Slow ride . . .

10 02 2007

snowmanToo slow! 4.5 hours in the saddle today was a bit much for 25 degrees and 15 mph winds. Not sure what I was thinking when I left the house, but despite the weather, I managed to do one of my favorite rides and the cold air always does something to sharpen the countryside and the views were beautiful.

Many of the boys were out celebrating the all too rare appearance of Richie Rich in town and I got little in the way of positive feedback when I called around this morning (In their defense, circumstance kept me from the bar last night, so I didn’t have quite the same handicap). After dragging my feet all morning in the hopes of not riding alone I reached into the quiver and pulled out the cross bike. Its been a while since she had seen the light of day, and I was hoping that the high rolling resistance and low speeds would make a blustery ride a bit more bearable. Out through campus and over to Julian Pike I had to make a few wardrobe adjustments to get the temperature right, but once I had settled in it was pretty bearable. I figured that the Mountain Rd. ride would do well today because sections into the wind were largely sheltered by Sandy Ridge and the open section on the return would put the wind at my back. The first climb up Julian Pike was quiet, cold, and slow, but by the top I had my body temperature up and my legs warm and I was feeling pretty good. Surprisingly the descent to 220 was not as bad as I feared and I managed to hit the bottom with some of that hard earned body heat still in tact. Across 220 and up onto the ridge side I hit the steepest sections of the ride, with a few short 15 degree pitches and I grunted in my 42×27 and struggled to find a descent grip on the bars as my over-mitts left me with minimal dexterity. As I turned onto the contour on Flat Rock Rd, a guy in full thermal Carhartt’s loading a flatbed with logs yelled out to me that I’d end up with frostbite (sorry, kids, this is not an allusion to later events). Flatrock turns into Mountain Rd and follows the contour of the ridge all the way down to Bald Eagle. Its a spectacular rolling road with several unpaved sections and traverses several orders of economic magnitude from Appalachian tar paper shacks to pricey mountain side homes. The dirt sections held last week’s snow but were well packed down from the traffic and gave the impression that I was riding somewhere considerably less temperate than central PA (sorry, no pictures, my hands were too damn cold!). After dropping down into Bald Eagle I had the wind at my back for the climb up 350 and over into Warriors Mark. I stopped in at the Unimart in Warriors Mark for a luke warm coffee and a chance to get some blood flowing into the hands and feet. At the counter I managed to knock the coffee over because I could not manage fine enough motor control to pick the cup up and I decided that I should take 10 minutes to regain control of my limbs. Thanks to a packet of Hot Hands that Cecilia had given me a few weeks ago, I managed to get the fingers warm and keep them warm for remainder of the ride. From the Unimart home I had the demon wind at my back and I was able to make reasonable time and stay pretty warm. I rolled back on Dry Hollow to Whitehall and through the neighborhoods home. Inside I was greeted to exuberant pawing from Sophie and the oddly satisfying pain of rewarming my toes in the shower. 4 and a half hours out, roughly 60 miles (maybe less, but it was damn cold and I’m calling it 60!). Now, with a little of the black nectar to warm the brain back up, I’m off to make up for performance beverages I missed last night.

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