I’ve been watching the weather reports all week, and I knew that this was maybe the last day when I could get a ride in for December. The above freezing temperatures yesterday and today have been melting the snow and ice on my street. Without the thaw, I would have to walk my bike down the hill to the main road. Since I’m not equipped for very cold weather riding (the pants didn’t work out – more later), I’m not planning to head out for a 20 degree ride. Today was the day.
However, I was doing a great job of talking myself out of it. I planned to leave at 3:00 – the warmest part of the day – so I laid around all morning, and took my daughter shopping after lunch. As I was driving home, a nap was sounding much better than a cold ride. Right before the designated time, I sat down here web surfing instead of getting ready. I finally convinced myself that I would do better if I went into town to run some errands than heading for Granville. Right then, my wife called needing a pick up at the mall. I figured that I had missed my window for today, and I headed east in the car. On the way, I kept thinking that I would regret it later if I missed my only chance for a December ride, and I decided to head out as soon as I got back.
That nap was really calling me! I made the mistake of sitting down in the recliner and actually slept for about 5 minutes. I finally dragged myself out of the chair, changed into my improvised cold weather gear (bike shorts, sweats, t-shirt, sweat shirt, and windbreaker – way too much cotton), grabbed my grocery bag pannier, and left around 4:20.
Things started well, even though there was still some snow and slush on my street. I wished that I changed my tires, as the slicks did not find much purchase on that little downhill. Still upright, I found Newman Road and headed up the hill. Immediately, I was warm and sweaty under the sweatshirt. I toyed with the idea of taking it off, but my cold ears told me that things could change quickly if I exposed that damp t-shirt to the wind. I tooled through the nearly empty campus and traveled up Grant and Salisbury Streets towards the video store. The bike lanes were full of snow, ice, slush, water, and trash and were pretty much unusable. With very little traffic, it was no problem sharing the lane with the cars.
From the video store to Ace Hardware, I decided against joining the much faster traffic on US 52. So, I had to ride the sidewalks and parking lots for about half a mile. There were several portage points where I hefted the bike over concrete car stops, snow piles, and mud holes.
When I arrived, I noticed that it was getting dark a little more quickly than I had planned. I bought a pack of AAA batteries for the rear blinky light in case it was low (it wasn’t). After I left my final stop at the convenience store for milk, I was wishing that I had a headlight. I took the Cattail Trail from Northwestern and Lindberg to Stadium and McCormick to avoid auto traffic. At one point, I was racing a squirrel that was running along the fence next to the trail.
The final leg along SR26, Newman Road, and Division was uneventful. The temperature was apparently dropping, as I was no longer feeling warm. By the time I got home, my ears were feeling pretty cold. Here it is after 8:00, and they are still kind of tingly. I need to get one of those headband things to keep my ears and forehead warm.
Miles Ridden: 11.4
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