October 28, 2008

Wher'd Fall go?

I first need to mention that I had an absolute BLAST at the Dark Side Ride on Saturday night.  It was a rare treat, got about ten cyclists and it was an awesome adventure in the darkness.  Got home about 1:10 AM, and when I woke up (entirely too early, I might add) the next day, I knew how perfectly we had this one timed.  It's almost like I knew what I was doing.  I rode to stiff north winds and steadily dropping temps on Sunday morning - we probably truely caught one of the last nice, calm, clear evenings of October, maybe of fall altogether.  
I want to thank everyone that came out -- sorry I didn't post any updates on it --- it was a crazy, nutty, busy Sunday...and Monday for that matter. 

Speaking of fall, and where did it go... yikes.  Monday morning dawned briskly cold, about 32.7ºF to be precise.  The coldest of the fall so far, and with typical Kansas manic-depressive will.  CLICK, it's cold.  The NW wind made things miserable in the afternoon Monday, turning me into a complete snot dispenser.  This morning, Tuesday, a full-on freeze.  26ºF when I left!  But, you know -- I think I'm acclimating pretty quickly this year.  When I emerged from the garage, it really wasn't all that bad...yeah, it was cold, but there was a sensation in the air that really felt pretty darn good.  I was well dressed, but not too much, and the wind wasn't bad.  There is something affirming about it - with headlight beaming into the cold haze, the grass across the way lit up with a silvery frosty glow and my breath cast an eerie fog around my head.  I'd kinda forgotten how much I enjoy this kind of riding, contrasted to last year's attitude about late fall/early winter riding:  I hated it, don't remember anything good about it.  This time around, so far, I am feeling pretty charged up.  My effort up the first couple hills is rewarded with a nice warm rush from my insides, and my water bottle still has a touch of warmth left in the morning coffee - there is even that first hint of crust on my beard, icy remnants of my labored breath blowing back into my face as I propell myself towards work.  I'm further encouraged this morning by the emails from folks that are trying to solve problems with their bikes and clothing and eyewear in these colder conditions.... an indication that they are having a good time, too, and not looking to hang things up just yet.  I like that... I think too many cyclists hang up the bikes too early in the fall.. there is SO much good riding to be had, and it's very rewarding -- even if you only do it ONCE, riding when it's this cold you get a pretty big boost of accomplishment, survival, pride --- I'm smiling a lot today, I'm more upbeat - I can feel it.  I've got my plastic halloween pumpkin with flickering LED light inside zip-tied to the rack, laughing with glee all the way to work!  This afternoon on the way home, more to the acclimation point, it's clear there are more challenges than just the cold to deal with.  Dressing and packing for a near 40º temprature swing is a task.  I end up riding home gloveless in the 52º heatwave, compared to the morning.  I have my head-cover off by mile five, and my wind vest unzipped by mile six.  I'm thinking of losing the arm-warmers by mile eight, but the shadows are getting longer so I leave them on.  But MAN, seriously... only a month ago, 52 would have been almost unbearable.... and tomorrow's forecast for 32 in the morning, and 65 in the afternoon.  Dang.  More on that later.... time for sleep.... 

1 comment:

Jason said...

I kinda feel like you did last yr! I had no idea it was going to be this diff. riding in the cold! Bike cable freezing, the rack bars snapping off!! Man what a mess! What will it be like when it rains ?! AAhhh! :)