Saturday, November 1, 2014

Testing the, er, frozen waters

"Brrrrr" and "it's cold" have now become the most common sayings at my house.  Neither I or my husband like what mother nature has dealt us this week.  With both of our circulatory systems still running on more like 15W40 vs. the sludge it will look like come spring, neither of us can stay warm unless bundled up beneath a pile of blankets with hot tea/coffee in hand.  And no, we don't keep our house below 60 degrees (60 at night, 62 during the day).

So what comes to mind as I'm shivering in hopes of providing an involuntary heat source?  Bourbon?, bacon?, a whiplash move back to Hawaii?  Yes, yes and yes.  Biking?  Um, yeah, well this is where it gets tricky.  I refuse to put my bike on the trainer--I mean dust collector--in the basement.  I hate it, I mean really hate it.  And besides, I have this new toy named Orange Crush (a Salsa Fargo) that I need to break my body into.  So yeah, biking came to mind.

The weekend kicked off on Thursday evening with a roll down the H8TR trail (Badger State Trail if you want to get technical) with friends to drink and eat candy in the tunnel.  I showed up on my 2.2 Conti Race Kings (they came with the steed) knowing full well it was overkill but feeling a bit to lazy to switch over to my Clement MSO's.  Besides, it was going to be cold and the extra weight of the bike (several pounds heavier than my Lemond Poprad), and the extra rolling resistance, would warm me up.  It would be my first over 20 mile ride on OC and a good time to test a few things out before I went making big changes.  Fifteen miles into the ride, seeing everyone roll with barely a push to the pedal (most were on road or under 40mm slicker tires), I began to doubt my choice.

Krampus met us under the bridge with beer and candy
photo by Mr.McNeill
Refueling in the tunnel

I made it down and back thanks to a) refueling supplied partly thanks to Krampus and b) the kindness of those who kept the pace pretty casual.  What I realized quickly, however, is I won't be using OC for trail rides like this.  Nope, my new steed will be kept for flowy mountain bike trails, fire roads and chunky gravel--like the kind found on Skull-N-Bones this fall.  None of this push for pushing sake shit, I'm all about taking the path of least resistance.

Militant start
Yesterday's flag ripping winds were around 30-40mph so I went for a run instead.  Yes, I run in the winter.  No sneers or heckling please.  But this morning the winds died down to a "calm" 10mph Northerly and with that the temps dropped to a "cool" 26 degrees.  I woke thinking it was a "perfect" morning to ride.  Although I had to be at work late morning to teach a couple workshops, I decided to join the Militant gravel crew for a bit to get some more miles in.  This was my second below 30 degree ride of the season and I usually don't get used to this stuff until January or February--when I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Following the morning 35 miler, I headed down to what will hopefully be an annual event--the Day of the Dead Ride.  Regular bikes, cargo bikes carrying musicians, face painting, home made tamales, coffee, hot chocolate--now this is the sort of thing that takes my mind off the cold.  The sun was out, folks were smiling, tummies were full and all was good.  Needless to say, my roll home was a bit slower due to the extra baggage I was carrying in my tummy.  Note to self:  ride lighter bike when riding out to eat to keep strength to weight ratio in check.

Day of the Dead Ride

Tomorrow I will take my road bike out since it's been feeling a bit underutilized.  There are baby goats out there bleating my name and by god I'm going to answer even though the start will once again be below freezing.  At least no one will hear my whining over their cries to be fed, and if you see me dancing a little jig, it's not dancing at all--more like trying to bring blood back into my brick like feet.

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