Thursday, March 12, 2009

94 Miles to Go

The longest six miles ever.

Got home from work tonight determined to get the bike on the road. Now that's its light out until 7pm or so, the whole 'can't bike cause it's dark' excuse is gone, so I got home, changed and headed out. When I say changed, yes, I'm still french rolling my wind pants however, I did upgrade from gardening gloves to snowboarding gloves hoping that my hands would thank me later.

The bike seemed in good shape even though the last time I had it out we were drudging through snow. Still no floor pump so I was glad that the tires hadn't lost any pressure. I threw on my helmet and hit the road. I was planning just a short little down and back on a route I normally run in the summer. I admit I picked this particular route because it has two distinct turn around points. If I was really dying there is a place to turn around that would complete a 3 mile loop, if I was feeling OK, I'd continue on to the other turn around point, which would make it a 6 mile loop. I can hear you...yes, 3 or 6 miles it doesn't matter, they are both embarrassingly pathetic distances. Well, I don't care, leave me alone, I'm new.

As I was pulling out of our neighborhood, I could see Becky's car coming down the hill. She slowed and rolled down the window as I was about to pass. "You look good." she said. Ya right, but isn't she sweet. I told her the plan and took off.

A few notes about biking in 33 degree weather...NOT FUN. Matter of fact I was miserable in a matter of moments. The gloves were better for now, but I haven't been training outside (OK I haven't been training inside either) so my lungs were pretty pissed at me for inhaling this frigid air in mass quantities. Also, my nose was apparently pretty PO'ed as well, evidenced by the unbelievable amount of snot it started spewing out. Really, who knew you could produce soooo much snot in such a short period of time. I guess it's time to admit that I was actually wearing Becky's snowboarding gloves and yes, after today, they definitely need to be washed, a.k.a. de-snotted (sorry Beck, I'll clean 'em don't worry).

At this point I'm at the first turnaround point, and as you may have guessed by the title of this post, I manned up and didn't turn around. Not sure you can call 6 miles versus 3 miles "manning up" but again, leave me alone.

Besides giving me a healthy respect for the sport, riding a vintage cycle has also taught me to pay attention to what I'm doing. I'm starting to find out that the Lotus likes to keep me on my toes by shifting gears whenever it feels like. It's a bit like Herbie the Love bug, right when everything seems to be going fine as I'm "climbing" up a very small hill, the bike shifts into the lowest gear. And by lowest gear, I mean the one that is hardest to pedal, if I got that backwards please correct me. The longer I rode, I started to discover that the bike would give me one or two warning "pings" before it actually clanked into a different gear, so if I was quick enough I could catch it.

Now I've made it to the halfway point, I've turned and headed for home. Down and back rides are like down and back runs, I love knowing that I'm on my way home and that every step or crank gets me closer to done.

By now, the snot is out of control, my left thumb is refusing to feel anything, and I'm starting to feel like I just devoured a huge milkshake in 30 seconds. I was getting an ice-cream head ache like never before. The wind was whipping through my obnoxiously vented helmet, and was freezing my noggin. Mental note, wear a hat under the helmet in such conditions. I'm sure you already knew that, and no, I didn't figure that one out without experiencing it. Oh well.

I made it the rest of the way home and was happy to seek refuge in the warmth of the garage. All in all though, not a bad ride. I breathed hard, my heart rate was up, (albeit for a short time), and I used my legs, so it's a (small) win in my book. Like I said, 94 miles to go, but I'll keep cranking.

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