Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bitter Tuesday Ride

Monday was crazy, the temperature went up to 57 degrees and rained hard with thunder, then it changed over to snow as the arctic air made it's way back in. I was bummed when I started to see snow since I knew that without it conditions would be prime all week for bike rides. By the next morning it was just a coating of snow and really cold, 9F cold! I had desperation to go out for a ride but every time I was near a window or let my dogs out I felt just how nasty cold it was and it turned me off. By 11am my son was getting tired and ready for his nap when I said screw it, I can do this, I would ride Hale so I could always bail to just ride home. I would ride flattish trails to see what there was for traction. I geared up pretty light and turned out even that was too much clothes. Armed with the Raleigh since this was going to be an unpredictable ride, I set off on the trail and found it not all that bad. The snow and sun light made it a pretty magical setting as I carefully chugged along. When the climbing began that's where I quickly lost traction on a steep pitch. It still was not that bad, I was pretty warm and was pumped to realize so far I could do a full almost normal ride. Some ares had puddled and frozen over, this made for sketchy moments but as long as you keep the wheels straight I could roll over any snow covered ice. Sometimes I would break through the ice and it would splash and instantly freeze on my bike. When Al's loop closed out I went across the road and took the dirt road onto the standard down to Rufus Brook. Holy crap that road was sketchy, I could ride over some and broke through some but eventually did get back on single track. I was able to pick up speed and ride everything just fine, just had to be extra careful since I have such a length of riding season left and do not want to get injured. My hands were beautifully toasty, I was wearing my new Gore Bike Gloves my lovely wife bought me for Christmas. I must admit I did not know if I was going to be able to use them this winter since they have been overkill on even 20F rides. Turned out they were just right even on Grip mode. I have never wore nice gloves like these, they are pretty thick but they do function, and can also make a great pair of ski gloves. I wanted to take the big loop out, but I knew the trouble areas for traction so I took the easy way out which was double track. I dunked my entire foot crossing the stream and my good old 5.10 still kept me toasty despite a lot of splashing from all the other stream crossings. The drive train was pissed with so much splashing, chain rings and chain wold ice up instantly with any water creating a rubbing tire on a frame kind of feel. That was about the only unpleasant thing about the ride. This was a real special ride, I was really glad I sacked up and got out there.

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