Monday, January 12, 2009

I feel so fast

Date: Jan. 11
Mileage: 41.3
January mileage: 309.7
Temperature upon departure: 35

Ever have days when you would rather do just about anything besides drag yourself outside? I actually have lots of days like this. I can usually overcome the feeling, and was nearly to the point of beginning the suit-up process when Geoff returned from his morning run and said, "Do not go out there. It's nasty out there." What, you might wonder, could possibly be so bad? Deep subzero temperatures? 50 mph winds? Whiteout blizzard? No, in the case that statement was a warning that it was warm outside. 35 degrees warm. Warm and wet and sloppy.

Still, I reluctantly persisted. I dug my rain gear out from the bottom of the pile - first time it's been above freezing in more than a month. I left Pugsley at home in favor of studded tires, knowing that rain quickly turns packed snow into the slipperiest substance on Earth.

I put set the wheels down on wet ice and pointed north. As the studs scraped over the slick surface, I accelerated at a rate I could hardly fathom, and I was riding uphill, with no wind. The breeze of my own momentum flowed around my bare hands and bare face. The air was moist and almost warm in a familiar but distant way. I felt like I was flying. For the first time in weeks, I was pedaling a surface free of snow, free of sand, free of churned up sandy powder and chunks of ice. For the first time in weeks, I was pedaling without resistance. It was just me and rubber and studs on ice, and nothing could stop us.

The point of the ride was to climb, but I rode all the way to the end of North Douglas because I suddenly possessed so much extra time usually reserved for churning out slow miles. I reached the end of the road, 15 miles out, in one hour. If it were summer, I'd be ashamed of 15 mph. But today, I felt like I had pounded out a personal best time trial.

After that, I did the five-mile climb. It was way too easy.

I'd need to ride for six hours and 45 minutes Monday to complete my 10-day goal of 40 hours. That is certainly not going to happen, but overall I'm not disappointed about how the current training binge went down. In the past nine days, I battled two days of subzero temperatures, one all the way down to -18, 50 mph wind gusts, frigid wind chills, 40 inches of snow ... I ran the hard winter gamut, basically. And what does the NWS weather forecast call for the last day of binge training? Lets see ... ooo, a flood warning!

HEAVY RAIN WILL BEGIN LATE TONIGHT SPREADING NORTH OVER THE
PANHANDLE. TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN ABOVE FREEZING AND WATER WILL
INCREASE THE WEIGHT AND DENSITY OF THE SNOWPACK. MANY DRAINS ARE
LIKELY TO BE BLOCKED WITH SNOW. THE IMPACTS WILL BE STANDING WATER
INCREASED SNOWLOADS ON ROOFS AND THE POTENTIAL OF SNOW CAPSIZING
BOATS. STREAMS WILL RISE AS THE FREEZING LEVELS GET HIGHER. SOME
AREAS COULD RECEIVE UP TO TWO INCHES OF RAINFALL.

This winter is nothing if not harsh.