11 March 2014

A Notch in My Ice Pick

My First Bikerise in Forever
My First Bikerise of the Year

I've had a blog post about a quilt written and ready to go for today for about two to three months now, but the quilt's not done yet. Maybe next week...

So I had to find something else to stick in today's slot. I have a bunch of old trip reports from my first website, the Geocities site that no longer exists, but I didn't feel like posting something old today.

Maybe that's because I am so excited to get in at least one winter (half) bicycle commute before the season ends!

Seven inches of white blanketed our world last weekend, and Sunday, the wind blew most of the moisture-laden accumulation to Kansas. Or further. Monday was forecast as pick of the week with a high of 68 and an overnight low of 38! That's the best we've had in months!

27 degrees typically is the limit of my cycling cold tolerance on long rides. Not necessarily because I can't go colder than that, but because I have to drop down into a relative hole for about four miles early in my morning commute, and the temperature there can be 10 or 15 degrees colder than my house or downtown. It's not the 27 degrees that chills me; it's the 17 degrees that turns me wimpy!

I had not commuted to work since May of last year, due in part to the lack of a proper dressing room and shower at the building where I work during massive renovations that lasted more than two years. The new dressing room, showers and workout facility were expected to open last November. They finally were ready in February, when the overnight low was regularly well below 27 degrees.

38 degrees gave me courage to get back out there and develop a thicker skin. I have to build up my mileage again, and I also will have to work up to winter riding again. I've stayed fairly toasty warm the last three months mostly off the outdoor bike! (We have been riding indoor trainers, but we don't count that as mileage.)

Imagine my delight when I woke up Monday morning and saw the current temperature was 42 degrees!!!

I rode all the way to work! On my mountain bike! I wasn't entirely confident the bridges and overpasses would be ice-free. Turned out to be a very wise choice; the bike path was still iced over in two spots where it never gets sun and was covered with fish ponds in three other places. The mountain bike made the journey safe.

Highlights of the trip: Coyotes yipping along on tune when a pair of sirens went off in the dark, joined by a bevy of high-pitched pups! An owl swooping down over the bike path in front of me, and later a great blue heron following suit. Geese pairing off in pre-nesting mode. Geese in flight against the pink sky prior to sunrise.

Every time I passed a detour I could take to bail and ride the train instead of pedaling myself the entire way, adrenaline surged inside me. I was growing more and more confident I'd be able to ride the full 30 miles.

And 30 miles is what I got. I'm going to have to be patient and slowly work up to 60 again so I can keep riding with minimal back pain. Some of the painful episodes I've experienced in the past make it easier for me to stay within my limits and not overdo it.

I'm off to a slow start on actual mileage this year, but I expect the miles to begin ticking by as the days get longer. Oh, am I ready for two wheels!!! (And oh, my goodness, are our new high-tech showers at work awesome!!! A massage setting that actually feels like a massage!!!)


  1. Congrats on getting the 30 miles in, I'd be wimpy at 42 degrees lol car is much easier and warmer too.

  2. Enjoyable post, Snowcatcher! I was out in the sunshine with the redwings and prairie dogs yesterday! Good thing we both got out yesterday because the wind is blowing, the clouds piling in, and rain/snow on its way. Have a good one!

  3. Feels good, doesn't it? (Insert big grin here.)

    Kudos to you, and sounds like a fantastic ride! I envy you the coyote yips and the great blue heron. And 30 miles is awesome! (I wimped out - also slept in - and did just 10.)

    And so it begins.... :)


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