Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Time trial(s)

Date: Jan. 25
Mileage: 16.0
January mileage: 387.3
Temperature upon departure: -2

I got some frustrating news at work today. So instead of heading to the gym as I had planned, I drove straight home and planted myself in front of my heater. I spent a healthy chunk of the evening comfort eating and trying to absorb the prospect of a bleaker future in which I spend more time locked in the cement box. At 8:00 the temperature had dropped solidly below zero so I thought - eh - why not head out for a ride.

I rode up to my usual trail, but it's still really soft. I didn't want to devastate the skiers with Kenda canyons through their pristine groomers, so I decided to try timing myself on a series of one-mile stretches - time trials.

I rode along the gravel road that parallels the trail, caked with snow and glazed with glare ice. I tore down the road on tires deflated to 25 psi (I did leave the house thinking I was going to do some snow riding), bouncing over mounds of snow and swerving through unexpected drifts. The night was so clear I could look up and see only the distant stars spattered across glowing galaxies of even more distant stars; I could look ahead and see the whitewashed landscape illuminated with all the distinction of day. Who says there's nothing to see at night?

The first mile I posted 3:40. Didn't seem all that fast, but what do I know about such things? After all, my legs were cranking about as fast as they're gonna through the subzero night (I'm starting to understand why my car spits out so much more exhaust when it gets cold.) Mile 2 was a bit slower - closer to 4 minutes, but I forgot to register the time before I turned around, so I didn't have an exact time. By mile 3, my odometer had frozen enough that I couldn't read the display very well. By mile 4, it was invisible.

On the end of mile 5, I passed a guy walking his dog. So I just continued down the road because I didn't want him to pass him again. After all, the random passerby might just assume I was bicycle commuting - an assumption that gives me the desirable quality of strength through necessity. However, if I buzzed past him two or three more times, he would start to realize that I was out there on purpose - tearing through the -2 degree night, not even going anywhere, just doing circles. And, well, that definitely qualifies me for the "crazy" label. "I don't care if you think I'm a loser. I just want you to think I'm sane."