and sometimes the bar eats you…
I had a long day on Saturday working around the house, had friends over for dinner, slept a paltry 3ish hours between 11 and 2:30, but still really wanted to do the ramble ride to D.C. today. After laying in bed for about 2 hours trying to get a few more winks I got up, checked the weather, milled around the house cleaning the kitchen, making breakfast, coffee, final preparations and freshly lubing my chain. Around 6:30 I decided to take off early and loop around the neighborhood a few times before heading downtown. I figured at the least I’d ride out to the meeting point and see how the first 10 miles went. Most days I don’t warm up for half an hour anyway. The leg to the first rest stop was west into the wind so If the ride downtown went well, then I could go out another 10 or 20 miles without too much extra risk since a bailout would consist of riding back into town with a tailwind.
Maybe it was the weather or being tired, or something else, but every time I’d go to step on the gas it just fell flat. In my non-rush to leave the house I left my bottles behind and didn’t notice it till I went for a drink around 7:10. Clothes and equipment worked well aside from my feet. Before this year I never really rode any ‘serious’ winter miles. Sure I ride my short commute every day in any weather, but it’s a consequence free environment where if you get cold and wet, who cares because it’s over in 30 minutes at the most. I picked out my first pairs of ‘bike pants’ this fall and they’ve worked well. My torso, face and hands are pretty well covered, but my feet were not prepared. I chose my regular keen shoes with 2 layers of socks (cotton over wool ski socks). Within the first 20 minutes I knew I wasn’t going to last all day. I tried to warm my toes by keeping them moving any way I could but it was to no avail.
Between the feet and how tired I was, I knew the ride just wasn’t meant to be. I made it to the start, chat for a few minutes with Bob/Isaias/Dave#1, wished them a good ride and turned back. Another group ride going on a short loop around Baltimore passed a few seconds before I rolled off and I tried to catch up with them while they were heading in the direction of Fort McHenry. I lost sight of even them less than a minute later. The way home up Charles St. was a cavalcade of red lights and for the first time I was running them whenever I could b/c I just had to keep moving.
Glad I got out of the house and tested the waters, but I was equally glad to take a hot shower and finally sleep for an hour between 9 & 10am. (Ask my wife, I NEVER sleep during the daytime…) High points for the day were riding into a small pre-dawn snow squall on Falls Rd. and seeing the Washington Monument lit up against a cloudy morning sky that was a nice shade of dark blue. No pictures. As mentioned before I didn’t want to stop for much.
time on the bike – 1:16’00” | 16.47mi. | 13.0avg. (bleh.)
Difficult equipment choices to make over the next month…
- Do I try to just find better socks than my current choices? I incorrectly figured that if my socks were good enough for people playing in the snow all day they would be good enough for me.
- Do I try stuffing newspaper in my shoes, wrapping my feet in plastic bags, or doing any of the other stuff I’ve read about in forums to keep feet warm? (maybe I’m just unlucky, but I never seem to get conclusive info from forums). I don’t really want to be dependent on chemical warmers, but I’m starting to think It might be a good idea to have one in my saddlebag for emergencies.
- Do I start experimenting with my Time clipless pedals, Pearl Izumi shoes, and toe covers again? I’ve grown to like modulating my foot position on the pedal between the toe and the ball of the foot, but having the clips in one place is convenient if you’re going to have some sort of cover on the front of your shoe that could get caught on your pedal if your foot was shifting around.
- Or do I get a pair of well insulated low cut hiking shoes/boots. Normally for cold weather and wet riding around town I just wear my Danner Hiking boots. They’re plenty warm and I almost put them on this morning, but they’re so heavy I couldn’t imagine spinning them in circles for 10 hours straight. I’m kind of leaning in this direction first because if it doesn’t work out, at least I get a decent pair of shoes out of the bargain.
Difficult physical changes to make over the next month…
Over the last 7 months I’ve gotten away from any of the mild strength training and stretching/yoga style exercise I did last year. I need to get back to this and recommit to eating better BEFORE the holidays get into full gear.