Sunday, January 06, 2008

finding your inner flauhute

I've gotten back into the swing of teaching and working and parenting and occasional bike riding. The group ride saturday was a course preview for this year's Cycle To Serve ride. Some new roads have been paved, opening up some more loop possibilities and everyone wanted to check it out.

This is the time of year that I have a love/hate relationship with riding in. I love riding in cooler weather; enjoy wearing arm warmers, knee warmers, vests, hats. But this time of year, when the temps truly drop, dressing appropriately for the conditions is a total crap shoot for me.

I step out of the house, immediately feel a numbness spread through my jaw rendering me incapable of speaking in anything but a slur, I go back in and start throwing on more clothing. In these situations it inevitably ends up warming, I'm way overdressed, and I truly fear that spontaneous combustion is imminent. Lesson learned, the next ride I step outside, brush off the frozen jawline and head out dressed like a german pro training in Mallorca. This leads to the mercury plummeting and my hands turning into useless chunks of wood that can barely grip a handlebar let alone shift gears. I try to think warm happy thoughts as I start to up my conception of base pace.

When I first started riding, I was taught that you should start out feeling a little chilly and then your body heat will rise as you ride due to exertion. This little gem of knowledge just isn't doing the trick anymore. I have now come to realize that there are 2 vital parts of my body that I have to keep warm, everything else I can live without so to speak. The key is hands and feet. Just repeat that over and over, because that is one of those little secret roadie nuggets of wisdom that no one ever wants to share. Yeah, it seems that I can be a flauhute (a hard man) as long as I have toasty fingers and toes.

The other sucky thing about this time of year is going on rides on the weekends and freezing your dangly bits off and then during the week the temps soar and your stuck in less meaningful situations like work. I walked out of the building on the way to the library today and nearly had a drop of sweat form on my brow from the balmy mid-60's temps we had today. Where was that warmth this weekend as we headed out this past saturday in brisk upper-30's?

The point of all this rambling is some sort of self help exercise, I guess. I will ride in cold weather, again. I will not dress properly, again. These things I sadly realize, are a given, unalterable, beyond my feeble control. I just hope I get lucky and manage to hang on to all my digits.
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