Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is it cold, or is it just me

Now that we're into November, it's kind of a sad time for the enthusiastic road cyclist here in Texas. This is the sad time of the year when it starts getting too cold to ride outdoors. Once again, those readers who live in Colorado, or Utah, of Montana, probably consider we Texans to be the ultimate weather weenies. To those people I say, meet me in Wichita Falls, TX next August, when the temperature is 105 degrees, and ride 100 miles with me at the Hotter-n-Hell 100. Then you can call me a weather weenie. Everything is relative.

This is that frustrating time of the year when we still get those days from time to time where the weather is just perfect for a bike ride, but more and more, we get those days that it's either too cold, or too windy, or both. Oh sure, we all say to ourselves, "I can ride in this. This is why I bought all of that cold weather gear. So I can get out and ride in just this type of weather". For me, that devil-may-care attitude typically last about 3 or 4 really cold rides. There's just something especially miserable about your snot freezing to your upper lip, and the sharp stabbing pain that you get in your toes when they get really cold. After I endure those types of rides a few times, I'm generally ready to start exploring my other options as far as riding goes. At that point we're left with one of three choices; bundle up and ride outdoors anyway, head inside and spin, or not ride at all.

Not riding at all really isn't an option, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time discussing it. I think I've mentioned before that there was a time when I could have politely been described as "hefty". "Big Boned" is a phrase that had been used to describe me in the past as well. There was one year where I gained 25 pounds of bone. My problem was that I really enjoyed food. That's a problem that I haven't completely conquered yet. But since I ride my bike pretty much every day, then eating like it's the last day to eat for free really isn't a problem. I take the mantra of "ride to eat" very seriously. So not riding at all for 4 or 5 months just isn't doable.

Next option is too bundle up and ride outdoors anyway. This is an option that I do take from time to time. Usually, it's when a group of us from Team Bikin' get the itch to get back out on the open road again, and that's typically when it's been just long enough for us to forget just how miserable we were last time we road outside in the cold. I don't know about you, but if it's the slightest bit cold, my nose starts running like my brain is melting. This leads to all sorts of uncomfortable situations, especially when riding in a nice, tight pace line. Please see my posting on riding etiquette, Specifically, see Rule #5. Along with these mucus problems, I face another problem with riding on a particularly cold day. When riding on a really cold day, the only time I really feel warm is when I'm on the bike and pedaling. So stopping and resting, and allowing myself to get cold again is not something I look forward to. That puts me between a rock and hard place. Call me undedicated if you must, but I generally enjoy stopping from time to time and resting. Being caught between wanting to stop and rest, and not wanting to stop and get cold, complicates things for me. Most people who know me will tell you that I try and keep my life as simple as possible.

That leaves us with spinning indoors. For the past several years, that means riding in Bikin' Mike's spin classes from around the first of November, pretty much thru the end on March. I should say right now, that Mike does a great job leading his spin classes. He has a plan to keep everyone as fit as possible thru the winter, but more importantly, he makes the classes as fun and as entertaining as they can be. The important phrase in that last sentence is "as they can be". There's only so much that Mike can do. No matter how fun and entertaining he makes the classes, they're still not going to be as much fun as riding down a quite back road, on a beautiful spring day. After four months of staring at the same four walls and watching the puddle of sweat grow on the mat underneath the guy spinning next to you, it's easy to see how someone could forget just how miserable they were the last time they rode out in the cold.

A quick aside here. It never ceases to amaze me how the girls in the spin class don't seem to sweat. Me and most of the guys in the class are just sweating like we're spinning on the surface of the sun, and I look over at the girl on the bike next to me, and her makeup isn't even smudged.

These are the kind of things that I wonder about.

Anyway, how long is it until April?

Peace out.....Nearly Famous Fred

1 comment:

Cliff said...

Fred ride a century in August?

Never seen it.