Crazy Weather

March 15, 2009

When I left the house, it was 24ºF.  Today’s expected high: 59º. Now that I’m back home, it’s 35º out.  Crazy Weather!

0:51’33, 14.11mi
avg 16.4mph, max 34.9mph
24-35ºF, Odo 51.0mi
Cadence: 80-90rpm (Not Bad)

My total mileage for the year is 60 if I include the 9 miles on my other bike.

While I’m certainly crazy enough to bike to work tomorrow, there is little chance of me waking up at 5am to do it.  Wish me luck!

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Humbling Experience

December 10, 2008

This morning as I drove to work (for shame!) I saw something I will not soon forget.  I coasted up to a red light, warm and cozy in my car, listening to Yo Yo Ma playing Bach when I noticed a light on the side of the road.  It was bouncing far too much t o be a bicycle, and not moving fast enough.  Jogger.

Remarkable!  I thought, in this weather: chill and rainy.  It was snowing yesterday, all day!

She was very thin, out there in the dark, and had a sweatshirt around her hips.  There were two joggers behind her.  Again, girls.  One in one of those day-glow vests with no headlight, and then the third.

It was the third girl that shocked me.  I already felt like a lazy bum for driving when I could be on my bike (thanks for the motivation!).  But I felt like a total wimp when I saw her.

She was in shorts and a sports bra.

I’m such a wuss.

This morning, against all odds, I got out of bed on time! Well, five thirty-something.   It took an unbelievable superhuman effort, but I did it!  I biked in!

OK, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t superhuman.  The ride itself was positively mundane.  It was the idea of getting up at 5 that was so hard to get over.  I didn’t exactly get to bed on time, but I did have a humongous prime rib sub.  My friend was right.  I needed to eat a cow to get over that tired feeling.  So I did.  I set my alarm for OMG-thirty and promptly snuggled with a pillow for 7 hours.  The remarkable thing was, when the alarm went off, I felt rejuvinated!  It was spectacular!  I snoozed a bit first, my favorite vice, then suited up and raced off.  And by raced I mean coasted:

0:26’09, 6.78mi
avg 15.6mph, max 23.9mph
32ºF, Odo 2760.7mi
Cadence: Low

Work was panic on a stick.  I was lucky enough to unwind with some co-workers after it was all over.  And I chose to trade that remaining light to socialize instead of riding home.  I needed to de-stress, and I did.  Sure, the ride home was dark, sure there was a ton of traffic.  It was a trade I needed to make.

0:22’38, 6.78mi (day 13.56mi)
avg 18.0mph, max 31.6mph
32ºF, Odo 2767.5mi
Cadence: Meh!

As you can see, I pushed for this ride.  Still, I have to give my thanks to Dan, at work, who still bikes in 20+ miles each way.  He’s put down 5,000mi this year.  You’re an inspiration, Dan!

Every once in a while I see the word ‘innovation’ used in a commercial, or an ad, or some marketing ploy.  It’s always used wrong.  An innovative approach is supposed to be different.  Today I was innovative.

In my last post, I commented on my cold feet after a 40+ minute ride at 29ºF.  Sure, you can buy foot covers, but they’re outrageously expensive.  $50 for a pair.

Let’s think about this for a moment.  My  foot already has all the insulation it needs: sock and shoe.  The only problem is the shoe is meant to vent.  The first thought is: get weatherproof winter bike shoes.  But that’s expensive, even more expensive than the booties.  I guess my big problem is, it seems all I need is a water/wind barrier.  I just need something to stop the cold before it  gets to my  foot and I’ll be fine.

Something like a plastic bag.

Now, before you start thinking about fashion, remember that I already look like a complete dork with a helmet, neon jacket, tights, and funny shoes.  How much worse is it, really, to put plastic bags on my feet?

It’s a lot worse, but I did it.  My toes were warm and cozy!  My solution was free.  I WIN.

0:23’50, 6.77mi
avg 17.0mph, max 24.5mph
29ºF, Odo 2727.0mi
Cadence: comfortable (80s maybe) rpm

Clearly, however, I didn’t check the weather before I left today.  It was beautiful and crisp on the ride in, but it’s raining now.  Too bad I didn’t bring my fender; looks like I’m going to test the ‘weatherproofness’ of these tights today.

The ride home was uneventful, except for feeling fast.  I know there’s no way I was actually fast, since I had a huge backpack full of clothes, however, I had the energy to keep pushing even when I was tired.  The roads were wet, but not enough to cause major problems.

0:21’51, 6.76mi
avg 18.5mph, max 29.7mph
40ºF, Odo 2733.8mi
Cadence: 90rpm

My face hurt when I got home.  I left it exposed, since it wasn’t that cold out: 40ºF.  My face feels sunburnt, though there was barely any sun out, and it was never on my face.  It must have been the water in the air.

I did not wear the plastic bags on my feet.

I Like My Toes

November 23, 2008

Today I woke up motivated.  I woke up and saw the beautiful morning light on my cello.  I did 50 pushups, 50 crunches, and rode my bike.  Before I really started, I bought some ambfib tights.  My legs don’t feel cold at all!

0:47’56, 13.13mi
avg 16.4mph, max 36.0mph
29ºF, Odo 2720.2mi
Cadence: 85+rpm

I am disappointed in everything about this ride, mostly because I didn’t get to put in the effort I wanted.  I came home early because of my feet.  My legs were loving the new tights, as goofy as they look, they work.  Unfortunately, my shoes let all the heat out and my feet were cold unfeeling blocks attached to my ankles.  I cut the 20 mile ride short at one of the loopback points and I’m glad I did.  There are pains I push through, things that make me stronger after.  This isn’t one of them.  I like my toes.

Now I’m sitting in my living room with mulled cider and a cold fireplace.  I’m thinking about practicing Handel’s Bourrée on cello.  iTunes is playing Gnarles Barkley – Crazy.  It’s a good day.

Bike to Work, day 111

November 12, 2008

Today the struggle was to get going.  I managed to get out of  bed, albeit late, but then couldn’t seem to get my act together and get out the door.  Today was one of those mornings where I thought to myself i don’t want to be cold so i wore a thicker shirt under the space windbreaker.

That wasn’t enough.

I didn’t wear the giant sunglasses either, and the area around my eyes stung in the wind.  My eyes themselves seem slow when there is cold air blowing on them, drying them out.

0:26’27, 6.74mi (33.79 week)
avg 15.3mph, max 23.8mph
34ºF, Odo 2686.8mi
Cadence: Whatever.

I made it, and that weekly milage was my only grudging motivation.

Now then, maybe I have a reason to be so tired this morning:  Last night I passed my step exam at the karate studio.  Yes!  In the next few months I’ll be testing for 3rd degree black belt.  YAY!

Today was the kind of day where it may have been a better idea to stay in bed.

The ride home was late with late dressing and some late on the side with an appetizer of late followed by late for dessert.  Hence dinner at 10pm, and why I am writing this post at 11:38pm

0:23’30, 6.77mi (40.57 week)
avg 17.2mph, max 26.4mph
42ºF, Odo 2693.5mi
Cadence: not bad.

It felt much, much colder on the ride home.  It certainly was darker.

And now to bed with me.  Hopefully I’ll get up in time to bike to work tomorrow.  Wish me luck, I’ll need it!

Bike to Work, day 108

November 3, 2008

Thank you standard time!  It’s nice to ride in with some amount of light.  Unfortunately, I managed to change the time on my cateye, and that reset the morning ride.  Woops!

0:00’00, 6.75mi
avg 0.0mph, max 0.0mph
23ºF, Odo 2615.7mi
Cadence 74, 84, 90rpm

Interestingly, I found that biking at 74rpm is quite comfortable when you’re totally bundled up.  On that note: my ankles were exposed, and thus, cold.  After warming up (5 miles) I brought my cadence up to par, completely neglecting my speed, however.  This was a sloooow morning.

I over-layered.  I was cold in my thermal so I added an insulated windbreaker, with the visible-from-space green coat over it all.  Heavy gloves, face mask, big sunglasses, ski pants over sweats, I was interested in staying warm, and I did.  Once I arrived, I was far too warm to be comfortable.  I stuffed the face mask in my shirt before the ride was over, but it wasn’t actually annoying yet: sometimes gets wet and gross.  Before locking the bike, I pulled off the coats and noticed my breath seemed to hang in the air a long time.  I thought for a moment that it was my breath, but then I noticed:  My arms are steaming. Woah!

I saw one of my co-workers as I rode in and thought “What’s that crazy person doing out in this weather?”  Obviously, she was thinking the same thing.  When I met up with her inside she said “Wow, you were flying!”  Aww, shucks =)

0:22’17, 6.77mi (13.52 day)
avg 18.2mph, max 29.8mph
52ºF, Odo 2622.5mi
Cadence 90rpm

more later!

Bike to Work, day 107

October 30, 2008

I did it again!

0:24’02, 6.75mi
avg 16.8mph, max 27.2mph
29ºF, Odo 2602.2mi
Cadence: low 80s

Really, I must invest in some clear riding glasses, and some kind of windproof footcover.

0:21’32, 6.75mi (13.51 total today)
avg 18.8mph, max 33.1mph
44ºF, Odo 2608.9mi
Cadence: high 80s, low 90s

I was listening to Beethoven’s 7th all the way home.  Music is love.

Bike to Work, day 91: Brr!

September 19, 2008

This morning I did everything right.  A reasonable amount of snoozing before showering, getting into warm clothes, making toast and preparing breakfast/lunch.  I remembered to bring everything, and nearly left on time, for what it matters.  I didn’t push myself too hard, it was a good ride in.

24:47, 6.4mi
41ºF, Odo 2381mi
avg 15.6mph, max 25.7mph

It’s funny, really, how caught up I get.  faster faster faster faster faster! Please.  It’s 6am and 41ºF.  Most people are still in bed, some are in their warm cars.  I’m on a bicycle, and I love it.  relax, enjoy the ride I tell myself.  I tried to focus on other things than my current time, such as debunking the thought that I was miserable. what part of me is actually cold? Face, Butt(?!), Ankles, Feet, but none badly.  It was the idea of cold, not actual pain or discomfort.  I looked up at the trees and sky for inspirations of beauty, the view was not lacking.

Two miles into my ride, I felt my body start to sweat.  It’s a sharp feeling; it reminds me of they way a match flares up after you light it.  Almost instantly my face was no longer cold.  Four miles into the ride I unzipped the jacket a few inches to cool my chest.  By the time I arrived, my hands were cold but I was sweating in other places.  Why are my hands cold? I have windproof gloves…  Maybe I need glove liners.  My head was nice and comfy warm the whole time, thanks to my new hat!

21:30, 6.5mi
59ºF, Odo 2388mi
avg 18.0mph, max 28.8mph

Phew!  What a week!