Brrrrrr! Cold night tonight. Well, after a long day at school I came home fully intending to ride on the trainer down in the basement. During the drive home however, I realized how boring it is to sit in the basement and stare at the wall while pretending to get in a good ride. Option two, the club and nothing but asses and elbows in the locker room. This I don't find appealing at all. So, I decided it would be fun to take the single speed out for a while. What the hell, I've climbed mountains, slept out in the BWCA at -32 degrees, ran outside with windchills near -60 (Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run) in International Falls, MN. So what would the big deal be going out on the bike. I forget sometimes that I don't live in the north country anymore and people down here view that sort of shit as insane behavior. So what!
When I left the house the windchill was approximately -30 degrees. By the time I returned 1.5 hrs later the windchill was -36 degrees. I was able to stay warm with the exception of my toes. I wore my hiking boots, but next time will have to opt for heavier winter boots. Everything else was just fine. I did try to wear goggles, but those were fogged up before I got to the end of the driveway.
Riding the paved trails and roads was fine, but once on the side trails and out on the lake the traction was absolutely horrible. The snow had frozen to the hardness of concrete. I know this because I fell on it a couple of times. Never apply your brakes on ice! Getting on to the lake was much worse. The temps yesterday were in the mid 40's. This of course created a good deal of water and slush on the lake. By this evening it solidified into a rutted glaze that without studded tires was nearly impossible to ride on. At one point while out on the lake I stopped to take this photo. Around the same time a motorist passing the lake on the road must have seen my headlight and blinking taillight. They stopped and turned into the public landing as if they were concerned and looked as if they were ready to ride out to check on what was going on. I quickly went to my bike and picked it up so they could see all was well. They backed out onto the road and left. What they were thinking I do not know, but I could take an educated guess that it probably wasn't positive. I'm sure it was more along the lines of "WTF" as my amigo Matt would say.
After about an hour I decided it was probably wise to head home to the warmth of the fireplace. Getting there took me about another 30 minutes. As I came around the final corner off the trail near the house I hoped I could get home without any of the neighbors seeing me. Just as I was turning into the driveway Dennis and Suzanne came around the corner. Lord only knows what they were thinking (again probably...WTF) and I'm sure I will get some questions and strange looks the next time they see me.
I came to realize one thing on this ride tonight. A single speed is great for tooling around the city streets in winter and also on mountain bikes and road bikes in the summer or even winter. However, for a winter endurance ride of 135 miles I don't think the single speed route would be a wise choice. I may still change my mind.
The gear I wore tonight was actually fairly light. Next time I would opt for the winter boots and I'm not sure what to do about the goggles. Maybe some anti-fogging solution would be good. The only cold spots I experienced were my toes and thumbs. All else was fine and I didn't really sweat a lot, so I think I had it dialed in pretty good.
This will definitely be my coldest ride of the year and maybe will get the weather wimp monkey off my back.
Total Ride Time: 1 hr. 30 minutes