In Which the Author Attempts to Become a Full-Year Rider

9:55 PM

To be honest, I was planning on attempting an outdoor ride before I went to work this morning.  I checked out the weather report, and while it looked much more promising earlier in the week (on Monday, they were predicting a high of 45 on Friday…if only), they were confidently predicting 36 degrees by this afternoon.  The roads would be dry – no snow, no ice – there wouldn’t be much wind, in other words, a good day to push my limits on the whole riding in winter thing. 

Then work happened, and that sealed the deal – I needed to get out on my bike.  I haven’t tried to ride in the cold (cold = below 40 degrees, for me) in a couple of years.  The last time I tried, I actually lined my shoes with plastic bags in a (failed) attempt to make a wind-barrier.  Instead of frozen feet, I ended up with wet, frozen feet – not much of an improvement.  Last winter, we didn’t need to think about riding outside, with about 50 inches of snow by February first, there was so much good skiing that the bikes just sat and collected dust while the batteries ran down on the bike computers. 

So warm, I actually glow!
No snow this year, though I hear Colorado and Nebraska got dumped on today, so drastic measures must now be considered.  I put on every piece of technical clothing I own – wool socks, Craft base-layer and jacket, activated feet warmers, three layers of gloves, and a buff pulled up over my nose until it just touched the bottom of my glasses.  All of this for a 90 minute ride.

Was it worth it?  Yes, I would say it was worth it.  At some point you just can’t handle one more minute on the spinner (I hear some people ride the spinner for more than two hours – how?!) - you have to get out on the bike.  And when you get out, even though it isn’t warm, and breathing through the buff fogs up your glasses, and you can’t stop long to eat a snack mid-ride, and the ride is just a countdown until the point when your sweat stops being warm and starts to feel cold…you are still riding outside.  There is a freedom in that.  There is a joy in that.  Even though it is crappy cold.

So, no, I am not, nor will I ever be, one of those year-round riders who can brave the bitter wind-chills, but at least I now have a new low for what I will ride in.  If you can’t have snow, you might as well bike.  

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