like all the stretching, strength, yoga and meditation exercises. Easy to create a nice well rounded workout set.
Nice. That’s what it’s all about. Thank you.
Thanks for the shout-out. Sounds like you’re another step further down the slippery slope to the inevitable. Have you talked to your daughter about trying to rustle up some more scholarship money lately?
No, but her mom has… and with the way our healthcare just jumped in cost and went down in quality (shocker), she better bust her @$$! Holy smokes!