Instead of being warm inside, with music blaring to motivate me, I choose to ride outside--with any sweat that does leave my pores, freezing instantly, and the sound of studded tires and a rusty chain making a "delightful" beat. Once in awhile I'll head out on my own, but this usually takes determination I don't have...so I instead round up my friends who are as demented as I am and hit the trails or roads.
Do I call this type of torture (sometimes riding as low as -20F) "fun"? Hmmm...well that depends upon the day you ask me and if it's before the ride or afterwards. Having to leave the comfort of home, dress in so many layers I can barely walk, pack and repack my safety bag--making sure I have two of everything, and have my tears freeze my eyelashes shut isn't always fun, but it's necessary. You see, getting outside for any activity, but especially cycling, is my form of therapy. I would indeed go crazy if I didn't have this outlet.
Last weekend got the ball rolling well with the Freezaroo ride and the Madison Bike Winter fashion show. This weekend I headed up North to the Fox River Valley to do a night gravel ride with the Diablos/Group Ride crew, got out on a short road ride and ended the weekend with the first F*CK the Cold ride of the year.
|Civil twilight on a gravel trail in the Fox River Valley|
|The ice and mud left over from that ride|
Okay, so the conditions weren't really that bad--all days hovering around freezing or just below--and I had really cool folks to keep me motivated two of the days (along with beer, whiskey and coffee). But tonight they are calling for the most dreaded condition of all--freezing rain. This is where things begin to get ugly and I start becoming a bit difficult to be around because I can't bike or run safely. If I want to work out, I am forced to do so at the gym (please refrain from laughter because I work at a gym).
|First F*CK the Cold ride|
photo by Johnnymac
With hopes of the roads becoming ice free soon, I begin loading my schedule with outdoor group rides for the rest of the winter so I don't become a sloth like creature. I beg of you...if you see me slouched on my couch with a piece of pizza in one hand, a recess peanut butter cup in another and a bottle of bourbon sitting next to me on the table, slap me silly and drag me outside.
|If you see me with a beer, pizza, chocolate or bourbon in hand|
after a ride...DO NOT take it away from me! This one is a Christmas
Ale from Bare Bones Brewery (a bike benefits location!)