Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nine thousand a today’s Cold Commute

When I crashed on the 29th of October I had no idea I was only two kilometers shy of matching my total annual kilometerage for 2012. BTW, anyone who can contribute to quality of my metric lexicon and usage thereof, please feel free to do so.  

Following the crash I was pretty much off the bike for two weeks and then just a couple “test” rides in the weeks after that.  I’ve been gradually increasing my riding from there and while I am not yet logging any serious K’s, I did pass a milestone today. 

I have ridden over 9,000 kilometers for 2103.  Can I hit 10,000 for 2013?  Probably not, but you never know.  If my knee makes a peep, I will back off.  No number is worth any damage.  But if a number is worth squeezing in a couple extra long rides, it would be a number with five digits.

If I was playing word association games and someone said, “Mid-twenties,” most of the year my reply would be the age of one my children but today my answer would be the overnight low temperatures.

Today was my first post-crash bike commute. It was so much fun.  The sky was clear and the roads were dry.  The stars twinkled and some “Chismas” lights were on here and there. Our neighbor has dutifully erected his traditional Chismas Pig which proudly illuminates our corner of the neighborhood. It was almost silent as I made my way north in the frosty darkness. I dressed for a battle with the cold and aside from my toes getting chilly the last few miles, I was very comfortable. 
I was wondering what I would find in the seemingly perpetual construction zone on 52nd Avenue since it had been six weeks since I had been there. I was happy to find a wider, PAVED street that will no longer require a detour either because of endless road construction or the lack of a shoulder which preceded the construction.  The road still needs a final topping of asphalt but the “base” is down and it is like glass compared to the gravel I rode on this past autumn.

The rest of the ride was uneventful.  I did pass a fellow idiot bike commuter and he had a lame tail light that seemed totally inadequate.  He didn’t look like a DUI cyclist, and I thought about saying something to him about his lack of offensive lumens, but in the end I just said, “Good morning” as I passed him.  I made it in and was showered and at my desk by 7:40 which was exactly when sunrise was today.  Man, these days are short!

I am flirting with the idea of riding the Winter Solstice 200K Brevet which starts at 8:00 PM on Saturday the 21st and finishes whenever you get done.  I have eyed this fool’s errand for a couple years now and it is more of a possibility this year. The challenge is staying warm, dry and comfy for eight to ten hours as well as illuminating the road and yourself for that long.  Since I am all about problem solving, this does present Evo with a unique opportunity.

In the less-than-likely event I do the Solstice ride I promised myself I would not photograph my food and would strictly limit my wool usage.  Between now and then I will try some different clothing combinations to find what I think might work for such an extended ride in cold conditions.

For my future reference here is what I wore today and how it worked:

HEAD: Wool Riv Beanie under helmet and thick neck warmer – Perfecto

TORSO: LS base layer, LS jersey and Thermal team jacket – Just a little too warm and team jacket didn’t breath as well as I would have liked.  Will try Showers Pass rain jacket next time and see how that does with same combo underneath.  As an alternative I could try a SS base layer with the previous combo.

LEGS: Bibs and PI Thermal bottoms – Not bad, but small gap at ankles and the knee of the tight didn’t cover my knee when I rode.  Will try my Hincapie tights next time.

HANDS: Monster PI gloves (the link is to a newer version) and thicker wool liners – Pretty fine.

FEET: Thick socks, MTB shoes and Neoprene overboots -  Not warm enough!  I will add toe covers and lil’ Hotties next time.  Maybe try thinner insoles so I can wear thicker socks? 

HOTCOFFEE: What a nice thing to have along..

No comments: