Monday, March 23, 2009

Back to Reality

A bike does not a cyclist make.

So...I got the new bike in the garage and all I can think about all day today is getting home and taking it for a spin. I got home late the day I bought it and surfed all day Sunday, so today was the day. I should mention that along with my bike, I purchased a few accessories as well. I got clip in pedals, an under seat pouch, water bottle cages, a bike computer, and biking gloves. I mention this because the demise of my first ride on the new bike, came from one of these extra purchases.

Clip In Pedals - An obvious newbie disaster waiting to happen. Lucky for me, I have yet to install the pedals as I don't yet have shoes, so the pedals didn't hurt me today.

Under seat pouch - I'm trying to think of ways that an innocent, under the seat pouch could ruin a ride. Maybe if the pouch was filled with some sort of acid that burned through the pouch and then melted my rear tire. Nah, as you may have guessed, no melted tire, this suspect is in the clear.

Water Bottle Cages - I'm not even gonna try to be clever, it wasn't the cages.

Bike Computer - The computer might make a ride less enjoyable by telling you that you haven't really gone that far, or that you're not really going that fast, but that's not the type of ride disaster I'm talking about. Next.

Wait, that only leaves one last suspect...the biking gloves. How could bike gloves ruin a ride you ask? Good question, I'm glad you brought it up. OK, OK, if I'm honest, it wasn't really the gloves' fault. More likely, it was the person wearing the gloves that set the disaster in motion. Yes, that would be me.

My eagerness got the best of me today. I raced home from work, changed and headed to the garage. Yes, it was then that I noticed a chill in the air. But it's not that cold out right? Having ridden a few times in shorts, I find it hard to revert back to my french rolled wind pants, so here I am, in shorts and my new fingerless biking gloves. Now, mind you, I'm still in the garage at this point. Why not run back inside and put some pants on. Why not run back inside and pull on Becky's snowboarding gloves (ah the good ol' days).

No, that would have made too much sense. It's not that cold I tell myself. At this point, my kid with a new toy brain is not being very rational. Instead of doing the old down and back ride that I've done a few times and since I now have a full array of real gears to choose from, I decided to go on a new, hilly route that should be about ten miles. Short yes, but I'm starting at about 6:30 and daylight (and temperature) are fading fast.

Things go really well for about... I dunno... maybe 217 yards. Then I realize I've made a gross miscalculation. Why Clay? Why don't you turn around? You're still so close to home, please turn around.

Unfortunately, I didn't hear you when I was riding and my ignorant self kept cranking. I got about 2 miles from home and then it really started to set in. It's beyond cold at this point. I'm seriously worried that I'm doing real damage to my hands in their stupid, new fingerless gloves. (yes, I know it's me not the gloves) Excruciating pain has suddenly brought clear reason to my stubborn brain and I know turning around is a must. I head for home but the unfortunate fact is that while I want to race home, the faster I go, the worse it gets for my exposed flesh. Luckily, since I've gone on a few rides, I'm now able to take a hand off the handlebars without losing control or doing the "town drunk", wobbly ride. I managed to ride the whole way home with one hand on the bars and the other in a fist, out of the wind, trying to salvage a ounce of was a losing battle.

I hope someone out there has been in a similar boat before, not that I enjoy others suffering, but there has to be someone out there, who understands the unbearable pain I was experiencing. I've had cold hands snowboarding before. I've had cold hands surfing in the middle of winter. I've even had my hands get cold washing them in the sink before the water heats up, but nothing has ever been even close to as painful as this. I make it home only to find that I'm now locked out. I have to bang on the door with my handcicles to get Becky to open it up. To her credit, she didn't expect me home from my ride so soon and was upstairs.

Now this part surprised me a bit. I thought I was out of the woods when I finally got in the house, but oh, it got waaaay worse before it got better. As my hands start to warm up, they now feel like they're on fire from the inside out. Crazy. Only time helped. About a half hour later the numbness/burning/cold had worn off and only my pride was left damaged. No frostbite or black fingers thank goodness. Come to find out, it was 28 degrees with 15-20 mile an hour wind. Not a good day to try out new fingerless gloves.

Lesson learned; no matter how excited I am, check the weather and plan accordingly. Also, just because it's "spring" and the sun is shining, doesn't mean that it ain't bitterly cold out. The good news is that for a brief time, the new bike performed well. A more thorough report to come, once I get it out on a respectable ride. Stay turned.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah. But how was the new bike?

    Seriously, I can identify: I sometimes wear my short-gloves in too-cold weather.

    However, I am waiting for your first report with the clipless pedals. Keep in mind: everyone falls. Maybe not on your first try with them, but at somepoint, some time, you will fall. Generally, it's when you're moving slow, like starting or stopping, or making a slow-speed turn around, or something. You'll be embarassed, but probably not too hurt. Don't be too embarassed: everyone does it, has done it, or will do it. (I've been riding and racing for years, and just fell over this past weekend. At a race. While I was stopped. Very embarassing.)


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