My RAGBRAI Team LIVESTRONG Fundraising Page

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Lesson on Cold Weather Riding

But first, yes, week two still has me doing a park & ride, driving into Madison then parking some place free (re: not downtown!) and riding my bike from there.  I had Monday off (furlough day at the State) and gave a presentation to new superintendents on Wednesday away from the office, so obviously I didn't ride to work those days.  But, I did get rides in Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Tuesday was a short ride - about a mile each way, because I was running late and wanted to get as close as I could.  Thursday and Friday I parked 3.4 miles away and rode in.  It takes just 13-15 minutes each way, depending on lights, etc.  Nice ride.  This is working out great!  Depending on the timing, I may start parking 4.5 miles away.

Soon, I hope to ride all the way in.  Perhaps in the spring, when the weather is more cooperative.

Speaking of weather...

Today was a beautiful morning.  Sun shining and the air was crisp.  After running to the store quick, I decided to go for a ride.  So what if it was only about 15F out.  I layered up - four on top, three on the bottom, double gloved and double socked.

This is me after I got back - that's frost on the beard (it's not that white... yet).
I started out riding a 10.67 mi loop I rode previously.  About 1/2-way thru, I was feeling good. Feeling strong.  Lungs were doing great, so I turned left and made my ride a little longer.  It ended up being just over 15 miles all told.

A couple miles further down the road, my feet started to hurt.  I had thought that double-layering would be sufficient.  By the time I got back home, they were really cold.  (Did I mention it was only about 15F out when I rode?)  I was actually worried about frost bite.  I shed my shoes and socks and wrapped my feet in a blanket and sat on them.  I don't recall ever having my feet be that cold before.  Not even the day in January 1986 when I sat in Soldier Field during a Bears' playoff game.

Turns out, it may have not been a good idea to double-sock.  My cycling shoe was fitted with one sock on.  I may have reduced circulation to my feet, compounding the problem rather than impriving it. 

So, what's to do about it?  Two things: wool socks and shoe covers.  Proper equipment goes a loooonnnnngggg way.  Now, I gotta get it. #bikeschool lesson of the week.

Other than the problem w/ the feet, it was a great ride.

Friday, February 18, 2011

And the Bike Commuting Starts

This week I started my new job in Madison.  One block from the capital square.  Where there isn't parking anywhere.  Unless you pay.  Out the nose.

So I started the week parking about a mile away and walking.  Felt great!  But it was a little slow.  (I was acutally 30 min late my first day - mostly from trying to figure where I could even find a spot to park.)

On Wednesday, I loaded up the road bike and took it with.  I parked in the same area and zipped in to the office.  On a bicylce 1 mile is nothing.  So Thursday I parked a little further away - 3.4 mi and rode from there.  The weather was great - got up into the 50s.  The snow was melting.  And there was plenty of road spray.  I was wearing my work pants (dockers).  They were soaked for three hours.  While I was sitting in my desk chair in my cubicle.  That was *sooo* comfy! (Ha!)

Lesson #1 - ride prepared.  Either have extra clothes with you or ride in riding gear.  So you can change.

Finally, on Friday, I was running behind and had to park closer - 1.7 mi away.  I had on the right gear and packed my work pants.  I didn't need to today.  Roads were dry.  And so was I when I arrived at the office. 

So that was my first week - about 12 miles total.  I will park further away as I get my lungs back in shape.  I need to get a fender and a lock for my Parkway.  They don't want me keeping the bike in my work space.  And I'm not leaving the Synapse outside.  It's not a spectacular bike, but I like it and it did cost a few Benjamins.

Probably the biggest challenge to riding - other than getting out the door on time so I can be at the office on time - is my lungs.  Being asthmatic (and having not worked them for too long), they burn in the cold fresh air as I pump away.  Like my atrophied leg muscles, they'll get stronger too.

Soon, I'll be riding all the way in (only 10 miles) from home.  Looking forward to more time on the bike.

Monday, February 14, 2011

An Actual Ride ... on Real Roads

This past weekend it got above 32F!  Snow was melting.  The sun was shining.  Perfect day for a ride!

This would be the first ride of the year.  Well, the first REAL ride.  While getting in the saddle on the trainer down in the basement is exercise, it is not riding on the roads.  So, with Carol busy on a work project, I took advantage of the time and weather to go for a "short" ride.  (Short being a relative term.  Compared to rides I was doing last summer, it would be nothing.  Relative to my current fitness level it would be... not short!)

This would also be a great chance to try on my LIVESTRONG thermal jersey and pants.

Umm, yeah.  Not thrilled with the way it's fitting.  All that time not riding last fall and through the winter is showing up.  Spandex has no mercy.

10.67 miles and 43 minutes lated, I was gassed, achy and wet.  And loving it.  My lungs were burning and my legs ached.  As for the wet, there was plenty of road spray.  And then I took a fall going through some slush.  LMAO.

A great ride.  A great day to be #lovingthebike.