This past weekend my little training group got a little smaller. As the weather gets colder and as we move toward the holidays, more and more of us say no to outdoor rides.
The Saturday morning ride was a cold one. I dressed up like a stay-puff marshmallow and did what I call the Cold 12 Miler. There were only 3 of us on this ride and not only was the air cold, but there was a brisk wind that at one point almost knocked me over. For the first 3 miles my fingers felt like they would snap off. Clearly my fingers were not dressed for the occasion! But as we rode the temperature warmed to just over 40 Fahrenheit and the blood started pumping to warm my fingers. We rode a fairly slow pace to keep the wind chill to a minimum and called it a "warm up" for Sunday's Portage Ride. After the ride was over I checked my odometer and I was closing in on the 2000 mile mark! I also headed over to Bicycle Concepts, my local bike shop, and bought myself some fall riding gloves for Sunday. They were out of winter gloves - which means all the smart people got there before me.
On Sunday four of us did the Portage Ride which is a 20 mile ride with portage and 2 decent hills. Before taking off I asked Curtis to check my tires. Well, apparently I have not been inflating them properly for the last 3 seasons (which is how long I have owned the bike) and according to Curtis I was riding at about 50 lbs of pressure. I am a slow rider, but this was slowing me down beyond even what Curtis and I could explain. He had been thinking there was something wrong with my bike, and now he was finally at the bottom of the problem! We took off on a screaming downhill and once again my fingers were screaming at me. But also once again they warmed up after a few miles. It was there and then with my fingers screaming cold that I decided *definitively* to say yes to joining a Tough Mudder Team. (More on that in another blog post.) As I rode along I felt like I was on a cloud, now that I actually had properly inflated tires. Curtis remarked on several occasions that he could see the difference in my ride. Boy could I sure feel the difference!
We had a great ride - hit the portage area, climbed the first hill at about mile 10, and then continued on until the final climb back to our starting point. It was a cold ride, it never quite made it to 40 Fahrenheit. At one point we went over a river and saw a a waterfall and there was ice on the trees in the falls and black ice on the bridge. But we had fun and are hoping for at least one more ride before the Christmas holiday. And at the end of the ride I checked my odometer and was at 2011 miles. It took me three seasons to arrive at 2011 miles, and I did it in the year 2011! For me this is quite an accomplishment. I want to set a goal for myself of 1000 miles in one year, but I really need to think through that before committing myself to it. Stay tuned for my final answer for 2012.