Last night was a beautiful full moon and beckoned for a night ride. After finishing off the last of the turkey leftovers, I checked the temperature on Weather.com and expected to be riding around 42F or so. When I got out on the street, however, my thermometer was showing 33F. Fortunately, I had put on a heavier merino wool sweater, one of the barely used ones I picked up on Ebay last year.
I was chilly for the first ten minutes or so until the blood got to flowing, then I was quite comfortable with a little sweat around the collar. I could feel a slight chill on my skin, but my core was warm. The sweater was covered with a lightweight Illuminite jacket; and my lower half was a pair of lycra shorts covered with a pair of Cannondale winter tights. Even though they are lycra, I like these tights because they have a thin fleece underneath on the front side, but only the shell on the back, which seems to cool things better. I realized at the end of the ride that I forgot to zip up the legs.
Other wool bits were a pair of hunting socks, gloves, and a wool beanie. Once it gets below 50F, I usually leave the helmet and opt for the wool beanie, pulling it down over my forehead and ears. I imagine I look pretty goofy, but hey! it works. I have myself convinced that the cap will provide sufficient padding, but I suppose I should look for some sort of winter helmet system.
It was another great ride. I think the cold weather somehow raises the adrenalin, as I found myself pushing up hills in higher gears than I typically do, and I felt like I could have kept on going. Every so often I’d hit a stretch with no traffic and no noise, other than the sound of my breathing and the almost silent whirring of the chain circling the gears. And there is nothing better than a swigg of near ice-cold water after pushing up a hill.
As the ride progressed, I saw that the temps had dropped to freezing, so I reminded myself to be on the lookout for any black ice. It hadn’t rained all day, but there was still a chance.
Eventually I had to go home, but I’d chalk this ride, although short, as one of those that remind you what a joy cycling can be.
Distance: 18.5 miles 2009: 1131