Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pesky base miles

Mark Lopresto and I went out Saturday for an almost 4 hour ride. Not a big deal except it was pretty cold and we went out on our mountain bikes. Of course the sun went hiding as soon as we left the heights and only peaked out a few times the whole afternoon. When we started at 12:15 temps were about 26 and 20 when I rolled home at 4:15. A strong wind was out of the west, but further south west around Bedford it seemed to be blowing around every which way.

The great thing about the mountain bikes is they keep the speed low, but the effort up where youd expect to be on your road bike at a much lower wind chill induced bone chilling temperature. We stayed on the winding paths on the Bedford parkway and that adds a tiny bit more time and the curves again slow the pace.

We found an Arabica in Bedford and to the stares of the patrons inside we took a 20 minute break and had some decaf then headed home. Usually the 16 mile trip to this area takes me 55 minutes taking it easy. On the Monster trucks (as Mark calls them) it took over an hour and a half!! Great saddle or Chamois time as others call it.

Howd we fare? I called Thom who had commuted that morning and he said two balaclavas and that was key!! Well my fingers started to hurt as we rolled down Chagrin River Road to Shaker blvd and Marks feet were freezing by then too. But after getting home my hands and body needed only 5 minutes and I was back to normal. These rides serve multiple purposes. As Scott Saifer writes so well in Road Magazine riding in these elements in the winter prepares you for those hard races in crappy spring weather. Toughen up your mind!! For me too it got me out of the basement for the first time all week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday were 45 minute roller rides and Tuesday and Thursday were also 45 minute workouts on the fluid trainer. Not a lot of base miles and not too many calories burned too. I always feel guilty when I dont have some 800 to 1000 calorie burning rides per week.

Also as Mark notes and I have seen as well on my morning dog walks, many people commute by bicycle in the most awful weather every day. As we rode into the headwind into that frigid air the last 8 or so miles I told Mark that this pretty much blows away any excuses for me not to commute. Except cold rain and dangerous road conditions and the fact I actually do need my car at work some days (to carry large and/or heavy packages of generator parts to the post office).

So Mark needs to figure out the cold feet and I think I need to carry around those heat packs and drop them in my gloves after awhile. by comparison I had on one pair of Merino/nylon socks, regular shoes and shoe covers that dont cover the bottom of the shoes and my feet were fine. I could always hammer up every climb-that always warms up the hands, but that wouldn't fit my obsessive training regimen!!! Oh yeah-our frozen water bottles didnt hep on such a long ride. Luckily I had really hydrated pre-ride knowing my bottles would probably freeze. Maybe its time to get a hydration pack. Also we forgot to stoe the second bottles under our jackets-just dumb.

And talk about tough, my 5 year old daughter cross country skid for over two hours Sunday in single digit temps with the Hilltoppers. Now dont get all up in arms, she was bundled up like the kid in A Christmas Story and they took a break in the middle. I tried to ski a bit too, but I dressed to be an observer and I got so hot so fast all bundled up I had to stop every 100' to cool down. After two hours her hands were hot and she couldnt wait to get out of the snow pants. OH to have that 5 year old energy and resistance to cold!!

But wait, this just in form the blog of Brett Davis. I am so not worthy!!

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