Tuesday, December 05, 2006

24 degree Mountain Bike Ride

On the way to work the other day I passed a bundled up cyclist toodling down the road by the office. I hadn't really thought about riding outside this winter but this guy changed my mind. Last night I pumped up the tires on my mountain bike, made sure the skewers were tight, and fiddled with the stem, all in preparation for going out for a spin this morning.

Begrudgingly I trundled out of the house at about 7:30 AM. It wasn't as cold as I thought it would be (weather.com was saying 24 degrees F, feels like 18 degrees F). I chugged over to the beaches in Westport, drafted a school bus for 75 yards between two stops, then practiced trackstands for about 8 more stops over the next half mile. I only started to regret riding outdoors about 45 minutes into the ride when I started to tire, my shifter froze up, and I started to feel a bit of a chill.

It was all good though. I forgot how smooth the ride is with two inch tires - sort of like getting out of a sports car and into an SUV. Got back in one piece and started a mental checklist for things to mod for the next ride - tape the bar ends (the bare metal is really cold!), lube the shifter with something that doesn't freeze so I have more than one gear after 45 minutes, and if really, really ambitious, cut down all the cables about 4 inches. As I write this I know that I will do none of the above before tomorrow's ride.

For reference sake, I wore one lower layer, two upper layers. Details: a pair of Nalini windstopper tights, a thicker base layer by Cannondale, the team issue Champion Systems winter jacket, SideTrak booties, slim Specialized winter gloves, a Jamoka headsock as a neckwarmer, and a Castelli knit hat under my helmet. Oh and some regular cycling socks and shoes. And I was fine in the mid 20's.

Now to bed so I can do this tomorrow.

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