Sunday, October 28, 2012


     Regular readers will know that my minimum temperature for a recreational ride is 40 degrees (5C).  Also, my Sunday ride (when doing solo) is the 42 mile 360 Loop.  The forecast low for this morning was 40F and at 6am at our house it was 41.5 and dropping.  I had loaded the car and set out clothing last night in preparation.  The forecast included clear skies and a light wind out of the north.  Perfect!
     In the summer, I plan for wheels down 10 minutes before official sunrise.  It is still light enough to navigate safely, and gets me finished before the sun begins to bake the body.  In the winter, I plan for departure at sunrise.  Since we are still on daylight savings time for another week, 7:30am was my estimate.
     There is method to my madness.  In the first 30 minutes there are three decents and I can count on a marked drop in temperature, maybe as much as 10 degrees.  But then come the hills of Loop 360 and beautiful sunshine beating my back.  Usually, after climbing to Bee Cave Road, I can stop and divest myself of extraneous outer garments.  Now you have the background for today's narrative.
What it felt like
     Getting dressed was a chore.  Upper body (in order): heart rate monitor, base layer, jersey, wind jacket.  Lower body: socks, bike shorts, tights (today, fleece).  Head: wide ski headband (hand-me-down from son, Kurt), helmet, sunglasses.  Hands: long-fingered gloves.  Lips: vaseline.  No way was I going to be chilled.  Somehow, I lost track of time and left the house at 7am and arrived at my departure spot at 7:15am.  It only takes five minutes to park and be ready.  As I adjusted my sunglasses, I knew something wasn't right.
     Warming up through the neighborhood, I realized that in my calculations of when to leave (should have checked the weather channel), I blithely arrived at 7:30 because it was light out at that time yesterday morning.  Actual sunrise today was 7:42am.  Ok, now we see that I'm twenty minutes ahead of schedule.  Since very little of my body was exposed, the downhills just served to make my eyes water.  The remaining body parts worked fine and handled the temperature drop without complaint.  But when it came to the hills, no actual sunlight was hitting the highway.  Therefore, no clothing was removed.
     About 75 minutes into the ride, I finally stopped and switched out the headband, mainly because the wide ski band started to slip over my eyes.  My ears complained for about five minutes, but after that all was well.  I had regular bike gloves and a space in my pocket for the wind jacket, but, sunshine or not, it remained chilly.
     All during the ride, I was comfy.  But I wasn't fast.  The computer tells me my heart-rate was above average, but the speed was not.  I had zero oomph in the legs.  Ergo, my time came in twenty minutes slower than average.  I'm going to hypothesize that the extra ten heart beats went to keeping me warm; that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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