Tuesday, December 13, 2011

42 Degrees Farenheit Today, and Winter Riding Has Begun

The temperature has been dropping, and we got a preview of winter during our outrageous October snowstorm. Today's high temperature will be about 42 degrees F, just right to begin winter riding. This season is a quieter time, without pelotons or mass participation rides. The quietness , wind protection, and calorie burning terrain of the woods welcome me in the cycling off season.
For today's ride, I have laid out warm clothing to keep me toasty all afternoon. Long underwear, wool socks, fleece under my Showers Pass Elite II jacket, insulated gloves, and a balaclava complete the outfit. I will have to get used to all this clothing until the first day of shorts riding in the Spring. The woods are uninhabited except for myself, squirrels, red tailed hawks, and white tailed deer. One must be careful of collisions with deer, as they can be extremely damaging for both parties.
As usual, the roads of Caumsett park were extremely muddy after a ferocious rain the day and night before. My Jamis Nova was built by me from scratch to be durable under the muddiest conditions. A recent trashing of the rear derailleur by a stick on a singletrack route has generated a new replacement Shimano XT mechanism. It performed well and got me through the muddy roads and trail as illustrated. The bike was built with survivability in mind, and has done well for 8 seasons.
My standard 2-3 hour route in this park includes pavement, hills, flats, open fields, fire roads, singletrack, and sandy areas. In general, it is designed to include a little bit of everything, while being scenic. It is also circular, in case I have to get to the hospital to take care of any emergencies. Riding off road in the winter avoids the dangers of vehicular traffic, and keeps me warmer due to sheltering from wind chill and the more intense nature of the pedaling. Besides, I love mud, and that's all there is to it