Saturday, November 6, 2010

40 miles @ 40 degrees

It seemed like such a good idea this morning.  I had a fresh cup of coffee, was standing near a vent with heat coming out of it, looking out the window watching the sun rise*, and checking the forecast.  High of 49 degrees, 7 mph wind out of the west.  Perfect conditions for a bike ride. Right?

What I seem to keep forgetting is that, by this time of year, those highs that are reported are reached for about 15 minutes around 2 pm.  And that 7 mph wind, which would feel good at 60 degrees, has a wind chill effect in the 40s.

But I didn't feel like running today, and haven't had my bike out since Sunday (another stupid ride, into the wind 25 miles back home from the trail race).  So I put on the cold weather gear, pumped up the tires, and set off.  I headed into the wind planning on doing 20 miles into the wind, and then an easy 20 miles back with the wind.

It was cold, so I rode hard.  Then I started sweating, which is your bodies natural process for cooling itself off.  It works very well when you are riding into the wind on a 40 degree day.  Almost too well.

Regardless, I made it out and back and was happy I decided to ride.  Spending the whole week inside on the trainer because of my cold was boring as hell.  But this makes me wonder how realistic my winter riding plans might be.  I think I have softened considerably since living in MN.

The only thing that happened of note during the ride was an encounter with a motorist who thought I was taking up too much of the road and needed to move closer to the shoulder.  Their feelings on this issue were so strong that they felt the need to slow down and tell me this through the passenger window.  I attempted to explain that motorists are, by law, supposed to allow cyclists 3 feet of room on roads in IL.  I also explained that, as a taxpayer, I had just as much right to use the road as they did.  They were unreceptive.   And complained about being delayed by having to wait to pass me.  I then pointed out that I was going 20 mph in a 30 mph zone (the point being that many cars drive this slow and are much harder to pass) and, more importantly, how quickly they were progressing to their destination by slowing down to tell me to get off the road.  Then our conversation ended.

*Note: Since turning 30 I have found it hard to stay up much past 11 pm, and seem to naturally wake up at 6 am.  Sleeping in much past 7 am takes a lot of effort. If I had a social life this could be a problem.

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