Monday, December 15, 2014

Eye Opener

Headed South out of town on the rail-trail
The weekend was a doozy, for sure. So warm for December here that I cannot remember the last time I saw two days in a row like that and now today as well, but we're back to work, of course, and tomorrow things are to return to "normal" around here.

I think the last time I recall a really warm mid-December day was waaaay back when I still had a carbon fiber road bike, (YES! I really did have one once!), and I rode it on December 15th with just a bib short and jersey on. That had to have been almost 20 years ago.

Anyway, I had to pick one day to ride because the other would be household fix-it day. I chose Saturday, since Sunday it was supposed to rain, but as far as I know, it never did. But boy howdy! Was it ever humid here! 100% they said and it definitely was foggy. While every cyclist worth their salt was out at one time or another, I rode alone since that was how it worked out.

 I wasn't feeling all that great so a late morning sleep in was allowed and I didn't get out of the house until just after noon. I saw that the temperatures were in the low 40's and that I would be riding straight into the wind. I figured a typical wet wind that would cause a chill would call for some wool layers. I put on a long sleeved wool base layer, a wool jersey, and my ever enduring Endura Stealth II jacket over all. The lowers consisted of a wool base layer, bibs, and a Endura 3/4's Humvee pant on top. Wool base layer gloves and Answer full finger Winter gloves over that. My Planet Bike beanie and the Bell Super topped it all off and on the feet went some long wool socks and the Mavic winter boots.

This is pretty much what it looked like the entire ride. Gloomy! Wet! 

At one point, the haze parted and I actually saw the Sun and blue patches of Sky! (Image rendered in B&W for effect)

Down at the crossroads.
Well, I was comfortable as I rolled down the bike path, but as I got into the steady headwind and on gravel, I was starting to burn up. Before long I was really laboring, and I could feel the sweat rolling on my skin, so I pulled off and stripped down to my base layer on top and felt........perfectly normal. It wasn't all that cold at all! Off with the wool jersey and outer gloves. Fortunately the Stealth II jacket has a cavernous zippered rear pocket in which I could stuff the unwanted layers. I briefly contemplated ditching the beanie but opted to just roll it up instead so it uncovered my ears. A shoe adjustment or two, and then I was off again, beating against that stiff Southerly wind.

It was a really weird day out. If I turned my head to one side or the other, my glasses would instantly fog over, and I could actually see vapor rushing by. It was almost as if I were like a high flying jet leaving a contrail. The gravel down South was dry, maybe bordering on flour-like in consistency as far as the dust in it went. It was obvious that the roads were mostly soaking up every ounce of moisture they could get here. However; other riders up North of town were encountering wet roads and looked like they had been sprayed with concrete afterward. I am glad I chose the Southern route! I didn't get a lick of dirt on me and the bike looked perfectly fine after the ride.

That's a patch of blue sky way up there, no?
I still was feeling like crap on the Southern leg of my ride barely able to maintain 12 mph at a steady pace. My legs hurt, and maybe this fat bike riding screwed me up for the normal bikes, because it was very unnatural and uncomfortable for the first ten miles. I almost turned around and went home, but I decided to just take what the ride was giving me and roll with it. That meant not going all that fast and suffering, I guess.

Barren fields and wide, empty expanses are the norm here for the Winter.
I decided to not go quite all the way to the county line and turned left on Reinbeck Road. Then it was about three miles to Ansborough and a right. The winds were more favorable in these directions and I picked up speed and the legs hurt less. Things felt better all the way around and I was starting to get comfortable on the Tamland again. Now I wasn't suddenly tearing it up, but at least this was semi-enjoyable now instead of being a sufferfest.

With the winds at my back on Ansborough I was starting to keep the bike in the 20's for speed and I was feeling even better than before. However; I knew it was a short lived "feel good" and I wasn't about to test myself again against that wind. I continued on into town and just before I reached the stop light on San-Mar-Nan I saw the light go green. Sprint!! I actually made it under the yellow light, and then I slowed down and felt satisfied that I had the energy left to ramp up a small sprint for a light at the end of a ride. Well, it wasn't the end exactly. I still had to go about two miles or so to get there. Along the city streets I saw a small pack of roadies. They maybe were heading out. It was a great day to hit the roads, at least for this time of year.

My ride ended and I was wasted. Flat out burned up. I actually went down for a nap I guess I have some work to do, or something to get over. At any rate, that ride was an eye opener for sure.

No comments: