Just like Dean Martin, the desire to stay indoors was strong Saturday morning. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crFQpOCDfEc ). Each time an email arrived from a prospective rider (Bill R, Joe M, Bill W) bowing out for one reason or another (instead of fessing up to cold weather aversion) my own thoughts ran along the same lines. Fortunately, Tom, Frank, and Birmingham visitor, Will Hill all were still on for the ride, so I HAD to show up. It was 28F and calm as the Sun rose, but winds were forecast for the day. The damp air persuaded me to dress warmer than last week. I went with a substantial Spot (Canadian brand) jersey over a turtle neck Joneswares base layer up top, unpadded wool Joneswares shorts under heavy vintage Italian wool tights below, wool socks inside Sealskinz on my feet and Ibex wool gloves. Keeping my head warm was a Rivendell wool cap and a merino ear band. I went for a test ride at 6:30 and was still too cold, especially on any sort of downhill run, so I went back and added a lightweight ("Randonneurs of China" design from www.BikeJournal.com ) wind jacket.
At 7:40 I rolled out the door and pedaled up to our meeting location where Will Hill was getting ready, Tom was standing in the Sun, arms outstretched, like a cormorant, warming itself with wide open wings.
As it happens, I did not get a picture of Tom doing a bird pose...
As it turned out, I was possibly the most lightly clad of the group, other than Ron, who wore just his shorts today. Since he pedals at 125 rpm, his knees generate their own warm air zone, and he apparently needs no added protection. Or that's what he'd like us to believe. Here are the others at a 4-way stop in Coosada, as we waited for Ron to reconnect with us.
My suggestion of heading north into the hills from the start while the air was calm did not meet with general agreement, so we started off in the other direction. By the time we turned north on Coosada Parkway, the NW wind had already picked up, and there were no hills to block it. The wind served to slow us down, but it was great training, if cold. Like hills, the more headwind you ride into, the less it bothers you to do it.
Today's ride was pretty uneventful. Frank and I trundled along at our usual pace, although at times I lagged back some distance. Tom and Will Hill ran on ahead and then waited at some convenient point for us to catch them. Will Hill is a lawyer in Birmingham and was on his "rat bike" today (Titanium-Carbon Ritchey Breakaway) He lolled most of the day in 53/11 I think, even up the rollers we encountered. WIll Hill LOOKS like a real rider. Everything is correct about his bike and gear and fits properly. After about 2/3 of the ride though (but only 500' of the 2,600' of climb on the route!) he announced that he needed to tear back down to his car to get to another committment with his wife. Too bad he missed the fun part! We pointed him in the direction he needed to go, and he probably still got in about 50 miles, even if it was just easy rollers down US 31.
By the way, I was on my "rat bike" too. A '95 Rivendell that could use a paint job, and with a saddle that I hack-fixed, but whose leather top occaisionally pops off the nose and needs to be replaced on a ride. It's so comfortable though! (I bought it used and the 1st guy over stretched it. I bought a longer bolt and got it back in servce, but my Home Depot bolt lacks the retainer pin on the bolt head needed to secure the nose piece. It does a decent enough job)
Temps were just a little warmer at Posey's (our 3rd and last store stop) so we took off some layers. Frank took his mid layer off but replaced his jacket. I took my jacket off and was cold until the moisture in my clothes had dried out (about 5 mins on the road) and was fine from then on)
You can see that I tried the Sealskinz OVER my tights today and that worked out very nicely. No shoe covers are needed. I think on my next shorter outing, I'll try Sheldon Brown's idea of double wool socks in just sandals. Leafing through an old Bicyle Quarterly, I see a picture of him on a snowy day looking happy with just that set up. Although we saw Ron some in the 1st 1/4 of the ride, he took some alternate roads and we did not cross paths again. A later email assured that he enjoyed his outing and made it home safely.
A bit over 64 miles for this ride, at 13.5 average (more than 1/2 the way into a stiff breeze). 2,600' of total climb. HR avg around 146 and I was over 160 a lot more than I'm accustomed, but did not feel exhausted by it. Maybe my cardio capacity is improving? It was my legs that hurt today on the climbs, but gearing down and just easing on up the inclines was the solution. The more I ride, the better that situation will be. I am happy to have the 1st Metric Century of 2011 done. Tom is happy to have his 1st Metric Century ever done. Way to go, good buddy! We'll get you to a full century this year for sure. We'll have to pick the cuisine we want to ride to first, though. Frank was happy to have an easy ride after his 200 Km brevet last week down in Jacksonville.
Got a beginner ride Sunday afternoon, so a recovery ride for me, and an introduction to cycling for some new people. Good stuff!