Friday, February 14, 2014

50 IS THE NEW 40

I'm not talking about age, that train left the station years ago.  No, it is temperature (F).  Up until this year, 40 degrees has been the lowest I would start a practice ride in (I've done lower but that was on tours where you took whatever weather was dealt you).  This year I've bailed on the cold days. I don't have my friends Byran (I don't know what his definition of cold is, he's been out enjoying himself and came back with ice in his beard) and Ray to entice me out.  They live in Oregon and South Carolina, respectively, and we haven't gotten together recently for our annual ride for various reasons.
    To be precise, my actual prerequisite was 40 degrees with blue skies and a light wind (not from the north).  Now I feel better at 50 degrees.  One of my other criteria is how my body reacts to being chilled.  I can tell almost immediately if something is amiss.  Usually after 15 minutes of cycling the body is nicely warmed, protected in appropriate winter riding gear.  But for the first few minutes, a fierce battle is waged, with all  systems working to combat the cold.  If I'm not fighting, and continue to shiver or remain cold despite the clothing, then I heed the clue, and return to the car or home and start a regimen of ginger tea, vitamin C and Zinc, neti pot.
      But it is attitude more than anything that keeps me cycling in the kitchen or spin class rather than suffer in the cold.  My definition of fun has been modified by ten degrees.  We have had a lot of cold days this year, and I've done a lot of spin class and trainer, so it isn't like I've been a couch potato.    
     Other than fun to get me outside, there is fear.  My first time-trial is next weekend.  With fewer than 300 miles in the first six weeks of the year, I need to get some miles in the legs.  With that in mind, I sucked it up day before yesterday and left the house with 46 degrees showing on the thermometer.  Truthfully, the temp. was rising nicely and I fully expected 50 degrees at the start line.  It only fluctuated between 46 and 47, but I really needed the workout.  With a stout wind out of the northwest and a static temperature, I suffered through, feeling accomplished.  Yesterday was 50 degrees (when I started, reaching 70 several hours after I finished) and a more moderate, southerly wind, and I did the first time-trial practice since November.
     Temperature-wise, the outlook for the next few weeks seems like I'll be out riding.  That's a good thing.

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