#bikehour – 1/30/2015 through 2/1/2015

February 1, 2015

#bikehour extends to 16 days, with two cold, rainy weekend ride days under the belt; and it leaves behind its first month (not a complete month though) and enters its second.

Friday I got in 13.5 miles in an evening ride in Ottawa. East on 68 up to Wal Mart distribution center, around their giant parking lot a time or two, back, and then up Montana to Sand Creek and back home via 59.

Saturday was the first rainy-day ride on the streak. Left the house (Ottawa) about 6:20 AM. 32-35 degrees out and raining; sub-30 degree wind chills. Not idyllic weather. For the first time, I rocked my full rain ensemble: usual outfit with the exception of head gear, which was, in this order, cycling cap, hood of rain/wind jacket, bike helmet.

I rode Storm, and she doesn’t have fenders, so I knew it was unavoidable that I’d get wet and somewhat gritty. It had already been raining for several hours, and roads were soaked.

Being still raining, I put all the stuff that I carry in my belt-bag, into a ziploc bag. Actually, I put two items that I carry with me in memory of my Mom into a ziploc, then put THAT bag into a second ziploc, which held all the other stuff (a gel or two, spare tubes, tire changing stuff). Wrapped it up and put in belt bag. Stayed bone dry. Phone also got the double-ziploc treatment. No earphones and music on this ride.

Route was a very simple one – up to Princeton and back (without the “cemetery connector”). 16.6 miles. I wanted something with very few turns, to acquaint myself with the wet-weather riding I was getting into. I’ve not ridden a ton in rain, and not at all in 4 months (almost to the day).

Ride was fairly uneventful. It was pretty epic what with the cold steady rain which fell wire to wire on the ride. My body was fairly chilled when I reached the house. More musings on winter gear to come in a separate, non-#bikehour post.

Sunday’s ride was not quite as pleasant. Saturday night I stayed up north with a friend watching the UFC PPV, so I didn’t get to sleep until close to 1 AM. Woke up just a few hours later to head out into more of the same as Saturday’s ride, before conditions get REALLY bad today from a wind perspective. Precipitation is supposed to taper off this afternoon, but temps will be falling to “really really” cold and winds will really pick up. I didn’t want a piece of that, so wanted to get the ride knocked out early. As a consequence, my body is still pretty fatigued and this morning’s ride – some of it into a respectable north headwind – wasn’t the easiest.

Headed out around 7:30 from the area of the office where I work. I rode a simple “Tetris L” shaped route. Nall south to 143rd, west on that to Switzer, back north to 135th, east on 135th (very little traffic at this time on a cold rainy Sunday morning, so I had the full right lane with no issues), back to Metcalf, north on that to 119th and back to the start/finish. Most of the ride went ok, but I started to hit some kind of wall of fatigue on Swizer. I attribute a combination of not a ton of sleep last couple days, riding in cold/rain, headwind, and body still getting used to riding every day. The turn north on Metcalf was especially tough. I crawled up Metcalf in some pretty low gears, looking forward to getting into warmer, dry clothes and a good breakfast.

Riding the bike in general is about taking the bad with the good; and attempting to build a long streak will certainly contain a good portion of both. All in all, while this weekend’s rides contained some challenges, on balance they were great, and enjoyable; and, as is pretty much always the case, I’m glad I did them.

Weather tomorrow looks very dicey; for example, at 5 AM in Ottawa it’s forecast to be in single-digits with sub-zero windchill. From a sheer TEMPERATURE perspective, I could handle 10 miles of that; but I’m concerned about possible icing on the road with all this precip. So I will play it by ear, knowing that I still allow myself the weather-mandated-bailout option of riding indoors.  I was fairly sure I’d have to exercise that option today; I was able to avoid it, but tomorrow it may be unavoidable.


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