Monday, December 14, 2009

Ice-Man Cometh

On Saturday I resolved to ride rather than ski Sunday. Sure, I could strap my skis to our Ute and do a skate ski, but I could also ride. Would I be able to ride in -4 weather all winter? Nope. Would I love to ride in -4 come January? Yep. Done, I'd ride.

It took just a bit of work to switch my Steelwool over from cross to road mode. Honjo fenders and road tires back on, lube generously applied, the bike was good to go.

Sunday morning broke as expected. Overcast, mild, no snow. The forecast called for snow here and there, which I took as a green light. With two layers on top of my Russisch Thee embrocated legs, I was out the door before 10.

Off to Wakefield was the plan. See how warm I am, evaluate once there. I'd keep on going and do the Alcove loop if possible, otherwise I'd turn back for the 40k back to town. 15k in I was doing a lot of toe wiggling to get the blood flowing. My hands and everything else were fine, but I could not help my toes much. Winter shoes won't come soon enough. At about 20k the snow started. It was light at first, then picked up, accumulating faster than I'd hoped. I didn't find it painful or particularly cold on my face, but I was concerned about cars. The 105 has lots. I'd already decided it would be best to turn around as soon as I got to Wakefield; now I was trying to decide whether to keep going. I resolved to turn around at 30k, the split to River road.

The snow was definitely picking up. I was rolling on about a centimeter by the time did my 180. At this point I realized I'd been benefiting doubly from a tailwind. Shocker, the wind pretty much always blows that way. Now I was battling a stiff headwind, which was also pelting my face with snow. It hurt, but I got used to it. My beard was taking on snow and ice at a rapid rate.

Thankfully I had lights on the bike and was not struck by a car. I did veer off the non existent shoulder on Notch to make room for a car, then pulled a full on foot down moto slide when my rear tire failed to climb back up. I was on the tops and it felt fine. Stable bike. Rolling through the Hull neighborhood toward town I practiced my moto slides on purpose around about 20 turns. Fun. The snow accumulated on my shins and booties soon turned to brown slush, as did most of the snow on the bike. Not so nice.

Back home at about 12:30 I was more than happy to get into warm clothes and brush off the bike. Most of the snow came off easily, and the clean-up after was pretty simple. Gotta love fenders. The ice on my beard, on the other hand, was tenacious.

Does this mark my last ride outside for 2009? Perhaps, seems likely. That's ok, I'm starting to like the trainer. Seriously. I've never really liked it before, but last year I started to when I was watching inspiring race videos for an hour or two at a time (usually an hour). This year I don't have the video option, so I'm listening to the radio on my phone, or music on the iPod. I'm enjoying it mostly because its quiet time. Sure, there is noise going on, but I can just focus on what I am doing and feeling and work on all the aspects of my pedaling technique. I'm not riding hard, just working on keeping the base going. Little by little, I might just learn to meditate on the bike. That's be fantastic. I don't think I'll try closing my eyes on the rollers though!


Don Peterkin (Golden BC) said...

silly Matt. Go buddy go keep at 'er !

Hey I just read your Battenkill report, you doing it again in 2010 ?

Matt Surch said...


You bet Don, registering next week. If all goes according to plan we'll field a Masters team of 5. At least a few more from the team will be there in 2010. Great race, very much looking forward to it.

The Vegan Vagabond said...

ha! Sunday was crazy.

Gilles had a good idea, he suggested someday we ride to the park with the skis strapped to our backs and go for a ski. Then you wouldn't have to choose between skiing and biking!

You need a beard fender.

madmountainmike said...

A bit crazy riding all the way up there but I guess you were dont before it got really snowy...kudos !

I on the other hand have to say the classic ski in the woods Sunday was beautiful and a tranquil winter setting with big snowflakes falling and no wind and warm temps !

Past 6 days has been 5 on skiis and 2 on bike (if 8 km each way to work counts..)

Oh ya - nice lid in that first something from Aliens ! : - )

the original big ring said...

That's a crazy funny first photo.